With my sprained ankle, a relatively relaxed schedule, an interesting literature course and access to a good library, I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately. The three novels I’ve read for the literature course, Cal by Bernard Mac Laverty, Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro, and Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit by Jeanette Winterson, are books that I probably wouldn’t have thought of reading if it wasn’t for the course, but as it turns out I enjoyed them all.

The two books I’ve read outside of class have something in common; they are both novelized biographies. I wasn’t aiming for a theme, it just happened accidentally.

Dreams of My Russian Summers by Andrei Makine is the story of a boy with a French grandmother growing up in the Soviet Union and eventually defecting to France. I didn’t like it at first; it seemed like overly poetic description without a plot, but just when I was about to give up on it I told myself to read a few more pages, and luckily, in those pages the story started moving.

What is the What is, quite simply, essential reading. It is the story of a Sudanese refugee, and if your reaction to reading that is anything like “Well, I’m sure that’s an important book but the world is full of so much suffering and I send money to UNICEF sometimes and what more can I do?” I especially recommend reading it, because it is, in addition to being important, good reading. I just spent an entire Sunday in bed, finishing it. And I’m adding The Valentino Achak Deng Foundation to my “Take Action” links in the sidebar.