First a confession. I'm reading three books at once. The Island of Second Sight by Albert Vigoleis Thelen is translated from the German and has an intimidating blurb from Thomas Mann (yes, that Thomas Mann), but Liz from the Bookstore recommended it, so I'm delving into its five gazillion pages but don't have a sense, yet, on whether or not I'm going to love it. I'm finishing up How to Think More About Sex by Alain De Botton, a writer whom I normally avoid ever since I read his pretentious book about Proust, but this one is catchy and yes, sexy, and I'm nearing fifty years old, so go where you want with why I might be reading this book, (hint: it isn't because I'm getting old). I haven't finished Katherine Boo's Behind the Beautiful Forevers, either. In fact, I've only just begun and am only about one quarter through it. But I can already tell that it's going to be one of my favorite books read -- begun -- this year. Boo won a Pulitzer prize for it, reporting on the nearly three years she spent in the Annawadi slum of Mumbai, just below the international airport. I'm already sucked in as if I were reading a novel, immersed now in the story of one small boy who sells garbage that he's picked through to recyclers and thus lifts his family above subsistence level. I can think of only a handful of non-fiction books that I've devoured as opposed to read dutifully, and this is one of them.
"Everything around us is roses, and we're like the shit in between."
Behind the Beautiful Forevers: Life, Death and Hope in a Mumbai Undercity by Katherine Boo