Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Library Loot ~ Oct 30 to Nov 5

Who Discovered America? : The Untold History of Peopling of the Americas ~ by Gavin Menzies and Ian Hudson, 2013, history
Greatly expanding on his blockbuster 1421, historian Gavin Menzies uncovers the complete untold history of how mankind came to the Americas — offering new revelations and a radical rethinking of the accepted historical record in Who Discovered America?  This book calls into question our understanding of how the American continents were settled, shedding new light on the well-known “discoveries” of European explorers, including Christopher Columbus.  Menzies combines meticulous research and an adventurer’s spirit to reveal astounding new evidence of an ancient Asian seagoing tradition — most notably the Chinese — that dates as far back as 130,000 years ago.  He offers a revolutionary new alternative to the “Beringia” theory of how humans crossed a land bridge connecting Asia and North America during the last Ice Age, and provides a wealth of staggering claims, that hold fascinating and astonishing implications for the history of mankind.
The Fossil Girl: Mary Anning's Dinosaur Discovery ~ by Catherine Brighton, 1999, children's (England), 8/10
It's 1811.  Ten-year-old Mary Anning, her brother Joe, and their widowed mother are eking out a meager existence running a little fossil shop in the seaside town of Lyme Regis.  After a storm wipes out most of the shop’s merchandise, Mary and Joe begin the slow work of restocking the shelves.  They search high and low for fossils, and one day Mary spots a huge eye in a cliff face high above the town. She resolves to bring the creature down — no matter what the risk.  The exciting discovery and recovery of the first complete fossil of an Ichthyosaurus is told in an attractive graphic novel format, perfect for reluctant readers.  For ages 5 to 9.
I'm frustrated with this book because it let's her brother be the one who finds the fossil, not Mary.

Stone Girl, Bone Girl: The Story of Mary Anning ~ by Laurence Anholt, illustrated by Sheila Moxley, 1998, children's (England), 7/10
Mary Anning made an astounding discovery at age 12 when she unearthed the first full skeleton of a giant ichthyosaur in the cliffs above her home in Lyme Regis.  This incident — in which she was helped by a little dog she rescued from a cemetery — was the beginning of a long career that saw Mary become the world’s best-known fossil hunter.  For ages 5 to 8.
These are about a real person.  Mary Anning, born in England in 1799, discovered the full skeleton of an ichthyosaur in the cliffs above her home when she was only 12, a discovery that made her one of the most famous fossil-hunters of her day.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Teaser ~ The Politics of Experience

The Politics of Experience ~ by R. D. Laing, 1967

Laing was a young British psychiatrist who attacked the Establishment assumptions about "normality" with "a radical and challenging view of the mental sickness built into our society."  I've quoted from the back cover of this book that I read in the early 1970s.  Wow, that's 40 years ago!  Unpacking boxes of books, I ran across this dusty paperback and decided to share some quotes from it as today's teaser.
"As we experience the world, so we act.  We conduct ourselves in the light of our view of what is the case and what is not the case.  That is, each person is a more or less naive ontologist.  Each person has views of what is and what is not" (p. 142).
Okay, I suppose I should define ontologist for you, since I'm probably the only philosophy major here.  Ontology is the philosophical study of the nature of being or reality.  It deals with questions about what is.  So an ontologist is one who investigates what makes a human, human.  Have I lost you?  Okay, let's try another quote.
"Psychotherapy must remain an obstinate attempt of two people to recover the wholeness of being human through the relationship between them" (p. 53).
I never took a class in psychology, so I asked a professor of social psychology about taking his beginning class he was visiting at my house with one of my friends.  He had been reading the titles on my bookshelves and said, with a wave toward my books, "You don't need it."  This book was probably right there on those shelves that day.
"Human beings seem to have an almost unlimited capacity to deceive themselves, and to deceive themselves into taking their own lies for truth" (pp. 72-73).
On the previous pages, Laing was describing the way our teachers teach — or taught back then, 40-some years ago, before "common core" and "teaching to the test" became the norm.  Reading snippets of this book, I notice it seems very dated.  Or maybe I just haven't thought about these ideas in decades.  Has anyone else read this book?  Or even heard of it?

Monday, October 28, 2013

Monday Mindfulness ~ Om for peace.

OM is a beautiful word.  It has the same roots as the words I AM or AMEN.  These words are the sound of the Divine, the All That Is.  It is a great mantra for meditation, and it can bring you profound peace.

This word is also on the pendant I'm wearing.  It is used to symbolize the Hindu religion.  From the top, going clockwise, these are the religions symbolized on my pendant:
  • Christianity ~ the cross
  • Taoism ~ yin-yang shows opposites in balance
  • Islam ~ crescent and star
  • Judaism ~ six-pointed star
  • Buddhism ~ eight spokes represent the Eightfold Path
  • Hinduism ~ the word Om (or Aum)
The Dalai Lama said, "When there is peace among religions,there will be peace in the world."

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ fortune cookie edition

BOOKS

Last week I wrote about buying a book I already had, and Helen @  Helen's Book Blog commented:
"That's really funny that you have bought the same book twice (and from the same store!). Even better is that you haven't read it yet, right? Maybe it's a sign that it should be your next read."
What do you think?  Is it a sign?  Should that book be at the top of my TBR (to be read) stack?  How do you choose what comes next?

And more BOOKS

Three books found their way home with me this past week:  one bought, one found, one a repeat.  I'm at different stages of writing a couple of books, one on Women Unbound and one on prayer (which is not, in my opinion, what most people think it is).  That may explain these titles, and the teasers I've pulled from each one:
The Feminine Mistake: Are We Giving Up Too Much? ~ by Leslie Bennetts, 2007, women's studies
"And I'll freely confess that some of my contributions to school bake sales were store-bought.  So what?" (p. 171).

"It has become inescapably clear that choosing economic dependency as a lifestyle is the classic feminine mistake.  No matter what the reasons, justifications, or circumstances, it's simply too risky to count on anyone else to support you over the long haul.  In an era of disappearing pensions, threats to Social Security, high divorce rates, a volatile labor market, and attenuating life spans, the social safety net continues to erode even as the needs grow -- particularly for women, who are twice as likely as men to slide below the poverty line in their later years" (pp. xxiii-xxiv).
I've Got to Talk to Somebody, God: A Woman's Conversations with God ~ by Marjorie Holmes, 1969, prayer
"Oh, God, how I dread cleaning the refrigerator.  And I mean that not as an oath, but a prayer.  There it stands, singing away so faithfully, keeping our foods fresh for us.  Reluctantly I open it, and instead of being grateful for its overflowing plenty, I want to back away and slam the door."
The Faith Club: A Muslim, A Christian, A Jew — Three Women Search for Understanding, by Ranya Idliby, Suzanne Oliver, and Priscilla Warner, 2006, religions
In 2009, I used a quote from Priscilla (the Jew) as a teaser, so this time I'll let Ranya (the Muslim) speak about her children:
"I hadn't thought much about their religious identity.  To me, one's religion is primarily an accident of birth.  Yet, after 9/11, I becane concerned that our Muslim religion meant more than that.  I felt that being Muslim and American might be more of a challenge than a privilege that my children were inheriting" (p. 91).
FORTUNE COOKIE : a story

I had lunch with my friend Emily at a Chinese buffet this week, and we got fortune cookies with the bill.  She opened one and said, "I think I got yours."  That's a funny reaction, so I reached for it, but she said, "No, open that other one first."  It was pretty non-descript, since I can't even remember what it said, so she swapped with me.  Here's the one Emily said was mine:
"You have a friendly heart and are well admired."
How nice!  Emily says she's shy, and it's true that she is less likely to become instant friends with anybody within the sound of my voice.  Last week, for example, my other friend, Donna, went to the ladies' room before we left a restaurant and I had made friends with our waitress and the manager while waiting for her.  I'd already learned the manager had to reprimand his own mother once for insubordination, no less when he hired her to work for him in a restaurant in another state.  I asked him, "What did you get for Christmas (or your birthday) that year?"  The question surprised him, and he got a look on his face, saying, "Good question!  Hmm, I don't remember."

Anyway, as we walked out to the car, Donna shook her head and said,
"I leave you alone for just one minute...."
Maybe Emily's right, that it was my fortune cookie that said, "You have a friendly heart."

FAMILY

My granddaughter wrote about her daughter playing with her daddy, "Cheetos!  I guess I should get on to them for playing with their food."  One of my daughters commented, "I would tell you that they will out-grow that, but probably not."

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page links to other blogs.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Friday, October 25, 2013

Beginning ~ with a letter

Paris, France, January 1952

Lucy was dead.  Eleanor Roosevelt sat alone in her suite at the Hôtel de Crillon and looked at the obituary a friend had mailed to her the week before.  It was from the newspaper in Aiken, South Carolina, dated January 7, 1952:  "Lucy Page Mercer Rutherford, fifty-seven years old, died from complications of kidney disease.  Widow of Lord Edward Rutherford."
Eleanor vs. Ike ~ by Robin Gerber, 2008
It is a time of turmoil, with the nation mired in an unpopular war in Korea and with Senator Joseph McCarthy stirring up fear of a lurking Communist "menace."  Racial discrimination is rampant.  A woman's place is in the home.  And when a shocking act of God eliminates the Democratic presidential nominee, the party throws its support to an unlikely standard bearer:  former First Lady and goodwill ambassador to the world Eleanor Roosevelt.  This fast-paced book pits the unforgettable Eleanor against the enormously popular war hero Gen. Dwight David ("Ike") Eisenhower.  But while the opponents promise "an honest campaign," their strategists mire the race in scandal and bitter innuendo.  Suddenly Eleanor finds herself a target of powerful insiders who mean to destroy her good name — and Ku Klux Klan assassins dedicated to her death — as she gets caught up in a mad whirl of appearances and political maneuvering ... and a chance encounter with a precocious five-year-old named Hillary Rodham.
I'm finally getting around to reading this novel, which I mentioned last year in a Friday Five about women:
Name a famous woman from history with whom you would like to have lunch.

Eleanor Roosevelt was first lady when I was born in 1940.  Eleanor vs. Ike, a 2008 novel by Robin Gerber, is hiding in a box somewhere in my apartment.  When I find the right box, I'll read this alternative history of a political campaign between the unforgettable Eleanor and the popular war hero Gen. Dwight David Eisenhower, known as Ike.  I was twelve when Ike was elected in 1952, but what fun if Eleanor had become the first woman president.  Will it happen in this book?
The book has been unpacked from that box, and I'm ready to read it now.  I read to explore ideas — this book explores the idea of a woman running for president of the United States six decades ago.  Apparently, the majority of people in the United States are still unable to imagine such a thing.



Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Pickpocket, toolsmith, or professional nose ~ what's your job?

"The mind boggles at how many forks on the road of life are possible to lead us to different careers."

That sentence stood out for me as I read an article about peculiar professions at AbeBooks.com.  And there are many jobs in the article:  brushmaking, professional pickpocket, airline stewardess (an old book that's 50+ years old).  And from the comments I gathered these:  artisan blacksmith, worm farmer, bovine podiatrist, and "professional nose."  Yes, that's what she said.  Two more jobs from the book cover used to illustrate the article:  toolsmith and steelworker.

My baby sister was born when I was almost five years old.  That's when I decided to be a nurse in a hospital and work with babies.  That lasted until I learned nurses don't get to sit around playing with babies.  In first grade, I wanted to be a teacher.  In third grade, it was magician.  In fifth grade, I was planning to be a doctor healing people in the Belgium Congo.  (Revealing my age, aren't I?)  I ended up a stay-at-home mom, until I was divorced and finished college, at which time I worked as a "manpower planner" (no longer a politically correct job description).

Over time, I became an editor of two in-house publications; an instructor doing management training; a freelance writer published locally, nationally, and internationally; an ordained minister; an adjunct college teacher; and a bookstore owner.  Oh, yeah, I was also a library assistant while in college and at one point had a part-time job stuffing the comics and advertising in the Sunday newpapers as they came rolling along a conveyer belt.  I'm a walking collection of former jobs and careers, many if not most having something to do with books and words.  I keep remembering other jobs, like drawing the illustrations for a couple of books when I was in my 20s, and being a file clerk after school when I was in my mid-teens.

What's the strangest or most interesting job you've ever done or heard of?  At what age did you decide on whatever it is you now do for a living?
__________

ADDED an hour later:

I've found what I want to be, if and when I ever grow up!  I want to be a Diction Fairy like this one.  Books and words, as I said earlier.  Yep, the diction fairy covers those.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Monday Mindulness ~ be aware

"Mindfulness is the energy of being aware of what is happening in the present moment.  When we are fully present, we are fully alive and we live deeply every moment of our daily lives. ... Mindfulness is the capacity to recognize things as they are."

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ too many books

BOOK TWINS

Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why ~ by Bart D. Ehrman, 2005
"This book is about ancient manuscripts of the New Testament and the differences found in them, the scribes who copied scripture and sometimes changed it. ... It is written for people who know nothing about textual criticism but who might like to learn something about how scribes were changing scripture and about how we can recognize where they did so."
See this book?  It has a twin, stacked right here in the same room.  It was only when I happened upon this post about acquiring the book in 2012 that I realized I'd bought the same book again while shopping with my out-of-town book friend Norice last week.  Yep, I bought a book I already had.  I even bought it from the same bookstore.   Both volumes were published by HarperSanFrancisco, but one is 9x6" (left) and the other is 8x5.3" (right).  The larger edition is easier to read, with slightly larger letters.  But my new one, the smaller one, has a Plus: Insights, Interviews, and More section at the back.  The little one also has the worst feature dreamed up by a book designer — that cut-out with the medieval copyist showing through.  I hate it because it makes the book less sturdy and more easily torn.  With all the physical differences, I guess these books are fraternal twins.  Ha!

BOOKS to the left of me, BOOKS to the right of me

How to Know God: The Soul's Journey Into the Mystery of Mysteries ~ by Deepak Chopra, 2000
According to Chopra, the brain is hardwired to know God.  The human nervous system has seven biological responses that correspond to seven levels of divine experience.  These are shaped not by any one religion (they are shared by all faiths), but by the brain's need to take an infinite, chaotic universe and find meaning in it.  This book describes the quest each of us is on, whether we realize it or not.  As Chopra puts it, "God is our highest instinct to know ourselves."  This book makes a dramatic and enduring contribution to that knowledge.
While looking for the Misquoting Jesus book that I knew had to be in the stacks of books beside my desk, I found this one by Deepak Chopra.  My friend Jane had asked me a couple of days ago if I'd read any of his books, which she discovered this month.  I pulled this one out of the stack and called her.  She really likes what he writes, and this was the second of three Deepak Chopra books she's already finished reading.  I agreed to read it now so we can discuss it, and she's planning to re-read it so this particular one will be fresh in her mind.  Have you read any books by Deepak Chopra?

Obviously, I have too many books if I buy duplicates without knowing it and discover others I've forgotten I have in my piles.

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Beginning ~ with birth pains

Moses, Man of the Mountain ~ by Zora Neale Hurston, 1939, fiction
"Have mercy!  Lord, have mercy on my poor soul!"  Women gave birth and whispered cries like this in caves and out-of-the-way places that humans didn't usually use for birthplaces.
Years ago, I read Zora Neale Hurston's seminal 1937 novel Their Eyes Were Watching God, so I'm excited to read another of her books.  This one appears to be very different, not about a town populated by blacks in Florida, but about Moses.  Yes, the one in the Bible.  From the back cover:
In this 1939 novel based on the familiar story of the Exodus, Zora Neale Hurston blends the Moses of the Old Testament with the Moses of black folklore and song to create a compelling allegory of power, redemption, and faith.  Narrated in a mixture of biblical rhetoric, black dialect, and colloquial English, Hurston traces Moses's life from the day he is launched into the Nile river in a reed basket, to his development as a great magician, to his transformation into the heroic rebel leader, the Great Emancipator.  From his dramatic confrontations with Pharaoh to his fragile negotiations with the wary Hebrews, this very human story is told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight — the hallmarks of Hurston as a writer and champion of black culture.


Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, October 17, 2013

The Returned ~ by Jason Mott

The Returned ~ by Jason Mott, 2013, fiction (North Carolina), 8/10
I told you about this book when it was still on order.  It's about people's loved ones returning from beyond, and one knows how or why.  What would it be like if someone you love came back one day?  I've read the book now and rate it 8 of 10, a very good book.
This novel has one character who is very interested in words, learning them and improving hersel by learning words.  Here's one of her word choices, when her husband and son are being held by the government (p. 115):
"But it's been weeks," Lucille replied.
"And they're both healthy and alive.  Aren't they?"
"I suppose so. ... But they're..."  She hunted for a good word.  She would feel better if she could find a quality word right now.  "They're...immured."
Okay, I rarely come across a word anymore that I don't know.  Even this one seemed like one I ought to know, but I'm sure I haven't read it or heard it used in years.  Do you know what it means?  Confession:  I had to look it up, but I'm sure I've never used this word and probably never will.  I did learn something though.
immure = enclose or confine (someone) against their will.  Example: "Her brother was immured in a lunatic asylum."

synonyms = confine, intern, shut up, lock up, incarcerate, imprison, jail, cage, put behind bars, put under lock and key, hold captive, hold prisoner; detain, hold.  Example:  "His first wife was immured in sanatoriums for most of her adult life."
This next quote stopped me in my tracks.  I had to read it several times, wondering where in the world the author came up with these lines.  This is from the perspective of the pastor in the story, trying to get someone out of confinement.  (Or would that be "immurement"?  I wasn't sure that was even a word, so I looked it up.  It means "a form of imprisonment, usually for life, in which a person is locked within an enclosed space and all possible exits turned into impassable walls.")  Okay, here's the quote (page 262):
He'd talk to whomever he needed to talk to about having her released into his custody.  He could throw his spiritual weight around when he needed to.  Apply a little emotional guilt, as all men of the cloth are trained to do.
What???  Trained to apply guilt?  What "men of the cloth" would that be?  Not my denomination.  I have never run into anything like that, ever, and I'm an ordained minister.  What a strange idea.

My father died in a traffic accident when he was only 45.  The "returned" people in the book came back at the same age they were when they died.  If my dad returned now, he would be younger than my three children.  Hard to imagine.  One of the book's characters dreamed about a loved one returning.  A few years (or months?) after my dad died, I dreamed about meeting him on the sidewalk outside my church, knowing he had died.  I rarely recall actual words from my dreams, but I remember saying to him, "Does Mom know you're back?"  That's sort of what this book was about.  Here's a photo of my dad about twenty years earlier, as a 20-something soldier during World War Two.  A couple of my grandchildren are older than he was in this picture.

The dustjacket photo

I don't know what the photo on the cover means, unless it implies a world turned upside down.  The boy appears to be about eight years old, just like the boy in the novel who died on his eighth birthday.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Library Loot ~ October 16-22

Cinderella Ate My Daughter: Dispatches from the Front Lines of the New Girlie-Girl Culture ~ by Peggy Orenstein, 2011, society
The rise of the girlie-girl, warns Peggy Orenstein, is no innocent phenomenon. Following her acclaimed books Flux, Schoolgirls, and the provocative New York Times bestseller Waiting for Daisy, Orenstein’s Cinderella Ate My Daughter offers a radical, timely wake-up call for parents, revealing the dark side of a pretty and pink culture confronting girls at every turn as they grow into adults.
My great-granddaughter likes everything pink:  her hat, her clothes, her lawn chair, her hair bows, her valentines, her art work.  Why must everything be pink?  It didn't used to be this way, when my girls wore greens and yellows, reds and blue, plaids, stripes, and polka dots (maybe not those).  Here's the table of contents:
1.  Why I Hoped for a Boy
2.  What's Wrong with Cinderella?
3.  Pinked!
4.  What Makes Girls Girls?
5.  Sparkle, Sweetie!
6.  Guns and (Briar) Roses
7. Wholesome to Whoresome:  The Other Disney Princesses
8.  It's All About the Cape
9.  Just Between You, Me, and My 622 BFFs
10.  Girl Power No, Really
The New Mind of the South ~ by Tracy Thompson, 2013, culture
There are those who say the South has disappeared.  But in her groundbreaking, thought-provoking exploration of the region, Tracy Thompson, a Georgia native and Pulitzer Prize finalist, asserts that it has merely drawn on its oldest tradition:  an ability to adapt and transform itself.  Thompson spent years traveling through the region and discovered a South both amazingly similar and radically different from the land she knew as a child.  African Americans who left en masse for much of the twentieth century are returning in huge numbers, drawn back by a mix of ambition, family ties, and cultural memory.  Though Southerners remain more churchgoing than other Americans, the evangelical Protestantism that defined Southern culture up through the 1960s has been torn by bitter ideological schisms.  The new South is ahead of others in absorbing waves of Latino immigrants, in rediscovering its agrarian traditions, in seeking racial reconciliation, and in reinventing what it means to have roots in an increasingly rootless global culture.  Drawing on mountains of data, interviews, and a whole new set of historic archives, Thompson upends stereotypes and fallacies to reveal the true heart of the South today — a region still misunderstood by outsiders and even by its own people.
Here's the table of contents:
1.  It's Complicated
2.  Salsa with Your Grits
3.  The Big Lie
4.  Shadow History
5.  Jesusland
6.  The Sorting Out
7.  Atlanta
8.  Old Times There Are Not Forgotten
Yep, I'm sure there's some interesting stuff in this book.


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  They encourage us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.

This is the sign in front of my branch of the library.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Sunday Salon ~ theoblogian edition

Just this Sunday afternoon (yes, I'm running late today), I learned a new word:  theoblogian.  I love it!  I'm a reader and a blogger and a word person and a theologian.  That much I knew.  But now that I've found the word, I realize I'm all of those in one.  I'm a theoblogian.  Yes!  I'm also a feminist and just found the Jesus Feminist page on Facebook.  Sarah Bessey has a book by that name coming out in November.  Sounds interesting, though I don't know enough yet to tell you anything about it.

BOOKS

A Year of Biblical Womanhood: How a Liberated Woman Found Herself Sitting on Her Roof, Covering Her Head, and Calling Her Husband "Master" ~ by Rachel Held Evans, 2012
Pursuing a different virtue each month, Evans learns the hard way that her quest for biblical womanhood requires more than a “gentle and quiet spirit” (1 Peter 3:4).  It means growing out her hair, making her own clothes, covering her head, obeying her husband, rising before dawn, abstaining from gossip, remaining silent in church, and even camping out in the front yard during her period.  See what happens when a thoroughly modern woman starts referring to her husband as “master” and “praises him at the city gate” with a homemade sign.  Learn the insights she receives from an ongoing correspondence with an Orthodox Jewish woman, and find out what she discovers from her exchanges with a polygamist wife.  Join her as she wrestles with difficult passages of scripture that portray misogyny and violence against women.
In trying to send a link to a friend, I discovered I had failed to blog about this book.  I had told you about her first memoir:

Evolving in Monkey Town: How a Girl Who Knew All the Answers Learned to Ask the Questions ~ by Rachel Held Evans, 2010

And this one today is similar to one I read a couple of years ago:

The Year of Living Biblically: One Man's Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible ~ by A. J. Jacobs, 2007

I'll tell you more about Rachel's books when I finish reading them.

The Sunday Salon's Facebook page has links to other blogs.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Beginning ~ with a killer

Left to Tell: Discovering God Amidst the Rwandan Holocaust ~ by Immaculee Ilibagiza, 2006, memoir
I heard the killers call my name.

They were on the other side of the wall, and less than an inch of plaster and wood separated us.  Their voices were cold, hard, and determined.

"She's here . . . we know she's here somewhere. . . . Find her — find Immaculee."
There were many voices, many killers.  I could see them in my mind: my former friends and neighbors, who had always greeted me with love and kindness, moving through the house carrying spears and machetes and calling my name.
From the dust jacket:
Immaculee Ilibagiza grew up in a country she loved, surrounded by a family she cherished.  But in 1994 her idyllic world was ripped apart as Rwanda descended into a bloody genocide.  Immaculee’s family was brutally murdered during a killing spree that lasted three months and claimed the lives of nearly a million Rwandans.  Incredibly, Immaculee survived the slaughter.  For 91 days, she and seven other women huddled silently together in the cramped bathroom of a local pastor while hundreds of machete-wielding killers hunted for them.  She emerged from her bathroom hideout having discovered the meaning of truly unconditional love—a love so strong she was able seek out and forgive her family’s killers.
A dozen years ago, more or less, I read another book about the genocide in Rwanda.  A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali by Gil Courtemanche is a novel, published in 2000.  I also saw the movie.  Although it was fiction, it was all too real to me.  I knew about Immaculee's true story, but having met a man whose family died in the Rwandan slaughter, living right here in my town, I didn't feel that I could read any more about what is now almost two decades in the past.  I ran across this pristine copy of Immaculee's memoir in a used book store, so clean and "new" that it surely has never been read.  I'm ready to read it now.



Gilion at Rose City Reader hosts Book Beginnings on Fridays.  Click here for today's Mister Linky.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

I Am Malala ~ by Malala Yousafzai

I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban ~ by Malala Yousafzai, 2013, memoir
When the Taliban took control of the Swat Valley in Pakistan, one girl spoke out.  Malala Yousafzai refused to be silenced and fought for her right to an education.  On Tuesday, October 9, 2012, when she was fifteen, she almost paid the ultimate price.  She was shot in the head at point-blank range while riding the bus home from school, and few expected her to survive.  Instead, Malala's miraculous recovery has taken her on an extraordinary journey from a remote valley in northern Pakistan to the halls of the United Nations in New York.  At sixteen, she has become a global symbol of peaceful protest and the youngest nominee ever for the Nobel Peace Prize.  This book is the remarkable tale of a family uprooted by global terrorism, of the fight for girls' education, of a father who, himself a school owner, championed and encouraged his daughter to write and attend school, and of brave parents who have a fierce love for their daughter in a society that prizes sons.  One person's voice can change in the world.
Malala's Swat Valley
I am very impressed with Malala Yousafzai.  So young, yet so wise.  She is already changing the world, even though she's only 16 years old.  Learn more about her:



Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Library Loot ~ October 9-15


Open Secrets: A Spiritual Journey Through a Country Church ~ by Richard Lischer, 2001, memoir
Fresh out of divinity school and bursting with enthusiasm, Richard Lischer found himself assigned to a small conservative church in an economically depressed town in southern Illinois.  It's an awkward marriage at best a young man with a Ph.D. in theology, full of ideas and ambitions, determined to improve his parish and bring it into the twenty-first century, and a community that is "as tightly sealed as a jar of home-canned pickles."  Lischer tells not only his own story but also the story of New Cana and its inhabitants.  He brings to life the clash of cultures and personalities that marks his pastoral tenure, including his own doubts, as well as those of his parishioners, that a twenty-eight-year-old suburban-raised liberal can deal with the troubled marriages, alcoholism, teen sex, inadequate farm subsidies, and other concerns of the conservative, tightly knit community.  But the inhabitants of New Cana lovable, deeply flawed, imperfect people who stick together open their arms to him in their own way, and the result is a colorful, poignant comedy of small-town life and all it has to offer.
Moses Man of the Mountain ~ by Zora Neale Hurston, 1939, fiction
In this 1939 novel based on the familiar story of the Exodus, Zora Neale Hurston blends the Moses of the Old Testament with the Moses of black folklore and song to create a compelling allegory of power, redemption, and faith.  Narrated in a mixture of biblical rhetoric, black dialect, and colloquial English, Hurston traces Moses's life from the day he is launched into the Nile river in a reed basket, to his development as a great magician, to his transformation into the heroic rebel leader, the Great Emancipator.  From his dramatic confrontations with Pharaoh to his fragile negotiations with the wary Hebrews, this very human story is told with great humor, passion, and psychological insight — the hallmarks of Hurston as a writer and champion of black culture.

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire @ The Captive Reader and Marg @ The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader.  They encourage us to share titles of books we’ve checked out of the library.  Add your link any time during the week, and see what others got this week.

This is the sign in front of my branch of the library.