"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed."

Friday, March 1, 2013

February Books

First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers by Loung Ung  -- sad story about a family torn apart by the Khmer Rouge regime as told by one of the youngest children; this book made me cry as I (kind of, sort of, not really) experienced her hardships through her words and thought of others who have endured such horrible times at the hands of evil people

The Life of Objects by Susanna Moore -- a novel I found at the library; probably attracted to it by the author's name and it was in the new book section; an Irish lady goes to Germany and lives with a family during World War II; interesting to hear of this family and her time in Germany through her eyes

The Silenced Cry by Ana Tortajada -- a Spanish lady and two friends travel to Pakistan to meet Afghan refugees and are able to take a short trip to visit Kabul; each chapter is a day from their travel

Istanbul: Memories and the City by Orhan Pamuk -- a look at Istanbul through the eyes of a secular man who grew up there; he focused quite a bit on the melancholy of the city, its attempts at westernizing and how it appeared through western eyes; some of it was interesting, but I didn't enjoy this as much as I hoped I would (library book)

Beyond the Sky and the Earth: A Journey into Bhutan by Jamie Zeppa -- I really enjoy these types of books.  A Canadian lady decided to teach two years in Bhutan instead of going for her doctorate. So this book tells of her experiences - trying to fit in, meeting people, seeing the place through her eyes. I especially enjoyed her days of teaching the younger children and what they taught her about survival (lighting her stove and cooking for one thing).   Here is an interview with her.

The Gate by Francois Bizot -- A French man tells about his time in Cambodia. The part about his being a prisoner was my favorite.

After the Wall: Germany, the Germans, and the Burdens of History by Marc Fisher -- An American journalist lives in Germany for four years telling about people he interviewed and interesting things in the news. I enjoy cultural books so this was an interesting read for me.  Germany interests me as well since I've been there,my uncle lives there and Samer lives there presently.  I was surprised to learn how traditional western Germany was compared to East Germany as it relates to women and children.  I liked reading some of this to Samer and would love to hear how things have changed in Germany if this same author/journalist lived there now and wrote about it.  Oooh, here is a CSPAN interview with him that I'll have to watch one day.

Prejudice Across America by James Waller -- a professor takes about twenty students to various cities in the country in order to learn more about prejudice against American Indians, blacks, Jewish Americans and so forth. I enjoyed the brief history of each place, its significance in race relations, and feeling as if I were on the trip as I read what they did and how they reflected on what they experienced each day.

One quote from the book that I put on Facebook

"What will not make headlines are the ironic facts that the founder of the original Ku Klux Klan, Nathan Bedford Forrest, is buried in a Memphis park that is now used mostly by blacks; that the Klan members who planned the rally had to ask a black mayor for permission to assemble and a black chief of police for protection; that most of the Klan members who actually participated in the rally came from Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, Ohio, and Maryland; that the Klan only has about five thousand members nationwide and the South no longer stands as its membership stronghold; that the city of Memphis now has more blacks than whites and that, generally, substantial and tangible process has been made in the arena of race relations."  (pg. 159)

Price of Honor: Muslim Women Lift the Veil of Silence on the Islamic World by Jan Goodwin -- although this book is about twenty years old, I enjoyed reading about the author's reflections as she traveled the Islamic world and listened to women in various countries.  She talked to some about polygyny, others about their lives under US sanctions in Iraq, some about their conversions to Islam and other interesting topics.

"The first and last person who suffers under sanctions is always a child. These are not economic sanctions, but sanctions against life."

"Raskia Mansi, heavily pregnant, was asleep in the sweltering afternoon heat next to her six-year-old daughter, Zara, who had been hospitalized with late-stage malnutrition. Raskia awakened as we drew level with the bed. The wife of a factory worker, she was expecting her thirteenth child the following week.  'I didn't want to get pregnant again,' she said, 'but I can't afford or find the birth-control pills I used to take.' She also cannot afford to feed the children she already has. Twenty-five days before, her eighteen-month-old daughter, Marwa, had died in this same hospital from the same problems as Zara has. Her husband...receives a pension of D. 220 a month.

'To buy food, medicines, we have sold everything - my wedding jewelry, our furniture, our heater, our blankets, even our clothes. This is the only dress I have left,' she said pointing to the one she was wearing. What was a typical family meal? I asked her.  'A soup made with water and rice. One of my children was so hungry, she ate a candle,' she said, as her eyes filled with tears.  Raskia is anemic herself, and doctors expect her new baby to have a low birth weight. Six-year-old Zara is expected to die, and doctors believe the new baby also will not survive."  (pg. 257-8)

Better Off: Flipping the Switch on Technology by Eric Brende -- Ten days after marrying Mary, this couple moved to a minimalist community for eighteen months of living with little technology. Through this experiment, they learned the value of physical labor, a sense of community and reliance on neighbors.  Eric concludes that we shouldn't exclude technology, but its role should be supplemental. "Technology serves us, not we technology." 

As Far As You Can Go Without a Passport: The View from the End of the Road by Tom Bodett  -- A cute, short book with "comments and comic pieces by Tom Bodett of National Public Radio's 'All Things Considered.'"  -- mostly little stories reflecting on life from Alaska


Malik said...

How lucky you are to be able to read all these interesting books. I envy you :) My time is mostly involved in reading boring technical papers :)

Thanks for sharing.

Susanne said...

Well, one day maybe you'll have time to read more interesting things. :)