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text 2018-02-12 21:51
Widen your horizons
The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited - Louisa Lim

Last year, I decided that I wanted to try my best to learn about different countries and cultures. I became especially interested in China and their Cultural Revolution. (You may recall Do Not Say We Have Nothing.) To that end, I picked up The People's Republic of Amnesia: Tiananmen Revisited by Louisa Lim which is a work of non-fiction that culls firsthand accounts from those who lived through that time and documents how their lives were subsequently changed. The biggest takeaway I had from this book was that I know next to nothing about the history of China...and most of its people can say the same. There has been so much collusion and cover-ups that most people are unaware of the true nature of historical events that occurred in their country. And those that would tell the truth are hushed up one way or another. The government's control works under the guise of "stability of the nation" which keeps the populace blind and even afraid of digging deeper. There is also a fear of the West because of massive political and cultural indoctrination that has occurred over several years. The seasons of political and cultural change can easily be marked by the different people in power. The party 'line' made it imperative that change be accepted by each and every citizen. Firsthand accounts from those who participated in (or lived through) the Cultural Revolution (more info on that here) illustrates the power wielded by those in power. All of these people are still being monitored and silenced. They can never advance in their careers which in a money obsessed country like China spells a certain shunned existence. It was a powerful, eye-opening experience reading this book. It has only increased my interest in learning about new places and people. If you're not a huge fan of nonfiction because you find it too dry then this would be an excellent one to give a shot as it reads more like a work of literature. 10/10 for the obviously thorough research and excellent writing.


What's Up Next: The Little Virtues by Natalia Ginzburg


What I'm Currently Reading: I've Got This Round: More Tales of Debauchery by Mamrie Hart

Source: readingfortheheckoft.blogspot.com
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review 2017-09-29 17:02
Fear-mongering, transformation, and awakening
Do Not Say We Have Nothing: A Novel - Madeleine Thien

Much like when I read The Historian, I was unable to decide if what I was reading was fiction or nonfiction. (Of course, there were no vampires in this book so maybe this isn't the best comparison except for the way they both made me feel.) I couldn't put down Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien despite how much I sometimes wanted to in order to spare myself further heartbreak. This is the story of those who lived through China's Cultural Revolution and their successors a world away in Canada...at least a tiny little slice. Our main characters rotate between Sparrow, Kai, and Zhuli who lived during Mao Zedong's reign of terror, Ai-Ming who took part in the demonstrations of Tiananmen Square, and Marie who wants to piece everything together in present day Canada. This is also about music and its power to lift the soul or to mire it in secrets. A lot of sensitive topics are touched on in this book including but not limited to torture, public humiliation, and sexual assault. This is not just a work of historical fiction but also a mystery about people, events, and a book that keeps resurfacing. Intricately woven with details which seem to make the story come to life in vivid color right before your eyes this book is one that I think everyone should experience. This is the hallmark of excellent historical fiction. 10/10


For a nearly complete list of the classical music mentioned in the book: Spotify.


Source: Goodreads



What's Up Next: Hunger by Roxane Gay


What I'm Currently Reading: Roald Dahl's Book of Ghost Stories

Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2016-02-19 23:13
Pants: More than just a leg covering
The Color Purple - Alice Walker

This was the first time I had read this classic despite it being on my radar for a looooong time. (I haven't seen the film either...) I have quite a few thoughts about this novel. In fact, I ended up taking notes so that I could let the story sink in a little further before I wrote up my final review.This is a story of oppression in a variety of forms. The setting is rural Georgia (although we do jump to Africa for a portion). It's written in journal format primarily by the main character, Celie, a young black woman coming into her own in the early 1900's. There are a lot of themes in this book besides oppression. One of the biggest is sexual awakening and liberation (not just sexual). Also, pants. Pants play a major role and symbolize independence, comfort, and self-sufficiency to name but a few. This book is teeming with powerful women. The strength of women is shown in a variety of forms. There is Sofia who is physically strong but is torn down by the constraints of her race. However, she learns how to build herself back up and to be better than before. There is Mary Agnes who is originally called Squeak but finds her voice in more ways than one. There's Nettie who might be my favorite as she used her chance of happiness wisely. She stayed strong in her faith not only of God but her sister. Good can happen to good people. There's Shug who can be a difficult character to like. She does what (and who) that she wants and she doesn't apologize for it which is probably the point. Women are taught that we should apologize for doing the same things men do. It is through her that happiness (and pants) makes its way into Celie's life. Then there is our main character, Celie, who had the toughest time and experienced the most growth. Spoiler alert ahead! The character goes from a frightened, sexually abused child to a confident woman in a polyamorous relationship. The book has been adapted for film, stage, and radio. Its message is a timeless one. If you haven't had the opportunity (or the inclination) to read this classic I think there's no better time than the present. :-)


PS I told you I had a lot to say. XD


Source: readingfortheheckofit.blogspot.com
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review 2014-10-09 00:00
Oppression and Liberty (Routledge Classics)
Oppression and Liberty (Routledge Classics) - Simone Weil --Prospects: Are we heading for the Proletarian Revolution?

--Reflections Concerning Technocracy, National-Socialism, the U.S.S.R. and Certain Other Matters
--On Lenin's book 'Materialism and Empiriocriticism'

--Reflections Concerning the Causes of Liberty and Social Oppression
--Critique of Marxism
--Analysis of Oppression
--Theoretical Picture of a Free Society
--Sketch of Contemporary Social Life

--Fragments, 1933-1938
--Critical Examination of the Ideas of Revolution and Progress
--Meditation on Obedience and Liberty
--On the Contradictions of Marxism

--Fragments, London 1943

--Is There a Marxist Doctrine?
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text 2014-07-10 23:15
Thanks to Horror After Dark!
400 Days of Oppression - Wrath James White

Thanks to Horror After Dark for running the 400 Days of Oppression giveaway.  I entered, laughing, figuring since I really wanted to read this and had it on my wish list, I wouldn't win. 


Surprise, surprise!


I want to start reading it immediately - but I don't have the USB connectors to do it until much later tonight!    But I will most likely start reading this weekend. 


Also, free lobby wifi FTW. 

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