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Infinite Country by Patricia Engel | Thoughts

   Published : 2021   ||    Format : print   ||    Location : Colombia ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆   What was it about the country that kept everyone hostage to its fantasy? The previous month, on its own soil, an American man went to his job at a plant and gunned down fourteen coworkers, and last spring alone there were four different school shootings. A nation at war with itself, yet people still spoke of it as some kind of paradise.. Thoughts : Infinite Country follows two characters - young Talia, who at the beginning of this book, escapes a girl’s reform school in North Colombia so that she can make her previously booked flight to the US. Before she can do that, she needs to travel many miles to reach her father and get her ticket to the rest of her family. As we follow Talia’s treacherous journey south, we learn about how she ended up in the reform school in the first place and why half her family resides in the US. Infinite Country tells the story of her family through the other protagonist, El

Library Finds | Notes from my Reading

Shortly after the total lockdown in the initial weeks of the pandemic, when libraries were considering reopening, the library I used to frequent decided to stay close for an unspecified duration longer. When they finally opened, they only did hold pickups by appointment. As relieved as I was to see them open, the challenge with their new model was that I didn't always manage to get an appointment slot that fit into my schedule. Around this time, I got a library card with the Cincinnati libraries where curbside pickup was available without appointment. Although the latter library was much farther from my home and I went there only during weekends, when I did go there, it was on my own schedule. At this point, both libraries are fully open but I still go to the Cincinnati one for the most part because I love their checkout policies - It's at least a week longer than my local one, they do not charge a fine for late items for up to 30 days, and, get this, they auto-renew my checkouts up to 8 times as long as there is no active hold on them. To the slow reader that I am and the mood reader that I also am, this is an awesome policy.

Of course, there's a downside to it, in that if there are no strict deadlines, who even reads a book? (The opposite is also true for me - if there are strict deadlines, who even reads a book? - but I'll argue this case in a different post when it suits me.) I had checked out a few books back in March, always planning to read them, but never actually getting to them. I kept holding on to the books thinking I will finally get to them, but nada, I was never in the mood for them. Finally, this past weekend, I decided to return the whole bundle unread and instead pick up some new ones. Here's what I found

Banned Books

I try to review a banned book every September during Banned Books Week. While I may read them at any point, this week is to specially call out those books. I grew up reading whatever I wanted to before I was the age they were targeted for. No one policed my reading and I was lucky to have access to education that helped me understand things I read in the right context. With the world (and the US especially) as divisive as it is right now and information being readily available to anyone without moderation, it's better to learn how to handle that information than to grow up in a sheltered cocoon. I picked up three books that were top of the 2020 Banned Books list:

  • George by Alex Kino - I've started reading this book and so far, I love it. George is a transgender girl who struggles a lot with her assigned gender.

  • Something Happened in Our Town by Marianne Celano - Some people love to argue that children do not see color but my three year old has been saying he is brown and even pointing out other brown people. (Yes, this has raised some embarrassing moments.) Not sure what triggered it but he is clearly able to comprehend what it means. Which is why I feel it is important kids learn from a young age about how they are different from each other and still very similar. So I was happy to find this book but also disappointed that it is banned.

  • The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas - I know this book has received a lot of rave reviews but I am not sure if I will read it this month because I'm going to need a little more mental strength to read it. But I will make time for it. 

Book Club Reads

More to give myself more options to choose from than anything else, I picked couple of books that a few of my online book clubs were reading. I don't expect to read with the clubs (I'm already 15 days too late for that) but I'd like to see if I can make room for them.


We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson - I am still not decided if I'll read anything for RIP XVI but I have the book for it should I choose to.

Dominicana by Angie Cruz - And then because one can't just walk out of a library without a completely random book, this was that one. I had heard of Dominicana before but remember very little about so I'm looking forward to reading it.

What are you most looking forward to reading next?