04-09-2010 07:27 PM
Well, right now I'm finishing the (currently) last book in the Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter series by Laurell K. Hamilton, and I'm rereading Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse novels. I just love Sookie Stackhouse! It's like an addiction...
04-09-2010 10:36 PM
I highly recommend this 145 page novella, found in manuscript form after the assassination of its author, Tahar Djaout, on May 26, 1993, by a fundamentalist group in Algeria. It has the flaws of an unfinished novel, but it reads like a voice from beyond of what it must have been like to find oneself increasingly hemmed in and threatened by extremist forces that would recognize zero tolerance. I found this dystopia far more haunting than such familiar texts as Fahrenheit 451 or 1984 or The Handmaid's Tale, perhaps partly knowing its close parallel with the author's own story. One can almost feel and experience vicariously the growing fear, isolation, abandonment, and finally terror.
At times, Djaout is almost poetic. Some of the most poignant passages are descriptions of the condemnation of the bookseller (who acts as perhaps Djaout's personal foil) by his own radicalized daughter followed by his memories of her innocent, mischievous girlhood and of his deep conflicted paternal love for the young adult who now forswears him.
This is a story about intolerance. As Wole Soyinka writes in the forward, "Ultimately, however, we come face to face with one overweening actuality: the proliferation of a mind-set that feeds on a compulsion to destroy other beings who do not share, not even the same beliefs, but specific subcategories of such beliefs.....The arrogant elimination of the Djaouts of our world must nerve us to pursue our own combative doctrine, namely: that peaceful cohabitation on this planet demands that while the upholders of any creed are free to adopt their own existential absolutes, the right of others to do the same is thereby rendered implicit and sacrosant. Thus the creed of inquiry, of knowledge and exchange of ideas, must be upheld as an absolute, as ancient and eternal as any other."
The flap on my library copy (Ruminator Books) reads: "A percentage of the proceeds from this book will go to the American Booksellers Foundation for the Freedom of Expression, 'the bookseller's voice in the fight against censorship.'" Almost an incentive to buy a copy. A greater one is to have a copy to share and pass along to as many who will take the few hours to read this gem.
Video with bits of the beauty of Algeria. There is a BBC documentary (multi-part) on Djaout; the audio is French. Other "nearby" videos deal with the wars in Algeria. It was in exploring an LbW nomination (since selected for June), Children of the New World by Assia Djebar, that I stumbled upon Djaout.
A review. Reader reviews tend to be more positive than professional ones for this book.
04-11-2010 03:07 AM
I feel like a sponge! I've been reading Orson Scott Card, but I just started reading Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen on the side. Of course, all the poetry flying around here I can't help but dig up some of my favorite poems! Even though I feel like a sponge I still have a very small stack of unread books here such as Catch 22, The Jungle, Anna Karenina (which I've also started). Summer is looking to be very good!!!
04-12-2010 03:27 PM
04-17-2010 06:02 PM
I just finished reading Jane Austen's Persuasion; I am currently reading the collected works of Hans Christian Anderson, a collection of short stories by Christian authors called The Storytellers Collection, a book by Robert Whitlow called Life Support, and To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. All are interesting, and all will be greatly enjoyed. I also hope to read soon Magnificent Obsession by Buzz Aldrin, and recently read The Lovely Bones, Always Looking Up (Michael J. Fox) ,The Last Song (Nicholas Sparks), The Shack, and The Autobiography of Santa Claus (not remembering the authors right now). Have a reading list longer than my arm, and since I keep adding new titles all the time, don't anticipate it ever getting any shorter.
04-17-2010 10:36 PM
Great reading list! To Kill a Mockingbird is one of my all time favorites, I think I own three copies and can't help but pick it up and read excerpts from it. My TBR pile is shrinking despite the weekly trips to the bookstore. Hope you enjoy the boards!
04-17-2010 10:45 PM - edited 04-17-2010 10:46 PM
04-18-2010 12:22 AM - edited 04-18-2010 12:22 AM
Am re-reading Siddhartha for a discussion group next week. It has been years since I have been serious about re-reading it, although I think I have pulled it from the shelf from time to time. This time I am wondering if I eventually want to add something else from Hermann Hesse to my TBR pile.
I also have a library copy of Glimpses of World History by Jawaharlal Nehru. It is based on letters he sent to his daughter while he was in jail in the 1930's. Don't know how much of this 970 page tome I'll tackle, but right now each letter is short and a rather delightful read.
Just finished Factory Girls for a discussion that didn't happen. I found it a rather surprising look at factory production within China -- we hear about the high ratio of men to women, but these stories seemed to indicate a dearth of men, at least ones that had potential as desirable for long term relationships. There certainly seemed to be growth in independent lifestyles with an edge of materialism (buying power is still low and workers are frequently deprived of even what they have earned, especially if they disappear to seek better conditions) as young rural women left their homes to work in urban factories. Cell phones were ubiquitous. Also of interest was Leslie Chang's intertwined story of her family as they migrated or were impacted by the revolutionary movements in China over the past century. Ms. Chang has been a Wall Street Journal reporter, and the book does have a journalistic tilt.
04-18-2010 10:05 AM