The blurb calls this book oddball. I think it is actually an allegory and also a bit of a morality tale, warning us to be careful what we wish for.
These are great short stories. They explore motives in the human heart. That they are about African Americans 80 years ago matters because the stories are a window into history and they are a window into a culture American whites have little access to.
This is solid history and solid literary criticism made into entertainment. It's how small minds and great minds, plus the accidents of history propelled greatness into human consciousness.
If you have any literary curiosity, if you've studied some Shakespeare along the way, if you wonder if Shakespeare wrote Shakespeare and whether that matters, read this book. It's both fun and interesting.
I did not "love" The Hamlet. I was fascinated by it, kind of like being fascinated by a snake. These are mostly not nice people Faulkner writes about. He's not mocking them. He's reporting.
The images are vivid and the language is a treasure. I loved listening to the words. But it is not a comfortable book.
I'm a political animal but I did not know much within the book. Most fascinating to me were the internal discussions in the campaigns, the development of strategy, and then the evaluation of whether the strategy was effective -- or in some cases whether it ever got tried.
If you have any interest in how candidates decide to run and get chosen by their parties, read this book.
This is a spiritual reflection on unlearning in the second half of life what we learned in the first half -- about achieving success, making something of ourselves, accomplishing whatever. Rohr invites us to go deeper, get wiser. It's a simple book in many ways, Easy to understand. Lots of food for thought, though.
What's fun about Childhood's End is what Arthur Clarke gets wrong about the future. What's thought provoking is what he gets right.
I'm not much of a fan of "god out of the machine" stories. But most things are not in our control. No getting around that. It's what the humans make of their situation that's the story.
How fusty old composers overcame life's vicissitudes to produce meaning in sound -- Alex Ross's prose makes his critical ear accessible to me. Walking in the park, listening to his words, I could almost hear the tension of the notes that made the first listeners uneasy.
At first I was sorry Michelle Alexander was relying on statistics and accounts of court judgments to make her case. I was expecting heart-rending personal stories. But her clarity is riveting. She demonstrates, period by period in recent history, case by case in law, how African Americans have come to be imprisoned unjustly and without recourse.
I've begun giving this book to state legislators and following up with discussion about it. Our prisons are overcrowded and The New Jim Crow provides a rationale for reducing felonies, reducing sentences, shielding sentences and expunging them.
The book's heroine is deep in grief. Her colleague is in love with her. I listened to find out what happened to the little girl, but even that plot didn't hold together too well.
Ann Patchett takes us deep into the heroine's psyche, her loves, her failures, her competencies, her human warmth. And Ann Patchett takes Dr. Marina Singh deep into the Amazon jungle to find a colleague, to study a pharmaceutical discovery and to gain peer status with an old, intimidating professor.
It takes time to go deep in the jungle. Patchett is never hurried. She slowly reveals Marina Singh's soul, testing her and illuminating her goodness, even as Patchett illuminates the jungle as a source of the mysteries of life.
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