This week I completed Land of a Thousand Eyes by Peter Olszewski. It is a travel memoir about his time spent in Myanmar, teaching the locals about journalism as a staff member and trainer at the Myanmar Times.
I became interested in Myanmar after reading Amy Tan's Saving Fish From Drowning, and this book did not disappoint. Olszewski describes the junta (military regime) and their involvement in the newspaper through censorship as well as the daily lives of the people, their customs and traditions, and how he eventually came to connect with and care for them. It even contains a romantic cross-cultural love story. Olszewski also has a great personality and sense of humor that comes out in his writing. All in all, I really couldn't put it down.
(The book is available for free download at Wowio.com.)
I also reread The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler. I first read it a couple of years ago and enjoyed it, and I enjoyed it again this time, although it is very hard to read about female genital mutilation, rape and other atrocities committed against women and girls without becoming very uncomfortable and very angry. I am therefore glad this play was a quick read because I don't know how long I could have endured it. There were some light, funny and touching parts too, so it was not all darkness, which gives the book a great balance. I think that not only women but men too should read this book at least once. It is an important piece of literature for our time.
I also read Eve Ensler's The Good Body this week. It was another important read, in terms of how women view their bodies and how harmful that can sometimes be. This is another book that packs a powerful punch, yet for someone who has only read both of these Ensler works, I think I should see both of them performed. I think that the theatrics and the faces are an integral part of the experience of these works.
In other notes, the SARK book I wrote about last week is complete, and it was excellent - a very worthwhile read (though if you want my opinion, Succulent Wild Woman is an important first SARK read for women). I am also reading Marcel Proust's Swann's Way and Frances Hodgson Burnett's The Secret Garden, so stay tuned for notes on those next week :)