Brad Feld

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Books: The Bright Hour and The Migration

Dec 26, 2019

My dreams were vibrant and bizarre last night. It’s no surprise since I finished two books yesterday – The Bright Hour and The Migration. These followed a three-day binge of The Expanse Season 4, which had echoes of BSG Season 3.

I have a recurring nightmare about accounting. I’m running a business, but I can’t get the monthly financials produced. We are many months behind and my partner (sometimes Dave, sometimes my Dad) keeps coming up with reasons we can’t close the books. I continue to hear “we have cash in the bank so don’t worry.” I wander down the endless hallways of my office trying to find the CFO (sometimes Stephanie, sometimes Amy, sometimes someone I don’t know) but I can never find her (it’s always a woman.) There is no resolution to this dream, just a feeling of fear, emptiness, and impending loss.

Yeah, it’s an anxiety dream about company mortality. And both books were about human mortality.

The Bright Hour is a Nina Riggs memoir of her battle with metastatic breast cancer. It’s the gender bookend to Paul Kalanithi’s book When Breath Becomes Air. Equally magnificent, powerful, beautiful, sad, and humbling, all at the same time. I didn’t want the book to end, as I knew that when it did, I’d have to accept that Nina didn’t survive. I knew that before starting the book, but somehow I was able to suspend disbelief of the inevitable while I still had some pages left to read.

The Migration is Helen Marshall’s first novel and it A+++. It’s also about death, with the backdrop of a mysterious plague-like disease that creates hormonal changes in teenagers. Of course, that’s not really what is happening, but that’s part of the power of the story. There are elements of YA here, with teenage protagonists, but it’s not a YA book.

My 2019 reading has been wide and varied but the infinite pile of books to read has grown higher. I’ve got lots of physical books to read for some reason, so that’s what I’m chewing on now. Kindle when I’m traveling; physical when I’m home. We’ll see how that goes for a while.