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review 2019-01-15 01:43
Perfect
If Beale Street Could Talk - James Baldwin

If Beale Street Could Talk is sublime. For those who saw the movie, not everything in the novel stays the same, there are some scenes that I assume were cut for time. I thought that the way this ended was pretty perfect though.

 

This book is told from the POV of 18 year old Tish. She is dealing with the effects of her fiancee Fonny being locked up after he was accused of rape. You think that this would be simple until you read the long winding road that led them to this point. 

 

Tish's voice in this story is strong. Through her we get to see her first look at Fonny when they were kids and when they became something more. You get her frustration with how things are right now. And you get how she loves him. More than that, you get to see how Tish's family loves her. Her mother, father, and sister end up being Fonny's family too. 

We also get a look at Fonny's family and his two sisters, mother, and father. There could have been a whole other book about them. Every one that appears in this book is fully developed though. I don't know how long it has been that I read something that I could say well that was great, this person is great, and I can see this person in my head. 

Baldwin doesn't tell this story in a linear fashion, but it works. We go from the past (when Tish and Fonny met) her remembering the first time they went to church, and then back in the present with her telling her family that she is pregnant. And then we jump back again to see how happy Tish and Fonny were before they had a night that changed everything. The writing isn't lyrical. It is raw and in your face. 

 

“Tish,” she said, “when we was first brought here, the white man he didn’t give us no preachers to say words over us before we had our babies. And you and Fonny be together right now, married or not, wasn’t for that same damn white man. So, let me tell you what you got to do. You got to think about that baby. You got to hold on to that baby, don’t care what else happens or don’t happen. You got to do that.

 

“Unbow your head, sister,” she said, and raised her glass and touched mine. “Save the children,” she said, very quietly, and drained her glass.

 

That baby was our baby, it was on its way, my father’s great hand on my belly held it and warmed it: in spite of all that hung above our heads, that child was promised safety.

 

“I don’t know,” Frank said, “how God expects a man to act when his son is in trouble. Your God crucified His son and was probably glad to get rid of him, but I ain’t like that. I ain’t hardly going out in the street and kiss the first white cop I see. But I’ll be a very loving motherfucker the day my son walks out of that hellhole, free. I’ll be a loving motherfucker when I hold my son’s head between my hands again, and look into his eyes. Oh! I’ll be full of love, that day!”

 

The flow of this book was perfect. At times I was smiling, in tears, or full of despair, or hope. Baldwin puts you through the ringer. You want Tish and Fonny to have a different end to their story, but we all know what the end is going to be, what is has to be when you are talking about two black kids in love in the 1970s in America. Heck, have things changed? Baldwin shows you colorism, racism, sexism, police brutality, and one wonders have we come far enough? 

 

The setting of If Beale Street Could Talk is New York in the 1970s. You get to see how hard it was/is for a black man and a black woman at that time. 

 

The ending is left with us waiting for a new life even though we know that the life that Tish wanted is now gone. 

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photo 2019-01-14 12:02

alleBaazi is adding an edge to online fantasy gaming and batting/bowling fantasy league is evidence of the same Look @ https://bit.ly/2RLyTvp

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review 2019-01-12 22:11
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court - Mark Twain;Samuel Clemens

First the book . . .

 

This story is about Samuel Clemens (Mark Twain) meeting a man on a castle tour and the man knew everything about the castle. Later, Twain meets the man and they talk a while about how this man, Hank Morgan new so much about the castle. Hank didn’t tell a story, but left Twain with a book, or better yet a diary of Hank falling asleep and waking thirteen hundred years earlier.

 

Hank Morgan’s father was a blacksmith and his uncle a horse doctor. Hank ran a gun factory, starting at the bottom and learning everything, to quote:

 

“ I could make anything a body wanted- anything in the world, it didn’t make a difference what; and if there wasn’t any quick newfangled way to make a thing, I could invent one – and do it as easy as rolling off a log.”

 

So Hanks diary becomes the book “A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court”.

 

Well if you’ve read the book, Clemens attacks a lot of issues of his day, our day too. Religion, not really religion but when it is organized so well that it attacks the way a person lives his life. Slavery. He hated it and it even haunted him. Most of what he wrote about slavery were his own feelings. Other things like monarchy, nepotism, politics, and poverty. He even made fun of ad campaigns like soap ads. He brought up some things that even strikes today, which is when he came across was people that would take things as fact if it was said. No evidence of proof, and if evidence was there, it was forgotten as soon as the words were spoken.  He made fun of himself.

 

With the inventiveness of Morgan, he tells a story about how he overcomes these obstacles or at least the obstacles he chooses with modern tools and skillfulness he can create. And then he told of he destructing every advancement he made.

 

About the narrator . . .

 

Nick Offerman has this mid-western accent that does well with the book. It’s probably not an easy to perform, being as dated as it is but he does a good job of it. To me, he started off slow, not very into it but this could have been by design. By the end of the book, he was really going strong. This could also be to Twain having modernized the language of the book as Hank modernized the culture. Maybe not award worthy but Offerman did a good narrative.

 

My thoughts on the book . . .

 

As I said before I started the book, the biggest reason I choose this was the narrator. The book is good, but dated and sometimes hard to keep up with the dated sayings of that time. I am reading the book along with the audio-book and it does give me footnotes to help and some insight on what Clemons/Twain was thinking, or at least what somebody else thought what he was thinking. I would love to see what Clemons would write if he were alive today. I would think he would have a field day mocking both sides of the aisle. With that said, please don’t take this as something I am trying to politicize. I do not participate in political debates of today. It’s like teaching a pig to sing. You will only annoy the pig.

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text 2019-01-02 15:09
Reading progress update: I've read 15 out of 356 pages.
In the Shadow of Agatha Christie: Classic Crime Fiction by Forgotten Female Writers: 1850-1917 - Leslie S. Klinger

 

 

I did not know that Louisa May Alcott wrote crime fiction under a pseudonym.  At least until Little Women was successful, then she abandoned the mystery genre.

 

All kinds of fascinating little tidbits.

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review 2019-01-01 07:08
The Annotated Classic Fairytales
The Annotated Classic Fairy Tales - Maria Tatar,Jeanne-Marie Leprince de Beaumont,Jørgen Engebretsen Moe,Charles Perrault

A great book for anyone interested in the history behind selected popular European (I'm pretty sure all the stories were from Europe but I could be wrong) fairytales. The stories include several illustrations from different editions as well, and it's cool to compare the different interpretations.

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