One of my favorite cities to visit is Portland, OR because I never feel the pressure to always be doing something. OK, so I’ve only been to Portland twice: first in 2016 and more recently in 2018. Each time I went, I didn’t have the nagging feeling of “oh, I need to do this” or “I must go here.” That’s not to say that Portland is boring, rather, I feel that it speaks more to the easy-going PNW culture that I tend to look upon with such curiosity.
My agenda: coffee, books, and beer. Yep, just those three things. Traveling to Portland is so simple and relaxing. So here I will list my fave places that made my Portlandia weekend:
This one took a little longer to read than my usual. Whenever I leave the world of fantasy, it does take me a while to get back into it. Basically: I took longer to get into the book because I needed more time to process what was going on and how the story was being told. Once I figured it all out, the reading went a lot faster until I finished the book and thought, “what? It’s over already?!”
Brian Catling spent a fair amount of time setting up The Vorrh. I liked the way he introduced each character (and there are many) and how I knew which character was which based on the tone of the chapter. Since there were so many things going on (and characters to follow!), I felt a bit overwhelmed at first. Once I familiarized myself with everything though, the story ended too quickly, and I had to decide whether or not to read the sequel already. (I put it off, as I had to read the month’s book club pick.)
As I mentioned, this is a bit of a slow read. The Vorrh is a place, so there’s a lot of set up involved. It’s a fantasy novel that doesn’t need to include magical wands and spells (swish and flick) to captivate its readers. I brought and read this book while commuting to the office, and I almost missed my stop a few times because the book was so entertaining and because I had to focus so much to not be confused, oops. Pretty excited to read the next installment.
Random bit: I bought the book second-hand, and the previous owner’s (real???) name is Shadow Edwards. Isn’t that a cool sounding name? Maybe I should label my books with “from the library of …” Would that make me legit, too?
An office book club read, The Underground Railroad was compelling and unfiltered—a refreshing change from somewhat controlled environments. To me, the main character was intelligent though uneducated. I found myself triggered as I came upon the main character’s harsh realization about life: equality is but an illusion.
The Underground Railroad took me through an emotional roller coaster. Here are some questions that I asked myself as I read the book and some snarky questions-as-answers from yours truly because fake closure:
How do you know whom you can trust?
You don’t. You don’t know if they’ll help you, and they do. You think they’re going to help you, but they won’t. It’s hit or miss, so how incredibly lucky can you get?
Why would you risk your life for another person?
Why does anyone do anything anyway? What makes another person’s life more valuable than yours? Can you even make a difference? Will anyone even care?
Will you take a leap of faith?
How do make that life worth living?
Read it. I hope it sparks a fire in you as well.
Bookish Plug: Another book that got me triggered as well was Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe.