The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

I finished another book tonight. I am thoroughly enjoying this post-graduation life.

Tonight I finished The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz. This was the first Diaz I have read. I think that I was the only person on the planet who had not yet read this.

Diaz’s writing in this book is phenomenal. I loved the different perspectives of the characters and how he mixed Spanish in throughout the text. I don’t know Spanish well, but this stylistic choice impacts how the reader understands Oscar. He has ties to both his American and Dominican heritages – both deeply influence who he is, and scattering the Spanish throughout keeps Oscar’s identity at the front of the reader’s mind.

One stylistic choice that I did struggle with was the footnotes! The drove me completely crazy at times, but were helpful at other times. This may have been because, at times, there were many footnotes, and they were long. The shorter notes did not bother me. Ultimately, they made the book feel more conversational. It felt as though you were talking with someone and they go on to provide some more context about a point they made or a person they brought up.

This book is on the books-to-read-in-your-20s list. I think it does make sense on the list. Oscar is a young man who desperately wants to find someone to love him back – certainly relatable in your 20s. But, what I really loved about this book was Oscar’s adventure to find that love. Though he is nerdy and a misfit of sorts, takes risks to get what he wants, something that would not be bad for my fellow 20-somethings to remember.

If you haven’t read this (I’d be shocked if there is another one out there who hasn’t), you should pick it up! Even at 335 pages it reads quickly, thanks to Diaz’s voice and the structure of the book.



Books Around the World Challenge

I found a new challenge to add to my list of future challenges. This one came from a TED Talk that I watched today.

Ann Morgan took a look at her bookshelf and realized that she did not have the global view she thought she did. So, she took it upon herself to read one book from each country, all 196 of them, in one year.

While it was difficult to find translations, she did it, thanks to the help of people from all around the world.

See her full talk and a map of all the books Ann read here.

While I do not think I could ever read 196 books in a year, I think this would be a fantastic challenge that would allow me to experience a sliver of the world.

Looks like I am off to create a new Goodreads list!