君が叶えたい夢なら– 「君が追いかけた夢」, GACKT
lyrics from JPopAsia
Hey all, it’s Kohaku. Happy March! I hope everyone’s doing well.
I got a lot of writing done this week, especially on serials, so I’m pretty happy. Taiga is just about wrapping up; Love Letters to the World We Made is about halfway, or a little more than halfway, done; Chasing Life With You is also well on its way. There’s a new poetry compilation that should (hopefully, theoretically) be ready to publish by next week, and a couple of new stories/projects I want to start too. But, it looks like life is about to get pretty busy for me. I’ll do my best to balance and keep up with everything, but we’ll just have to see. I just want to keep moving forward.
I wanted to mention some new books I’ve been reading recently. I don’t have as much time or energy to read nowadays as I would like, but for various reasons, I’ve gotten to these. I’ll just jump into them.
~ The Best We Could Do, Thi Bui
This lovely book is a memoir presented in the form of a graphic novel. Because of its format, it’s really easy to read and understand, and the reading goes by quickly (which is partly why I found time to finish it within one day!). It tells the story of Thi Bui and her family – as Vietnamese immigrants to America, as refugees fleeing the impacts of the First and Second Indochina Wars, as a loving family just trying to survive, and as a coming-of-age revealing the cyclical natures of kinship and intergenerational trauma. If you haven’t read this book yet, I highly recommend it. It’s emotional, powerful, and thought-provoking, and it tells its story in a very refreshing way.
~ Quiet Odyssey, Mary Paik Lee
This book was published quite a few years ago, but I only ran into it recently. It’s an autobiography telling the story of a Korean immigrant family and their experiences in America. There’s a great introduction explaining the history behind it if it ever gets confusing, but the story itself is pretty self-sustaining and captivating. As you might be able to tell, I’ve been doing a lot of research and thinking on the power of oral history and capturing, transcribing, and representing the stories of immigrants. Coming from an immigrant family myself, and having just recently conducted an oral history interview with my mother (maybe more on that next week?), I think these kinds of tales are very important in helping to solidify the bonds between us all as human beings.
~ The Uninhabitable Earth: Life After Warming, David Wallace-Wells
I’ve been working my way through this one for a while. Some days, when I catch some free time, I’ll pick it up and read a quick chapter and then put it back down and it goes untouched for a week. That’s not to say it’s boring – quite the opposite! This recently published book is, put simply, a narrative of the human consequences of climate change. The author does an incredible job of condensing all the science into readable stories and facts that everyday folks can understand, but makes no attempt to hide the massive scope of the issue or the absolute terrors of the future. I haven’t even gotten all the way through it, and let me tell you – things in this book will stick with you. Some of the facts, the stories, the hypotheses, are so jaw-dropping and interesting that they will just imprint themselves in your memory, and you will learn from this book and feel from this book whether you want to or not. It’s depressing, of course, as most research and writing on climate change is – but it’s incredibly impactful. Take breaks like me in between chapters if you need that to help you get through it, but do give it a try.
~ I Hope We Choose Love: A Trans Girl’s Notes From the End of the World, Kai Cheng Thom
This book is a gem. A compilation of some of the author’s short essays and poems, it’s a fascinating, thought-provoking, tear-inducing, emotionally-charged read. Much of the book centers on the contradiction of how even though oppressed minorities like LGBTQ folks seek and find supportive, empowering, and loving community amongst each other, those same communities we go to for support and empowerment and love can also often be places where we are deeply hurt. It asks the question of why, in our search for ideals like justice and liberation and love, we are often backstabbed by our closest allies with injustice, imprisonment, and not necessarily hate, but a stark lack of love. With many essays discussing these themes in relation to modern day events, patterns, and people, the author makes an incredibly eloquent overarching plea for all human beings, in an age that often seems to be “the end of the world,” to relearn and carry out how to simply and genuinely love one another. When I started reading this book a week or so ago, I realized that a lot of its strongest and most beautiful themes are also reflected in my current project, Love Letters to the World We Made. It wasn’t intentional, of course, but the similarities are there and they make a lot of sense once you think about it. Anyway, I’m really thoroughly enjoying this book and I’d be glad for you guys to read it, too.
Now, what books have you all been reading? Just like with music, I’m always looking for new material to experience and learn from. Continuous learning is important – like I’ve said before, we are all students until we die. So, reach out, explore, and share with each other (and me, please!).
Have a good week, y’all. Take care of yourselves.