Saturday, October 31, 2009

When Everything Changed : The Amazing Journey of American Women from 1960 to the Present by Gail Collins

This book was pure awesomeness; I can't remember the last time I enjoyed a nonfiction title as much as I did this one. It is an incredible story, well told, with pitch-perfect anecdotes. Highly, highly recommended.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Amos Fortune: Free Man by Elizabeth Yates

A pre-read for Simon. This was a middling book that, I think, has excellent discussion potential for 10-14 year-olds; as will be obvious from the questions, I think there are some troubling aspects to the attitude toward race presented in this book:

--Amos' experience of slavery is almost idyllic. What is your reaction to that? Is it wrong to present a very positive experience of slavery?

--What might be some of the advantages and disadvantages of the vendue system of caring for the poor?

--Was Violate wrong to bury the money? What do you think about how Amos and Violate solved their disagreement?

--Amos says, "it does a man no good to be free until he learns how to live" to explain his decision not to fight against those who captured him. This implies (or does it?) that he "learned how to live" while a slave. Is this accurate? Would he, as a young man in Africa, have thought that he didn't know how to live when he was a prince and therefore should be enslaved until he figured it out?

--Amos refers to Polly's poverty as a kind of slavery. Do you agree?

--Amos seems completely devoted to freeing women. Why?

--Amos responds humbly and patiently to racist insults. Was this the best policy?

--Would you have disbursed your money in the same way that Amos did?

--This book was written in 1950. In what ways do you think it reflects racial attitudes of that time?

Friday, October 23, 2009

The Making of a Mormon Apostle: The Story of Rudger Clawson by David S. Hoopes

This was very interesting: you just can't beat post-second-manifesto polygamy and mob murder.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Escape by Carolyn Jessop

Interesting, and sad.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Pocahontas and the Strangers by Clyde Robert Bulla

This was a pre-read for Simon. I didn't like it at all. I couldn't tell if the writing was stilted in an effort to keep it simple or because it reflected the author's perception of what a story about Native Americans should read like, but in any case it felt like reading Dick and Jane.

I've had several strike-outs with Simon's books this year. I didn't get very far with Walk the World's Rim or The King's Fifth, either.

Sunday, October 04, 2009

The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

You know, The DaVinci Code was at least entertainingly stupid, but this was just stupidly stupid.

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