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text 2017-06-18 17:30
Reading progress update: I've read 61%.
A Storm of Swords - George R.R. Martin


Well, it doesn't involve cute little innocent kittens licking themselves and being adorable, let me tell you!







And I even had this whole

Bolton/Frey alliance figured out (though not for the entirely right reasons) way back in Book 2. I knew something like this was coming.

(spoiler show)


Still not prepared.



(spoiler show)


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review 2017-06-17 22:49
Needed historical information that doesn't get covered elsewhere.
The Other Slavery: The Uncovered Story of Indian Enslavement in America - Andres Resendez

The histories of the indigenous peoples of the Americas do not get the coverage they deserve. Author Reséndez presents the book discussing the enslavement of the Natives and that, rather than the introduction of European diseases was the cause that eventually killed the Indians (which is the term Reséndez uses).


The reader explores the history of Indian enslavement, traveling from the beginning in the Caribbean and traveling into the 20th century. How Indians made the "reverse Middle Passage" as he calls it from what would become the United States to Spain and other European countries. How the practice of enslavement began to take hold and maintained itself and simply changed as time marches on.


It's hard for me to review this book. It's an interesting premise and it seems he's done quite a bit of research but I'm absolutely not knowledgeable enough to say whether he's right or he's wrong or how to weigh the evidence. It's also difficult to assess because I think the book is a little too long: sometimes he's more interested in the history rather than focusing on the topic at hand. As other reviewers wrote sometimes the book feels episodic and it's not exactly about "the other slavery."


I do think it's absolutely a topic that should be explored more. It's part of dismantling the myth of those friendly Thanksgivings or that the Natives are part of a long dead culture that can only be seen in museums. Reséndez makes the very good point that when slavery is discussed in the US, it's more about black people, the Civil War, etc. The enslavement of American Indians was not certainly not something I learned about in school and I'd bet it's probably not unless you take particular classes at the college level or have a teacher at the grade school level who has it in the curriculum.


If it interests you I'd recommend you read it but I'd say try the library or see if you can get it as a bargain buy.



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review SPOILER ALERT! 2017-06-16 19:57
The Underground Railroad
The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead

This book was horribly sad, it tore my heart open repeatedly. I don't usually read books like this but it was chosen for a book club I wanted to attend. I couldn't even get through the first page without crying. I had to put it down to rest my heart. I never made it to that book club meeting.


I know it is fiction and one major detail was changed but that didn't take away from the story. I know that the majority of the book was close enough to the real thing and the terror that people endured was just as real. I have read about the horrible things that humans did to other humans because of the color of their skin and it is heart-rending. I wish it all could be considered fiction but the sad truth is that this horrible story was a reality for too many souls. There is language that I like to avoid but in this book, it is part of the reality.


I feel wounded now and think I'll go back to reading total nonsense fiction.  


Spoiler below

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text 2017-06-08 11:50
Reading progress : I've read 28 out of 320 pages.
The Underground Railroad (Oprah's Book Club): A Novel - Colson Whitehead

I'm not getting very far in this book because it is so sad.  I'm just not in the mood for sad right now and every little detail in this book is so sad.  I did like this quote though.  


There are instruments and human players but sometimes a fiddle or a drum makes instruments of those who play them, and all are put in servitude to the song.

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review 2017-05-31 14:26
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell  
Take the Cannoli: Stories From the New World - Sarah Vowell

I can already tell I'm going to want to read this again. Essays, I love them. Plus, in my mind, I can hear Vowell as she must have sounded on This American Life, which is where most of these began. There's a few bits of growing-up interspersed throughout, a lot of history, the blackest of humor. Great stuff, perhaps especially on the Trail of Tears and how many different emotions that trip spawned.

So much humor, though.

On the one hand, I think Vowell would be an awesome friend to hang with, laughing at Choo-Choo and working it into every comment because of the way it sounds ("spleen" is a personal fave) on the other, she would someday drag me along on the least appealing road trip ever. Hotspots of the Teapot Dome scandal? Tippecanoe? Some other phrase I only dimly recall from American history, but can't actually place in time or space? She's already done The Hall of Presidents, so I'd be clear of that one. Yet no matter how little the idea would appeal to me, she'd make it fascinating: full of humor and humanity. Maybe we can just get her and Kate Beaton and Bill Bryson to filter all of history for us?

Library copy

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