What I’ve been reading

Airplane travel means novels and memoirs–here’s my latest list:
READING: Volcano, by Garrett Hongo
“…What I cared about was the inner city, about my teenage life brooding on the social complexities of my integrated high school–unusual in that it was a third white, and a third black, and a third Japanese American. I cared about what it was it was I didn’t see a whole lot of where I’d grown up. Compassion. I cared about what the family could give that the city could not. I cared that the complete brutality of ghetto life was not compensated for by anything I’d ever witnessed, by anything I could yet imagine. ”
Hongo’s memoir of growing up Hawaiian and Japanese in Los Angeles reminds me of writings by poets Phil Levine and Gary Soto, not a bad thing by any means.
READING: A Round-Heeled Woman: My Late-Life Adventures in Sex and Romance, by Jane Juska.
This charming memoir mixes stories of 20-plus years as a writing teacher with amusihg accounts of a 66-year old woman’s determination to have “sex, lots of it,” before her next birthday. As Juska weaves her tale, her love affair with New York (she lived in Berkeley) emerges as the greatest of her passions..
READING: In the Country of the Young, by Lisa CareyThis entertaining literary page-turner spins the tale of Aisling, a ghostly dead girl reborn for a time, and Oisin, an emotionally scarred painter living on a remote island off the coast of Massachusetts. I could not put it down, even as the graceful writing grew heavy-handed in the last third of the novel.