After finishing "The Book of Negroes" I wanted to learn more about the African Slave Trade. It is part of our history, one of the many such grisly episodes, if you are English, and as such I feel that it is my duty not to forget, as so many others have done. I suppose it helps that I have an interest in history anyway. It's not that I have no knowledge of the slave trade, it is just that what I do know has been gleaned from TV series such as "Roots", "Queenie" and "Someone Knows My Name", films like "Amistad" and "Belle" and novels like Philippa Gregory's "A Respectable Trade". Add to that vague recollections of history lessons over a quarter of a century ago and it is hard to know what is fact, what is fiction and what has been glossed-over because it is just too uncomfortable to be publicised. I hope that this book and others like it will go some way to sorting out the jumble of information stored somewhere in my head.
I finished the first chapter this morning after picking the book up to 'just have a quick look'. It covers the history of Africa before the Slavers arrived. It is a very brief description of cultural sophistication, mainly in the area of architecture, comparable to, and indeed often surpassing, that of contemporary Europe. It would have been interesting to know a little about the life of the inhabitants of these African cities, rather than read generalizations but I suppose that is a whole different book to look for. While I was reading this I was thinking 'I didn't know that' but on reflection I suppose I did, it is just that the knowledge has been smothered by the impression I have of those times, which is and I am really ashamed to say this, of a primitive people living in the Stone Age. So, although I am only 36 pages in, this book has already made me aware of how ignorant I really am. And that is a good thing, I think.
Bottom Line: Decent (if a bit shallow) look at wildfires, but left me feeling "meh" all the way through reading it. It has some very dry writing, very much like this was a book full of journal/newspaper articles that were written to read like creative non-fiction - and then missed the mark completely. The subject of climate change and its affect on wildfires was interesting the first few times it was mentioned, but by the end of the book it was just too repetitive. 2.5 stars.
All additions this week come from the library:
1. No Fear Shakespeare: Othello by William Shakespeare/Sparks Publishing
I needed a book to read that would fill in the "Dead Author" square on the Summer Bingo Card. Can't get more dead than Shakespeare. This is the one Shakespearean tragedy I have wanted to read, but was never assigned in either high school or college (yet I had to read Hamlet 3 different times!! GRRRRR).
2. Brave Like My Brother by Marc Tyler Nobleman
I needed a book to read that would fill in the "Published in June/July/August 2016" square. For the record, this MG novella was published June 28, 2016. I can't tell you how many display tables/shelves I went through in two different libraries just to find a book published in this time frame.
3. Hell on Earth: The Wildfire Pandemic by David L. Porter with Lee Reeder
I have been on a real natural disaster kick lately. I think I miss being an emergency manager.
4. Not Just the Levees Broke: My Story During and After Hurricane Katrina by Phyllis Montana-Leblanc
I wanted a few books on Hurricane Katrina and Superstorm Sandy to read during September (which is National Emergency Preparedness Month in the US). My library had this book (portions which was turned into a movie by Spike Lee, who wrote the forward to the book) and I thought it would be good jumping off point. I put a hold on OverDrive for two more books, but both of those are from journalists.
5. Not Left Behind: Rescuing the Pets of New Orleans by Best Friends Animal Society
It was near book #4 and I could not resist the dog on the cover. Besides, I really think pet safety/evacuations are so important yet so overlooked aspect of emergency preparedness and response.
*bookish meme created by Moonlight Reader