I know what you're wondering. Where on earth has this chick been? (Or maybe that's just my narcissistic wishful thinking.) Well, since you asked... other than working, I've been reading. I was an avid reader as a kid. I used to read in the shower. Seriously. I still have books with pages that are spotted and warped from water droplets and steam. I'm pretty sure I did it because my parents regulated the amount of time I spent reading... so my clever self came up with the aforementioned solution. But books are 'spensive, yo. However, it occurred to me this week that I have access to a library of over 6.5 million books. So, what on earth was I waiting for? I looked up some old favorites which I hadn't read in years, some books I hadn't read, but wanted to, and after cursing whatever gods may be for letting someone else check out "Our Kind of People" before me, I settled on three books. One I had read before, one I had half-ass read in college, and one I hadn't (but the author had written one of my all-time favorite books). Book # 1: The Other Side of the Sun Remember how they made you read A Wrinkle in Time in school? Madeline L'engle (who died last year, I was saddened to discover) wrote several books which interwove science, spirituality, and folk magic (not like, Buffy magic, but like, Obeah-type magic). I read Sun when I was probably 12 or 13, and had exhausted every other L'engle book in the school library. The book is set a few years after the Civil War, and is about a young British woman who marries a man from South Carolina and moves there after he is dispatched on some mysterious errand for the U.S. government. She is thrown into a family that has members who are white and black, and exists in this weird gray area of servitude and kinship. I finished it last night, and as an older person, with a slightly broader world view, I don't like the book nearly as much as I did as a kid. I mean, it was highly progressive for its time — 1971 — and for a book written by a white woman, it actually gives a nuanced view of the Postbellum American South. I'd recommend it if you like L'engle's writing style, which I do. Book #2: Passing, Quicksand, and The Stories I sorta read Nella Larsen's stories when I was in an African American Lit class at HU. At the time, I was more focused on being a world-famous journalist than anything else. I'm sure my professor was frustrated with me, because I showed adeptness, but not willingness to learn. This one is for you, Dr. Gregory! From what I recall, Passing was about black people successfully passing as whites. I do remember thinking wow, I wonder how many people who think they're "pure" white aren't quite. Book #3: Babbitt I don't really know anything about this book, but Sinclair Lewis wrote Main Street, which, the more I read, the more I love. I'll keep you posted. Oh, and I just finished Dave Eggers' A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius. It was good, but the second half (as he forewarned in the prologue) was rather uneven. If you don't have patience, I don't recommend this book. I have it in spades, but I found myself skipping ahead to the more interesting parts.