This is an eye-opening account of girls defying Afghanistan’s rigid gender expectations - at the insistence of their families, and with tacit community consent, these girls grow up living as boys. This may sound like a revolutionary movement, but in fact, these children have existed throughout Afghan history, as a response to a system that necessitates having at least one son. But what happens when these sons grow up, and turn back into women in time to be married? And if the Taliban regains control of the country, how will these children and their families fare? Nordberg write humbly; she simply steps back and lets her subjects tell their stories of seeking freedom from and through gender. It's riveting.
I have a terrible memory; I can get halfway through a book before remembering I've read it before. As such, there is a special place in my heart for books I find myself remembering regularly, even months later. The Spark and the Drive was at first a guilty pleasure of mine, a little window into the intense, perhaps foolish passions of a teenaged boy for the life of a master mechanic (specifically, that of his mentor). It's gritty and sexy, but ethereal, too: equal parts country song and introspective journey of self-discovery. Wholly transporting.
Sharon Olds is always an excellent and easily read poet, but the poetry-shy will find Stag's Leap particularly accessible; the poems form a sequential, seasonal story of Olds being left by her husband (and, eventually, moving on). She often chooses words that reflect the way her body experiences her feelings of love, loss, and renewal, which gives each poem intimate and universal qualities. Read as individual snapshots or as a whole story, Stag's Leap is both engrossing and affective.