12 books for me this month! More than double my average. Add The thin Man and Turn of the Screw to the above pictured books.
Thanks to Bingo. Now time to get back to other things I do besides reading every spare minute, though it's been fun.
No samples again, but clearing that folder again will resume soon. I have 5 Netgalley books to clear and then I'll settle into keeping at least 1 A-list book going while working through the Bingo folder where I have a load of back-ups for some of the squares. I might even read something besides Horror soon.
by Freddy Silva
This is a historical record of the rise of the Knights Templar, but the author tells us in his opening notes that he writes it in the form of a novel to make it more engaging than many historical accounts tend to be, and in this he largely succeeds, though it sometimes slips into academic treatise. Even then it holds interest. It gives a detailed history of a time before we had the European countries as we know them today, when they were small duchies that would eventually form the nations of Europe.
It is well researched and provides maps of the European continent as it was in the year 1080 A.D., when the Holy Roman Empire covered much of the land. One of them is a close-up of the county of Portucale, which will become the country of Portugal as a result of the history about to be told. This history begins with a decree from Pope Urban II in late 11th century that gathers various factions of rabble together and calls them Holy Knights, then sends them off to do a land grab in the Arabic countries because Christians believe certain locations to be theirs by God's will.
There is more detail to the political situation with Turks killing pilgrims and access to sacred sites beset by Bedouin raiders as well as payments demanded since 1065. In just the first couple of chapters, the causes and reasoning behind the Crusades becomes clear and is told in a way that holds interest.
The book is professionally notated and would make a great reference source for anyone looking for information on the rise and background of the Templars or the history behind the Crusades. I personally found it fascinating and an enjoyable way to increase my knowledge of this area of history.
In light of recent events this seemed like a good recommendation from the media. Author Bonilla-Silva takes the reader though how racism has changed in the post-Civil Rights era and how "color blindness" is actually not that at all. From the language to people use to the beliefs they hold he examines how racism still exists and how it continues to be perpetuated despite the perhaps optimistic views that these view will somehow fade away or die out.
So while perhaps we do not have slaves working on plantations or openly segregated areas of service, etc. many of the thoughts and words Bonilla-Silva writes about here are dog whistles you hear in the media, by talk/radio show hosts and maybe even by your family and friends. It's simply how things have been done. Electing Barack Obama meant racism was "over". And so on and so forth. Bonilla-Silva looks at various people in each chapter, records how they address particular topics and then breaks down their words and perhaps how and why they answered in that way.
There was a lot to chew on and the initial chapters were promising. But I agree with a lot of the negative reviews: sometimes he is too academic and generally just too "wordery" that might turn off a general audience. Much of what he wrote about was familiar to me so it felt a bit like beating a dead horse with far too many words.
But it was still interesting and I don't regret reading it. That said, I'd recommend works like 'The New Jim Crow' and/or 'Dog Whistle Politics: How Coded Racial Appeals Have Reinvented Racism and Wrecked the Middle Class' for texts that are more approachable and perhaps would work as introductory ones if you're not sure about tackling this one. Check it out at the library or at least flip through a few chapters if you're not sure if it's for you.
Recommended for anyone who wants to understand how racism has changed over time, but be prepared to be uncomfortable and even perhaps recognize yourself in these pages.