Just the fact that this book exists means it needs some attention. I didn't finish just because I don't have the time for this...I don't need the deta...moreJust the fact that this book exists means it needs some attention. I didn't finish just because I don't have the time for this...I don't need the details to be outraged by the fact of coerced and forced labor.
How convenient that the general public is so outraged over 'illegal aliens.' This allows for this kind of stuff to happen, hidden in plain sight.
The other day I heard an anecdote of racists in Florida, and I have to wonder if it is just coincidence that today I read in this book of several cases of slave labor in Florida. So much of my world is invisible to me...where my clothes are made, my material goods. Whether WalMart or Target, if things are cheap, I have to wonder, who made these for less than livable wages? Did they receive wages at all?
In the introduction, the author says, "In the United States, most modern slavery involves the coercion of recent or trafficked immigrants. Such cases are incredibly hard to detect, because much of hte time the perpetrators don't rely on chains, guns, or even the use of force. All they require is some form of coercion: threats of beating, deportation, death, or, perhaps most effective, harm to the victim's family back home should he or she eve speak up. These cases occur in out-of-the-way places that are, to quote one activist I met, beyond most Americans' "cognitive map." (less)
I read this for a book group....it is a good book for that kind of group in which people can bring their own experiences of the local history. There's...moreI read this for a book group....it is a good book for that kind of group in which people can bring their own experiences of the local history. There's some talk of the book, and the conversation can meander from there. I really like that it is one person's experience of a particular place and time. It is a true glimpse into recent history. On the other hand, it then lacks some neutral omniscience. For instance, this was about whites growing up in the middle of an Indian reservation, and aside from acknowledgment that the government engineered this stealing of land, there was little written, and thus little awareness, of what life was like for Indians at that time on that reservation.
I was very aware that I would have been very uncomfortable with the hygiene of those poorer times. Impetigo is just not something I want to encourage.(less)
It's worth it to read these stories with other people. There's a lot going on, no matter how short the story. Notice the names that show up from story...moreIt's worth it to read these stories with other people. There's a lot going on, no matter how short the story. Notice the names that show up from story to story. Notice also how the setting is an extension of the minds or personalities of the characters. This helps explain plots.
The language is exquisite and precise. I could read these stories again and find more to understand, but I don't mean to say they're difficult to read. There are many layers.
These are stories of city women out of their element in the country, of women going mad, of sad bittersweet intriguing lives. (less)
The story of Eros and Psyche is timeless for its archetypal truths. Julius Lester tells it in the way of a traditional black storyteller. In some ways this pulls us in closer to the story, in some ways it distracts. I would have liked to see more of his narrator's hints of how Cupid had touched his own life. The intrusion of the story itself into the narration didn't work for me as well.
I enjoyed the narrator's commentary on love and how this story relates to this contemporary life. I recognized the insights of psychological book mentioned above. I appreciated the insight from the male and Cupid's point of view.
I knew I'd like it when I read this:
I'm going to get philosophical for a moment since this is a philosophical novel. In love, and perhaps only in love, are the finite limitations of self dissolved and we merge, not only with the beloved other, but with wonder itself. In love, whether it is love of another, of music, of art, or whatever, we belong to someone or something and are no longer alone.
Exactly. I remember in She that Johnson said not everyone experiences this. Even grandmothers could be 'virginal.' It is a gift to experience this, though overwhelming.
When it does happen, one could use a guide, whether it is someone who has experienced it, or a psychological tome, or this novel. This book would be a good guide to love.(less)
I read selections this time around, as I did years ago.
de Tocqueville toured and studied America not long after the French Revolution. He was hoping t...moreI read selections this time around, as I did years ago.
de Tocqueville toured and studied America not long after the French Revolution. He was hoping to glean ideas for his own country. I think what he found couldn't necessarily apply. He says we had no democratic revolution, because we began democratically. This makes sense, as our Revolution was simply an effort to keep that independent flavor, rather than lose it to our parent country.
Among the many things he observes and analyzes, I was interested in his view of property inheritance and how that affects society. In the aristocratic countries, it traditionally went to the eldest male. Consequently, family formed a larger portion of a person's identity. You stick by family, you depend on family for your welfare, and when you're the head of the family, you have obligations.
Here in America, that was not the law. Instead, land is divided among children. Because the land is divided and lots become smaller, it is easier to sell and move on. There is consequently less ties to the land and to the family. While he did make a point of saying "Anglo-Americans" I thought this analysis could have gone a little further and address the room which people felt they had to move to. That may have been in a section I didn't read.
Many of his observations still hold true today, I believe.
For example: "In the proudest nations of the Old World works were published which faithfully portrayed the vices and absurdities of contemporaries....Moliere criticized the court in plays acted before the courtiers. But the power which dominates in the United States does not understand being mocked like that. The least reproach offends it, and the slightest sting of truth turns it fierce; and one must praise everything, from the turn of its phrases to its most robust virtues."
(Don't mock the president, Mr. Colbert. Wear your flag pin, Mr. Obama.) (less)
see my personal blog, contains spoilers. I appreciated the writing. I appreciated the plot, and could think some more about the two cities. I felt a l...moresee my personal blog, contains spoilers. I appreciated the writing. I appreciated the plot, and could think some more about the two cities. I felt a little distance from the characters...from another time and melodramatic even for me.
I read about 1/3 of the book and still did not get to the prosecution part. Bugliosi is long-winded and full of anger at Bush. He has good reason, but...moreI read about 1/3 of the book and still did not get to the prosecution part. Bugliosi is long-winded and full of anger at Bush. He has good reason, but he didn't say anything new to this peace activist. I wasn't necessarily looking for something new, but I was looking for a rational case. No doubt it's there, but he lost me in the opening argument. I agree with him, George W Bush doesn't really care about his country, but Bugliosi wasn't proving anything by making the case for that. If you want to feel good about your anger towards GWB, then you'll like this book. That wasn't something I wanted to spend my time with.(less)