Must read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-pov...moreMust read this again! After 'To Kill a Mockingbird', and being hemmed in to the one character's point-of-view, I've been very much missing a multi-pov experience. This book was one of my first experiences of it, and one I really enjoyed. Also, the subject, WWII, is very current for me right now as well, and it's been well over 10 years since I read this last, so it will be perfect. Much as re-reading things when I have so many new things waiting to be read heightens my impatience for the rest, in this case I'm sure it will be worth it.
But now I can't find my copy, urgh! This is supposed to be one of the ones that's always right at hand. Not ok.. Then, M&Q, used books - no copy! Urgh! Soon though.. soon....(less)
A fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiment...moreA fascinating thing about this which I hadn't been aware of from my previous exposure to it is that is was one of Steinbecks's format/genre experiments. In this work, Steinbeck created a new genre: the play/novelette. '"The work I am doing now," he wrote to his agents in April 1936, "is neither a novel nor a play but it is a kind of playable novel. Written in novel form but so scened and set that it can be played as it stands. It wouldn't be like other plays since it does not follow the formal acts but uses the chapters for curtains. Descriptions can be used for stage directions... Plays are hard to read so this will make both a novel and play as it stands." Anticipating postmodernists, Steinbeck was to declare wtih greater and greater frequency in the late 1930s and '40s that the novel was dead, whereas theater was "waking up," was fresh and challenging.' And in fact, he sent it to his publishers in late summer of 1936; it was published on February 25, 1937 (for $2 per copy); was a Book-of-the-Month Club selection in March; was performed as written by Theater Union of San Francisco with an opening on May 21, 1937; then performed as a modified version at Music Box Theater in New York opening November 23, 1937; and released as a film in 1939. It was very controversial, banned in Australia in 1940; one of the most frequently banned books by school board over the years. '"The first few pages so nauseated me," wrote the reviewer for 'The Catholic World,' "That I couldn't bear to keep it in my room over night."' "Morbid and degenerate" content was why another showing of it was condemned. And the reason for all the hoo-ha? The truth of it. The hopelessness and loneliness of the group of people Steinbeck gives life to - the landless white male agricultural workers of the 1930's. Also, he used actual dialect which was still new back then. Included in the dialect is racist language in use back then, as his characters would not have been honest without it. Probably some bannings were due simply to the use of the 'n' word, although most programs that use it now include context for that which is a response to it that contains the intended respect while also containing discussion that can be so useful to unlearning racism. Another interesting content item about race is a momentary scene in which a white woman brings to the attention of a black man her ability to get him lynched. It's brutal, and then it's over and the action continues and it fades into unimportance - all of which serves as a reminder of our shared history festering with racism; and how far we as a country have come. (i'm adding that scene to quotes for this book). It's a very quick read for all that, and very enjoyable actually just for the intensity of description. This felt to me like one of those quick-action films, only the super-short scenes are ones you create in your own mind, as written by Steinbeck. Somehow he packs in vivid visual content and well-drawn characters in an almost poetically pithy writing style. Highly recommend.(less)
Very harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommenda...moreVery harsh point of view, but understandable. I had recommended this to a German relative of mine, then I re-read it, and then retracted my recommendation to him because I felt like the German-bashing parts were something that - for him - would offset the utility of it. I mean, we all know now, and those parts feel excessive potentially. At the time it was written though, the mainstream US population had not yet known (is one story, anyway.) Is crucial in-and-of itself, and for Vonnegut's trajectory as a great writer (IMHO).(less)
Wow.. goes from 'eww... way too familiar' to 'I've seen that scene already in the movies' to 'wow, I had no idea' to complete absorption in one paragraph so...moreWow.. goes from 'eww... way too familiar' to 'I've seen that scene already in the movies' to 'wow, I had no idea' to complete absorption in one paragraph sometimes. Glad to find out about this writer!
Multiple layers of powerfully uncomfortable reading. Sometimes slightly less uncomfortable.
After: Wow. I'm looking forward to the next time already, or when I read the next thing of Sherman's. I'll be stronger then, tougher, or more ok in some way and better able to deal with it all. This time through, it bothered me most of the time. I read fast, quickly as I could, and didn't pause at all to let impact's increase. Just kept moving. Like when drinking something I didn't like the taste of, like Ouzo, or beer for that matter. Just drink more. But next time I'll do better. It all is very simply intricate, and of course honestly powerful. Huge, really.(less)
I liked this book, found a lot of what it said interesting. At some points, the author's world views deviated from mine to the extent that the content...moreI liked this book, found a lot of what it said interesting. At some points, the author's world views deviated from mine to the extent that the content was less compelling, but definitely a great read and an author I want to read more of!(less)
I liked this book a lot at first, being told from a woman's perspective and all. But then, about 2/3 of the way in, something about it began to wear o...moreI liked this book a lot at first, being told from a woman's perspective and all. But then, about 2/3 of the way in, something about it began to wear on me. I started to feel like the strenuous parts of the journey weren't necessarily true enough to make it worth it. It's a historical novel, made up to fit in with known details - so it's all up to the writer. I have to look back and see more clearly what it was all, then will add more to this. (less)
Truly wonderful and amazing. I'd loved this as a child, and although mine never was as much a bookworm as me, she also did.
In college I did a paper o...moreTruly wonderful and amazing. I'd loved this as a child, and although mine never was as much a bookworm as me, she also did.
In college I did a paper on it, in my master's-level class on 'Chaos and Complexity'. The reason was that it turns out that all these different sorts of people think it's written solely for and about them: mathematicians, gamers, politicians, musicians, writers, etc.. It's a complex system in that way, and still endlessly fascinates me.(less)
This book is one of those that's a lot of work to get through of course, and I felt throughout like I didn't have an academic-enough background in wha...moreThis book is one of those that's a lot of work to get through of course, and I felt throughout like I didn't have an academic-enough background in whatever subjects were necessary (religion, politics, history, etc..) to have a comfort level. But even uncomfortably, what I read was really interesting. I didn't make it all the way through, but will try again some time. But the transition from Christian-hating Romans to Roman Catholic Church is something I feel like I have a little bit of a handle on now. And so on.(less)
I 'liked' this book in the sense that I know a huge amount of research went in to it, and I appreciate that and am glad I read it. But I disliked inte...moreI 'liked' this book in the sense that I know a huge amount of research went in to it, and I appreciate that and am glad I read it. But I disliked intensely some aspects of this book. In particular, what I find to be troubling is the way the various cultures are portrayed. I have to get my copy back out and will probably add to this then. But generally I have very mixed feelings about this one.(less)
Read this in keeping with my teenager's english class. Fascinating to read, about the lifestyle before intrusion; and then how life changed for these...moreRead this in keeping with my teenager's english class. Fascinating to read, about the lifestyle before intrusion; and then how life changed for these specific people. Interesting specific instance about how missionaries did what they did exactly. Really found it depressing as the missionaries took over, although of course the twins thing was horrible. Every culture has its weaknesses though, the take over of one by another is a negative for me throughout.
Want to re-read now, Chinua Achebe is among those writers mentioned early on by President Obama in his book, 'Dreams From my Father.'(less)
I wrote the current index for this book, which was written by a family member. I actually started the index for it before even taking the indexing cla...moreI wrote the current index for this book, which was written by a family member. I actually started the index for it before even taking the indexing class, which was interesting. Then did it for real a while later. Anyway, this is the primary writing on Primary Nursing, a best-practices concept for critical care (hospital) nursing. It looks at the history of the organization of nursing to create perspective on what is optimal now. It lays out the framework for Primary Nursing, describes the implementation process, and coaches how to overcome roadblocks. An excellent resource for the Nursing Professional!(less)
This is a magnificent work of enormous importance, laying bare the multitudes and layers of errors made by all involved in the last 9 years in Afghanistan in particular, and delivering prescriptions for positive change.
‘If we can better understand what has happened before, what has gone wrong, and what needs to go right, as this book attempts to do, then we can better face up to our collective future.’ p. 404 (final sentence).
Rashid does focus throughout on the ‘what went wrong,’ within each period, within each country, within each layer of strategy. This enormous data set should be extremely useful as we here in the US all hopefully move towards a more nuanced, principled, integrity-rich practice of foreign policy.
The more you already know about Afghanistan and Pakistan and the last decade, the more easily you’ll be able to layer in all of the wealth of information contained here. Myself, I was relatively ignorant, and so felt uncomfortably overwhelmed for some periods. But it eased, and I would strongly encourage everyone to read this book. The writing is lively, engaging, fascinating (even breath-taking in parts) and flows into every nook and cranny related to the subject. So the content is wide-ranging and always rewarding of attention.
Highly recommend to everyone but especially all US citizens as - actively or passively - we played a huge role in the birthing and nurturance of the global threat of terrorism facing us today. And simply detaching is - I don’t believe - a valid option, atleast not until the significant accumulation of damage done from our last several decades of involvement is healed. (less)
This collection of short stories is massive and fascinating; succeeding in its goal (in my opinion) of presenting life at the edge of multiple culture...moreThis collection of short stories is massive and fascinating; succeeding in its goal (in my opinion) of presenting life at the edge of multiple cultures as lived by folks of South Asian ethnicity. First, about the name. The word 'wallah' in South Asia means some or all of the following: vendor of, craftsman of, expert in. It is a very common term there, and carries connotations of abundant supply of all that is good. In the introduction the editor, Shyam Selvadurai, describes his journey and struggle of self-identification as he went from Sri Lanka to Canada (moved at 19). He uses the term diaspora over immigrant to include weight to each person's (sometimes secret) history, and also to include the struggles of each person in reshaping their identity in relation to both their old and new home. Those areas are some of the main essential contents of this collection. While these themes are very specific, the truth of them reaches the universal. For instance, in Anita Desai's 'Winterscape,' the space between people who are in intimate relationships is explored with ringing clarity. Anita clearly creates four characters: a man who moved to the West, the white woman he married, and the man's two mothers who remained in India. And the moment captured is his wife's defining as 'other' the man's two moms, in their reaction to snow. He feels bewildered and somewhat hurt by her reaction. In that is contained so much of the human experience: and thinking about ok/not ok; good/ bad fascinates me. Another universal (and particular) aspect of life included in this collection is religious extremism, which is cut wide open in Zulfikar Ghose's 'The Marble Dome,' which explores Pakistani society and is another of my favorites. In editing this collection, Shyam includes aspects of his own being. One of those aspects is that he is gay which - in many South Asian cultures - continues to be outside the definition of normal. I realized when I was reading some of the stories that I was reacting as myself, a straight-but-not-narrow US resident who's been aware and supporting of lgbtq culture for over 20 years; and that the cultures involved in these diasporas were very different. In those contexts, the sub-set of these stories with lgbtq content are ground-breaking, brave and probably difficult for many in the intended audience. Two in particular are especially poignant. The first, by Shyam Selvadurai himself, is called 'Pigs Can't Fly,' and tells the story of gender definitions being imposed on a person who had been happily living outside the norm to that point. His mother, answering the question of 'Why?' would say: "Because the sky is so high and pigs can't fly, that's why." Seems as valid a support for normalcy as anything I've ever come across! The second, Sandip Roy’s ‘Auld Lang Syne’ has lingered on my mind. It is about the reunion of two men who had been lovers, on the return of one from San Francisco to India. And mentions a third man, a mutual friend of these two, who has committed suicide. It shows the three choices available to people outside their culture's norms: escape away, suicide, stay and pretend and be internally dead. That later choice is in place for millions of course, in every community almost, required by a variety of conditions. Brings 'Angels in America' and 'Brokeback Mountain' to mind, which show that the pain and damage of that choice is not restricted to the individual, but is shared by their spouse and others. Other themes in this ambitious collection include cultural differences related to historical and cultural variations. He discusses in the introduction some of these primary divisions: the first wave of movement in the 1830's, when South Asians were brought in to many British colonies (in particular) to replace slaves; the second movement beginning in the mid-1950's, in which people moved to major metropolitan centers of the West. One fascinating tidbit about British motives in encouraging businesses to import South Asian populations: 'The aim was to get people in as guest workers who, even after they acquired citizenship, would continue to function as "passive citizens" as opposed to "active citizens" who participated and represented the nation-state of Britain." That is fascinating to me, but not referenced, and the stories (those few set in England) don't really get into that sort of political question at all. I'd love to learn more about that. Anyway, additional variances among the writers he describes include relationship to South Asia - some were born elsewhere and have never visited, most travel back intermittently, regularly or frequently. Some are 1st generation, others are 2nd, 3rd, even 4th generation. While this anthology is in English, the language is a huge variability, as native vernacular is used in quite a few stories (mainly those by writers of that earlier migration): and for me that was a big challenge. In a longer work incorporating native voice, one gets used to it. In this collection, each time it's a transition to master, and each vernacular is significantly different. Fascinating, but I hadn't been ready for that. I personally found it challenging as well to determine the setting of each story, the time period, and details like that. Comes with the short-story territory; and I am disadvantaged with not having the background to catch the significance of the information that is given much of the time. What it all adds up to is that this collection of short stories both demands and rewards active reading. Prior to reading each story, there is information available about the writer and their context that is of use to contextualize their work; the content then is rich and varied on all these multiple axis. And be warned: Shyam is apparently among those who believe that Indian Diaspora in inextricably linked with India’s extreme poverty: the last story in the collection - 'Chokra', by Numair Choudhury - is a short, brutal instance of that shocking misery. This would be a great book to include for any number of classes on culture, history, identity, population, work, many different topics. I personally would encourage the reader to take your time and read according to what you are seeking and/or slowly, one at a time. Rushing through would only dilute the essence and dull the fine points of this breathtaking collection.(less)