Monday, April 11, 2011

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

This was a difficult book for me because it is a science fiction piece...and I have never been that much of a fan of fantasy and science fiction. Brave New World is Huxley's version of a dystopia. The novel condemns the idea of mass production (Henry Ford) and creating a world where people are bred to be happy without really experiencing true emotions. Huxley clearly brings into his novel many people intended to represent other famous people of his time he means to condemn for what he believes is their role in the decline of society (Ford, Freud, J.P. Morgan, Lenin, Trotsky, etc.). At the same time, through his main character, John Savage, he exalts the "noble savage." I can see this book as being a part of lists of the 100 best books of all time, but it was still a difficult read for me.

Grenada: An Eyewitness Account of the U.S. Invasion and the Caribbean History that Provoked it by Hugh O'Shaughnessy

The historical books on some countries are probably most dangerous for me to read because I end up seeing so much of our dirty underware. It is clear that the U.S. attack on Grenada in 1983 was illegal (we invaded a country we were not at war with), it was unnecessary as far as helping to establish the rule of law in Grenada, and caused a set back in the cause of political democracy and long-term economic development in the region. That is so discouraging to me. Time after time, the U.S. was more concerned about the possibility of a nation becoming communistic than that they had a self-governing nation. We have promoted far-right dictators in these nations because it was in our "best interest" not to have another nation become more socialistic. Too many times, the Land of the Free does not really believe in that concept as a value for other countries.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

The Bronze Bow by by Elizabeth George Speare

Lovely story set in Roman-controlled Galilee. It is amazing to me that a book dealing with Jesus Christ and his affect upon people of his time was chosen as a Newberry Winner. I am delighted that it happened.

The Witches' Ride and Other Tales from Costa Rica by Lupe de Osma

Fun telling of a dozen fairy tales from Costa Rica written for children. It is always so interesting to see in how many countries the same children's stories show up in different variations. There is a Cinferella tale as well as Hansel and Gretel.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Second Coming of Mavala Shikongo by Peter Orner

Peter Orner creates such vibrant characters in this novel based in Namibia. He gives insight into the effects of war upon the people of the country. Sometimes difficult to follow...rather poetic in flow. Not much of a story with a plot. Beautifully written, nonetheless.

Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred D. Taylor

I thought that this was a wonderful story. Newberry Award winner the same year that I graduated from high school, I found myself wishing I had read this book back then. The author, Mildren D. Taylor, did an amazing job of capturing the language of his characters. The novel is set at the same time in history when my parents were growing up in the south. The descriptions of what life was like for blacks in the south post-Civil War and pre-Civil Rights movement is intriguing and gripping. Powerful story!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

The Dark Child: The Autobiography of an African Boy by Camara Laye

This book is the enjoyable and interesting coming of age story of Camara Laye who grew up in French Guinea. Nicely told from the viewpoint of a child experiencing becoming a man in Guinea. Lovely plays on the tensions of the old way versus modernization. The insights into culture and tradition was especially interesting to me. Quick read.