According to wikipedia's page on horrific David Duke, he first wore a nazi uniform in 1970 to protest Kunstler's appearance on campus where he was a s...moreAccording to wikipedia's page on horrific David Duke, he first wore a nazi uniform in 1970 to protest Kunstler's appearance on campus where he was a student in Oklahoma. And, I know I've heard the name before of course. So would be interested to know more. I'll have to keep my eyes out for one of these books on him.(less)
It seems very similar to 'People of the Book', only each segment is less. and the focus is different of course, being on 'art' and art's effect on peo...moreIt seems very similar to 'People of the Book', only each segment is less. and the focus is different of course, being on 'art' and art's effect on people, rather than the characters and their contexts. I liked 'People of the Book' a lot because it gave a distinct flavor of each time and place. I didn't like 'Accordion Crimes' because it didn't. This also so far mostly doesn't. And the characters aren't very compelling to me, there's something a bit gender-y that grates. Which could be a true part, but still, it grates.As it goes back farther in time, I have to work more -- to the extent that the terminology becomes less familiar without any offsetting increase in character/plot interest, anyway. Blah. Might end up liking it a lot though - that potential seems to still be there.
But so far the treatment of these horrible Shoah-related realities has to do with suffering mutely. Just not in to that.
Oh, and then the chapter I'm in now - switches to first person. And no info about where or when we are, just some huge emotional tangle. .. blah.(less)
An excellent story, love that quiet intensity. Atticus taking on this chore of defending a black man on charges of raping a white women, in the South,...moreAn excellent story, love that quiet intensity. Atticus taking on this chore of defending a black man on charges of raping a white women, in the South, in the mid 1930's. He knows what the outcome will be, but feels that if he were to turn it down, or do it less well than he possibly could, he would no longer have any standing with regard to his value system. And he makes sure his kids understand his perspective on the case, and why they're being punished at school by the other kids for his actions, being called 'n_-lover' and all. He understands that this will put the town and the community through a strenuous process, but he has a basic belief in the humanity of his community that sustains him and gives him courage. That belief is shaken by the end of the book, but also validated. I get why this book is so high on everyone's list now, after finally reading it. But, for me, there wasn't the enjoyment I was expecting. I think partly perhaps because it's set in the South, and of all the possible settings for literature, that's among my least comfortable. Especially when it's portrayed positively which, for the most part, was that case with this. But also I didn't like the point of view. I'm just sort of more into grown-ups now that kids, I think because of where I am in my parenthood arc.. after a while, I'll be interested in kids again; but right now with my own leaping into adulthood, that's where my focus is. And the POV is very flavorful in this, you know? Sometimes it's not so big of a deal, can be quite subtle. But in this case I totally felt enmeshed in her life. I've grown more comfortable with non-fiction (in which the pov fits within a certain minimalist range), and also with fiction in which the pov changes throughout the work. In fact, it's to the point where fiction in just one voice is almost always less preferable to me. And I'm wondering, is that ok? Have I become enamored of a gimmick to the point where I'm ruined for 'real' literature? Should I be more self-disciplined? I couldn't help but long to read a chapter here and there from Atticus' point of view, from Jem, from Cal, from Dill, from Boo! Also from the neighbor across the street, or from the purported rape victim herself. Have I crossed beyond some fourth wall of literature, and I should cross back and let go and be satisfied with what the author thinks is best? Or, is it the case that multiple points-of-view in one work are an aspect of literature that marks this period now in a positive way, and a technique that will likely be more in use going forward? Interested in any opinions, discussion.. (less)
Sounds fascinating in terms of learning the history of the major parties to most of today's conflicts. Depending on how military-ish it is, vs. big pi...moreSounds fascinating in terms of learning the history of the major parties to most of today's conflicts. Depending on how military-ish it is, vs. big picture-synthesis etc.. (less)
the pain.. the pain.. I have yet to read this because I've always been afraid that the frothing at the mouth and tearing of the hair that would ensue...morethe pain.. the pain.. I have yet to read this because I've always been afraid that the frothing at the mouth and tearing of the hair that would ensue would upset my offspring and make me temporarily unemployable. Once sufficient time passes (or something), will make a stab at it.(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)
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)
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)