As I hang my head in shame, there hasn’t been a great deal of reading the last week, but I’m not sure why. I think it was because I wasn’t really enjoying my read of “The Known World” (Edward P. Jones) and because I didn’t really like it that much, preferred to do almost anything else instead.
I understand that a lot of people really enjoy this read, but I just couldn’t take the rambling conversational narrative style any more and I was getting really lost in the multitude of characters who were getting involved. It may have been due to my “picking the book up and putting the book down” reading style and perhaps it’s a book for when you have huge swathes of time and can get swallowed up in the story. However, it’s a DNF for me. 😦
But now I’ve picked up a new book from the pile for African-American History Month, and this one is non-fiction called “Saturday is for Funerals” (Unity Down and Max Essex) and covers the lives of people in Botswana who have been impacted by the HIV/AIDS epidemic. (Sounds rather grim, doesn’t it?)
However, it’s not. It’s written in a hopeful and optimistic tone and describes how Botswana reacted (as a nation) during the early years of the epidemic when treatment was scarce and disinformation was about. It’s fascinating.
Why am I reading about HIV/AIDS? Because my very first job out of graduate school was to be a full-time HIV education for the local city health department. I was tasked with going out and spreading the facts of HIV/AIDS at a time when a lot of communities (mine included) was riddled with myths and stereotypes about who has HIV/AIDS and how to get it.
So – by the end of that project, I had reached more than 100,000 people through my presentations and other events, and I am pretty proud of that. I know that I can’t prevent everyone getting HIV/AIDS if they continue doing high-risk behavior, but my hope is that I helped to stop (or slow down) someone who didn’t get infected.
It’s a different story for HIV/AIDS now with improved drugs and the drugs being more available in developing countries who are heavily impacted by this for a wide number of reasons. There is more hope for the disease to change into a controlled more chronic condition than the kiss of death that it was in the late 1980’s and early 1990’s, and I think that more people are aware of the facts now.
Anyway, I’m really enjoying this book so I bet it gets finished sooner rather than later.
Onward, my fellow readers. Onward we go.