I don't think I'll finish another book before tomorrow, and tomorrow will be busy with Halloween so here's the list for this month. Are you dressing up for Halloween? Having a party? Hope you have a good one! :)
Ciao, America! by Beppe Severgnini -- an Italian living in the United States for a year offers his insights to life here; see previous post
Those Crazy Germans!
by Steven Somers -- Ever wondered about the various tents at
Oktoberfest, and what they offered, and how hard they were to get into?
The red light districts near the train stations? How regulated the
prostitution industry is in Germany? The names of German cities? What's
up with all the nude people in parks? The spa life? Bicycling?
Politics? The love of news? The work week? Holiday customs? If so, you
may enjoy this "light-hearted guide to Germany" by a self-proclaimed
Germanophile. The chapters are short, easy-to-read, and informative. I
certainly learned some new things, then again, I really didn't know that
much about Germany since it was never a country I adored.
Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton -- I picked this book up at the library and
read it all in just a couple of hours (and I took a Facebook break or
two during those hours.) I got it mainly because it reminded me of
Andrew's trip to Kenya last year. The Maasai, the Samburu, even South
Horr was mentioned at some point. I enjoyed reading of Lemasolai's
growing-up years, the reason he went to school (the Kenyan government
required one child per family to go and he was selected) and certain
customs among his people (like the circumcision ceremonies - Andrew
The Road from Coorain by Jill Ker Conway -- I found
this book at the book warehouse and enjoyed reading about Jill's life in
the outback of Australia and how they moved to the city and she went to
school and university there. Both parts were quite interesting to me
as she learned to adjust to a new life - she never had a female playmate
until she left the outback. Her thoughts on life fascinated me so I've
already looked to see if any of her other books are available at my
local library. They are! Yay.
My Forbidden Face: Growing Up Under the Taliban: A Young Woman's Story
by Latifa -- a story that takes place in the years preceding 9/11 and
the US-led invasion of Afghanistan. This book reminds me again why the
Taliban and any religious fundamentalists who impose their will on
others are so awful.
The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul
by Wayne A. Meeks -- A book from my wishlist. It was a bit more
technical and deeper than I expected. That's not all bad, just maybe I
would have enjoyed it if the author dumbed it down for me. :) This book
discussed the urban environment of Pauline Christianity, the social
level of Pauline Christians (were they all poor, mostly rich, middle
class?), the formation of the ekklesia, governance, rituals, and
patterns of belief and life.
Even After All This Time: A Story of Love, Revolution, and Leaving Iran by
Afschineh Latifi -- I'm not sure how my library got so many memoirs of
Iranian ladies who grew up in Iran, but it seems I've found a few of
them the last couple of years. And they've been some of my favorite
books! This was no exception as I was moved to tears reading of the
Latifi's father and the struggle of the family after his execution. The
author made everything seem so real, yet she has a marvelous sense of
humor. If you are interested in stories surrounding the Iranian
revolution and families moving abroad, you may enjoy this book as well.
Without exception these families tend to be what I would give as
examples of "secular Muslims."
I enjoyed reading about the Latifi sisters schooling in Vienna
(especially since I was there not eight weeks ago) and Virginia. Also
the author attended law school in nearby Winston-Salem, NC at Wake
Forest. Really interesting book!
Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking
by Susan Cain -- I enjoyed reading about myself in this book. I'd seen
this lady's TED talk so when I saw the book at the library, I grabbed
"Finland is a famously introverted nation. Finnish joke: How
can you tell if a Finn likes you? He's staring at your shoes instead of
his own." (pg. 14)
"America has shifted from ... a Culture of Character to a
Culture of Personality." In the former, "the ideal self was serious,
disciplined, and honorable. What counted was not so much the impression
one made in public as how one behaved in private. The word personality
didn't exist in English until the eighteenth century, and the idea of
'having a good personality' was not widespread until the twentieth.
But when they embraced the Culture of Personality, Americans started
to focus on how others perceived them. They became captivated by people
who were bold and entertaining. 'The social role demanded of all in
the new Culture of Personality was that of a performer,'...'Every
American was to become a performing self.'"
"By 1920, popular self-help guides had changed their focus from
inner virtue to outer charm...'To create a personality is power,'
Culture of Character guides emphasized: "citizenship, duty, work, golden deeds, honor, reputation, morals, manners, integrity"
Culture of Personality guides celebrated qualities: "magnetic,
fascinating, stunning, attractive, glowing, dominant, forceful,
"It was no coincidence that in the 1920s and the 1930s, Americans became obsessed with movie stars."
I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali with Delphine Minoui -- a story about a young Yemeni woman's life and how she fought for a divorce
Walking the Trail: One Man's Journey Along the Cherokee Trail of Tears
by Jerry Ellis -- I found this at the local library; the author
traveled from Oklahoma back home to Alabama all the while talking to
people he met along the trail
Three Weeks with My Brother
by Nicholas and Micah Sparks -- I thought this was going to be more of a
journal of a trip, and it had that of course, but it was so much more.
In between telling of his adventure to Easter Island, the Outback, the
Taj Mahal, Norway and various other places, this book is a memoir of
Nicholas' growing up mostly in California. It was quite interesting to
me, and made me very sad at times. I love the devotion of these brothers
to each other - very inspirational. I loved Micah's sense of devotion
to his family, the way he took care of them in typical older-child
fashion. I admired the optimism of Dana, the youngest member of the
family and the only sister. A really emotional books for me - both awe
and wonder and laughter and disbelief to hurting for them.
And so odd to me, what are the chances that my AAA Carolinas
magazine this month focused on a couple of the places mentioned in this
book? I read both within a day of each other, and the timing was weird.
But I notice that a LOT lately... too much. Is there something in the
air? Hmmm :)