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text 2014-10-19 21:56
National Book Award? REVOLUTION by Deborah Wiles. Don't miss it.
Revolution (The Sixties Trilogy) - Deborah Wiles

I am currently reading this book with my ears AND by hard copy. This is a book where you want BOTH. I am so grateful that Karin Perry put both versions in my hands last week. This is about Summer 1964 in Mississippi. It is an important book for readers of all ages. The audio allows you to hear the text of publications, speeches, songs, etc. aloud, While the print version lets you see them on paper. I cannot think of another book I've read this year that is more deserving for its category. Get it. Hear it. Read it. You won't be sorry, especially if you remember 1964. I'll post again when I finish. I am so impressed by this book that I cannot wait to talk about it until then.

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text 2014-07-23 16:22
Book a Day #23 --Favorite book with an exotic setting
Jana Bibi's Excellent Fortunes: A Novel - Betsy Woodman
Love Potion Number 10: A Jana Bibi Adventure - Betsy Woodman
Emeralds Included: A Jana Bibi Adventure - Betsy Woodman

With wonderful diverse quirky characters (including a fortune telling parrot), eccentric grand but dilapidated architecture, and lush beautiful scenery, I don't think any series makes me happier than Betsy Woodman's Jana Bibi books, set in a small Indian hill station in the 1960's. They are books I wish I could live in or at least visit on an extended time-traveling vacation. 


Janet MacPherson Laird, aka Jana Bibi, is Scottish in heritage, but she's lived in India for most of her 58+ years and it's where she most likes to be, so she's very pleased when she learns she's inherited her Grandfather's Jolly Grant House estate in Uttar Pradesh. It needs a lot of work--it's overrun by monkeys for one thing and it takes a bagpipe playing Gurkha to drive them out--but that just connects Jana more closely to the people of the town.


In the first book she helps save the town from being flooded by a new, government planned dam, the second book involves international bird smugglers and possible love, and in the third book her son is coming to town to introduce Jana to his Hungarian fiancée, provoking a flutter of activity. The stories are topical and very much of their period, not so long after India's independence, so historical interest is included among their many pleasures. 

Source: jaylia3.booklikes.com/post/937194/book-a-day-23-favorite-book-with-an-exotic-setting
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review 2014-05-12 18:51
This Book is a Keeper!
Monday, Monday: A Novel - Elizabeth Crook

Of course it doesn't hurt that I am a San Marcos, TX girl and that I have vivid memories of the day Charles Whitman climbed up to the Texas Tower observation deck and started shooting people. My brother was in law school there at the time and he and his wife lived on "The Drag," where people were shot coming out of stores. Mom and I were glued to the TV all day and did not find out until that night that they were all right, since phone lines were all jammed. The first part, about the experiences of three students who were victims, is very immediate and rings true. By the time you get through that you will have developed feelings for the characters and will be compelled to keep reading to see how their intermingled lives turn out. Beyond that point, the books is more about families and secrets. All families have secrets, of course, and this book really makes you think about how deception can hurt and complicate lives.


If you like to buy favorite books, this may well be a keeper for you. I bought the Kindle version and wish I had gotten the hardback so I could pass it on since I want to talk about it with friends and family. If you are from the Austin, TX area you should GET THIS BOOK NOW because it's the next One City/One Book choice for your city. If you're not from Texas, that's all right as Lyle says, and you should read this book anyway.


The author, Elizabeth Crook is a San Marcan herself and her descriptions of my home town, especially the happens at and around Aquarena are as crystal clear as Spring Lake. Go on now, get a copy of this book and start reading. It's summer! You deserve a good read.


PS My Librarian Action Figure, Nancy Pearl, gives this one two tiny thumbs up!





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review 2014-03-13 06:00
Collected Essays - James Baldwin,Toni Morrison
The Fire Next Time (1963) 
from Baldwin: Collection of Essays - The Library of America

This book is Baldwin's opinion on race relations, perceived not only as a Negro, but as one with a deep insight into human psychology. He was one of the unprecedented writers to express what it was like to be Negro in a white society; to discuss with such insight the psychological impediments most Negroes faced; and to realize the complications of Negro-white relations in many variant contexts:

On Religion
He saw the germination of hatred and bitterness planted in the principles of Christianity, generating the belief of a white God; in response to which Black Muslims created the black God, producing the teachings of the nation of Islam.

On Power
Baldwin held that the importunate need for power underscored the current conflicts in human relations in American society. This was the base cause of his disagreement with America: that the Negro had so little freedom and power to steer his own affairs solely because of his skin color. Power over the Negro's life depended on several areas: his education, employment, and income --including his place in society, his self- image, and his relations with white people. Baldwin didn't believe in hating to be an innate human tendency. However, in hating, he recognized the guilt of the white man,a flaw from which he could not free himself. 
He claimed dejectedly, "The Negroes of this country may never be able to rise to power, but they are very well placed indeed to precipitate chaos and ring down the curtain on the American dream.(337)The only thing white people have that black people need or should want is power - and no one holds power forever." (341-342)
Clearly, his vision at that time to prophesy the ability of the human conscience to morally and socially evolve, was dimmed. Did his dream have limits? If he only could have known that such a dream could, and did, come to light!

On Identity
Baldwin made clear in the book that it wasn't really a Negro revolutionary movement that was causing violent rifts in America; the social conflicts reflected a sense of America losing her identity.

For Baldwin: man, life and the world contained an image or identity with some preconceptions; and to achieve the liberation of the Negro: society, black and white, must get rid of its preconceptions. 

Take no one's word for anything, including mine --but trust your experience. Know whence you came. If you know whence you came, there is really no limit to where you can go. The details and symbols of your life have been deliberately constructed to make you believe what white people say about you. Please try to remember that what they believe, as well as what they do and cause you to endure, does not testify to your inferiority but to their inhumanity and fear. (293)

There is no reason for you to try to become like white people and there is no basis whatever for their impertinent assumption that they must accept you... You must accept them and accept them with love. For these innocent people have no other hope. They are, in effect, still trapped in a history which they do not understand; and until they understand it, they cannot be released from it. They have had to believe for many years, and for innumerable reasons, that black men are inferior to white men. Many of them, indeed, know better, but, as you will discover, people find it very difficult to act on what they know. To act is to be committed, and to be committed is to be in danger. In this case, the danger in the minds of most white Americans is the loss of their identity. (294)

Baldwin in this outstanding literary work, by redefining America's Negro problem as a white one, even taken in present contexts, has effectively created a more replete, more unifying racial understanding. Not having been born or raised in America, I'm still learning the extensive history of American culture; Baldwin's penetrating body of work deeply touched, and truly enlightened me. I look forward to reading the rest of his praise-worthy collection of essays.

If we - and now I mean the relatively conscious whites and the relatively conscious blacks, who must, like lovers, insist on, or create, the consciousness of the others- do not falter in our duty now, we may be able, handful that we are, to end the racial nightmare, and achieve our country, and change the history of the world. If we do not dare everything, the fulfillment of that prophecy, re-created from the Bible in song by a slave, is upon us: 
                       God gave Noah the rainbow sign,
                       No more water, the fire next time!
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