I am excited that I am getting caught up on my Goodreads reading challenge! I am only a few books away from meeting my goal! I don’t know what I am going to do next year with school ending. Hopefully I will have time to read books! Here is what I read in October!
The Color Purple by Alice Walker – A powerful cultural touchstone of modern American literature, The Color Purple depicts the lives of African American women in early twentieth-century rural Georgia. Separated as girls, sisters Celie and Nettie sustain their loyalty to and hope in each other across time, distance and silence. Through a series of letters spanning twenty years, first from Celie to God, then the sisters to each other despite the unknown, the novel draws readers into its rich and memorable portrayals of Celie, Nettie, Shug Avery and Sofia and their experience. The Color Purple broke the silence around domestic and sexual abuse, narrating the lives of women through their pain and struggle, companionship and growth, resilience and bravery. Deeply compassionate and beautifully imagined, Alice Walker’s epic carries readers on a spirit-affirming journey towards redemption and love.
What I thought: I can’t believe I hadn’t read this one before. So many people recommended it to me years ago. I enjoyed reading this book and the differences in the sisters and how they were written.
History on Horseback by Vicki Watson –
Through their bond with humans, horses shaped our history in ways no machine ever could. You’d think such a significant contribution would be highlighted in history textbooks, however in most, horses are strangely absent.
From the days of the Spanish explorers to modern times, History on Horseback brings history to life from a unique perspective: the back of a horse—or perhaps a horse-drawn vehicle.
What I thought: I thought this was fantastic. We included it in our school year and it worked out great since we did American History. I loved all the stories about horses throughout history.
A Different Mirror by Ronald Takaki – “A Different Mirror” is a dramatic new retelling of our nation’s history, a powerful larger narrative of the many different peoples who together compose the United States of America. In a lively account filled with the stories and voices of people previously left out of the historical canon, Ronald Takaki offers a fresh perspective – a “re-visioning” – of our nation’s past.
What I thought: I thought this was a great book on history as well. It also went well in our school year. A lot of things that people don’t tend to learn in school.
I Used to Know That: Geography by Will Williams – Do you know which countries border Afghanistan? Or the difference between Micronesia and Melanesia? And that 51 member states existed in 1945 at the founding of the UN and 192 exist today? It’s hard to know everything about geography, that amazing science that explains the interaction of diverse physical, biological, and cultural features of the Earth’s surface. However, I Used to Know That: Geography explores both the physical and human aspects of the world in short order. With its entertaining, easy-to-understand language, this little book takes on a broad subject with ease. Inside you’ll find:
The physical world: rivers & coasts, tectonics, climate and weather, global issues
The human world: world population growth, settlements and how they happened, industry and energy, and development
Countries by continent maps, complete with capital cities and population counts
Maps and a “tree” illustration, showing all branches of geography
With its “a-ha!” facts, useful illustrations, and interesting sidebars, I Used to Know That: Geography offers answers to common geography questions and gives you all you need to know to start a provocative conversation at your next party.
What I thought: I enjoyed reading this book, there were some included snippits on the pages that had quick facts.
When the Emperor Was Divine by Julie Otsuka – Julie Otsuka’s commanding debut novel paints a portrait of the Japanese internment camps unlike any we have ever seen. With crystalline intensity and precision, Otsuka uses a single family to evoke the deracination “both physical and emotional” of a generation of Japanese Americans.
In five chapters, each flawlessly executed from a different point of view “the mother receiving the order to evacuate; the daughter on the long train ride to the camp; the son in the desert encampment; the family’s return to their home; and the bitter release of the father after more than four years in captivity” she has created a small tour de force, a novel of unrelenting economy and suppressed emotion.
What I thought: I enjoyed reading this book. It was a little simple the way it was written, but I think that was just the style of the book and it went along with the storyline. I think it really brought the out characters more clearly.
Uprooted by Albert Marrin – Just seventy-five years ago, the American government did something that most would consider unthinkable today: it rounded up over 100,000 of its own citizens based on nothing more than their ancestry and, suspicious of their loyalty, kept them in concentration camps for the better part of four years.
How could this have happened? Uprooted takes a close look at the history of racism in America and carefully follows the treacherous path that led one of our nation’s most beloved presidents to make this decision. Meanwhile, it also illuminates the history of Japan and its own struggles with racism and xenophobia, which led to the bombing of Pearl Harbor, ultimately tying the two countries together.
What I thought: You really don’t read as much about this topic as you do others in this time period. I enjoyed learning more about the things in this book.
Counting Down by Deborah Gold – When Deborah Gold and her husband signed up to foster parent in their rural mountain community, they did not foresee that it would lead to a roller-coaster fifteen years of involvement with a traumatized yet resilient birth family. They fell in love with Michael (a toddler when he came to them), yet they had to reckon with the knowledge that he could leave their lives at any time.
In Counting Down, Gold tells the story of forging a family within a confounding system. We meet social workers, a birth mother with the courage to give her children the childhood she never had herself, and a father parenting from prison. We also encounter members of a remarkable fellowship of Appalachian foster parents—gay, straight, right, left, evangelical, and atheist—united by love, loss, and quality hand-me-downs.
Gold’s memoir is one of the few books to deliver a foster parent’s perspective (and, through Michael’s own poetry and essays, that of a former foster child). In it, she shakes up common assumptions and offers a powerfully frank and hopeful look at an experience often portrayed as bleak.
What I thought: This book made me uncomfortable…it seemed the author was obsessed with this little boy and I find it disturbing. Some of the stories were interesting but I just couldn’t get past the ickiness.
Talking to My Daughter About the Economy by Yanis Varoufakis – Yanis Varoufakis has appeared before heads of nations, assemblies of experts, and countless students around the world. Now, he faces his most important–and difficult–audience yet. Using clear language and vivid examples, Varoufakis offers a series of letters to his young daughter about the economy: how it operates, where it came from, how it benefits some while impoverishing others. Taking bankers and politicians to task, he explains the historical origins of inequality among and within nations, questions the pervasive notion that everything has its price, and shows why economic instability is a chronic risk. Finally, he discusses the inability of market-driven policies to address the rapidly declining health of the planet his daughter’s generation stands to inherit.
Throughout, Varoufakis wears his expertise lightly. He writes as a parent whose aim is to instruct his daughter on the fundamental questions of our age–and through that knowledge, to equip her against the failures and obfuscations of our current system and point the way toward a more democratic alternative.
What I thought: I enjoyed this book, the author wrote like he is writing to his daughter and it made it very easy to understand with many examples.
400 Photographs by Ansel Adams – Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs presents the full spectrum of Adams’ work in a single volume for the first time, offering the largest available compilation from his legendary photographic career. Beautifully produced and presented in an attractive landscape trim, Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs will appeal to a general gift-book audience as well as Adams’ legions of dedicated fans and students.
The photographs are arranged chronologically into five major periods, from his first photographs made in Yosemite and the High Sierra in 1916 to his work in the National Parks in the 1940s up to his last important photographs from the 1960s. An introduction and brief essays on selected images provide information about Adams’ life, document the evolution of his technique, and give voice to his artistic vision.
Few artists of any era can claim to have produced four hundred images of lasting beauty and significance. It is a testament to Adams’ vision and lifetime of hard work that a book of this scale can be compiled. Ansel Adams: 400 Photographs is a must-have for anyone who appreciates photography and the allure of the natural world.
What I thought: Of course I enjoyed looking at a book from a photographer. There were many favorite images, but some I felt meh about. I will definitely keep the book around though!
That finishes the list of what I read in October! Let me know what books you have been loving lately!