It took me about three months to finally finish this book. At times I was really hooked, at times it felt like I was reading a text book. All in all,It took me about three months to finally finish this book. At times I was really hooked, at times it felt like I was reading a text book. All in all, it made me more conscious of what I put in my body which is never a bad thing. Also, I like reading about passionate people exploring what they love -- which is what the last third of the book was all about. People who love food, and as a result love life. They know what is important to them and seem to enjoy a heightened sense of reality as a result.
I will probably take with me the portion that discusses the difference between Omega-3 and Omega-6 fatty acids. Omega-6 is a blood clotter, Omega-3 is a blood thinner. Omega-6 is found is corn and its products, Omega-3 is found in grain. When these two fats are balanced in the body, we are healthy, but if we have more of one than the other, then there is an imbalance. Right now, with all the corn fed beef, we are at risk of heart-attack. Which means that salmon is only healthy if it is wild - farmed salmon is fed corn and will increase heart disease the same as beef....more
The term "hauntingly beautiful and poetic" comes to mind. His writing is so lyrical and his voice is so unique that it heightens the horror of the booThe term "hauntingly beautiful and poetic" comes to mind. His writing is so lyrical and his voice is so unique that it heightens the horror of the book's subject matter while at the same time reminding the reader that beauty still exists in the world. The juxtaposition between the beauty and the horror creates a tale of hope, that mankind is not doomed, that we, collectively, can overcome and transcend. If Beah can survive being a child soldier and still create a book like "A Long Way Gone," then there is hope for us all....more
I love Jane Austin so I thought I would love this book. I didn't love this book. And I think one of the reasons that I disliked it so intensely was beI love Jane Austin so I thought I would love this book. I didn't love this book. And I think one of the reasons that I disliked it so intensely was because I will now think of it whenever I go back to my beloved Pride and Prejudice. I found the story trite and the characters self-involved - anther one of those "writers' workshop" books. There was one great concept - the observation that the life a mother wants for her daughter would make an horrible book. Reminded me that adversity and challenges help us reveal the character within and allow us to discover and develop our strengths. ...more
Absolutely wonderful. I actually slowed down as I got close to the end because I didn't want to finish this book. Everything worked, the characters, tAbsolutely wonderful. I actually slowed down as I got close to the end because I didn't want to finish this book. Everything worked, the characters, the story, the writing. ...more
Her first book was so excellent, this one was just strange. She is not a good enough writer to balance the darker sides of a person while still makingHer first book was so excellent, this one was just strange. She is not a good enough writer to balance the darker sides of a person while still making them sympathetic. I didn't respect any of her characters. ...more
I was living in Tennessee when I read this and used the visit the mountains that he wrote about - he really is able to capture the beauty of the mountI was living in Tennessee when I read this and used the visit the mountains that he wrote about - he really is able to capture the beauty of the mountains in his writing....more
It was an interesting read. Sorry, that's a bit of an understatement and the dry tone in my head doesn't really translate. Mandela is a good, clear wrIt was an interesting read. Sorry, that's a bit of an understatement and the dry tone in my head doesn't really translate. Mandela is a good, clear writer, but not creative or inventive. One can see the methodical planning that made him such an effective political leader and innovator, but as the author of a 625 page book, his style is a little stiff. The first half of the book is about his upbringing and path into politics. The problem I was having was that there was no way to tell from his formative years how or why he stood apart. Indeed, I would say that as a literary figure, he does not become a leader until after he has been imprisoned for several years, past when he was considered a leader by members of his organization and constituency. Almost as if he needed to be a leader in the eyes of others before he considered himself to be one or truly acted as one. Maybe it is the reality that one cannot lead until after there are people who will follow that lead. I am interested in how he became such a leader in the eyes of the people. What is it about someone that turns them from an ordinary person to a freedom fighter or revolutionary to a true leader, born up by the masses.
I was also comparing the regime of South Africa to those in South America. The ANC and other groups in South Africa had certain advantages which made their form of protest -- the slow-downs, the rallies -- successful and possible, and ironically, the advantages stemmed from the control exercised by the colonial rulers and the legacy of British Imperialism. Mandela could, at times, invoke certain rules of law, and demand that the protesters were treated fairly under the laws. Whatever the laws at the time were (except the very last years where it seems the government learned that if they wanted to get serious about suppressing the people, they could not be hampered by the rule of law), the government would obey them. In contrast, in the South American dictatorships, headed not by imperial forces, there was no rule of law. People simply disappeared. The revolutionaries could not appeal to the court system for justice because the government did not have laws that even nominally protected dissenting voices. One thing Mandela said over and over again was the oppressing party dictated the terms of the struggle. Those who were challenging the government's policies had to respond in the manner in which they were treated. In India, the government allowed protest and dissent, which in turn meant that Ghandi could demonstrate by walking though the country and preaching nonviolence as a means of rejecting colonial rule. In contrast, in South America, a protester could not more begin to speak against the government before being shot, imprisoned or tortured, with no chance of appealing to a higher power for protection. Maybe that is why there were more rebels in countries trying to overturn the dictatorships than there were revolutionaries in the Western understanding of the term.
At the end of the book, when the power was really going to shift and Mandela, in his 80s, was elected president, I actually became more agitated. At what price was his freedom? And what would the people who fought so hard, who died, paying the ultimate price, think? Those who died, would they think their sacrifices worth while, especially because in the end it was through peaceful negotiation and compromise. With the transition away from apartheid being so moderate and their sacrifice being so extreme. Maybe it was the disconnect that struck me so forcefully, that Mandela himself never talks about being tortured or injured in the struggle. Throughout he remains the great statesmen who is untouched by the violence. Those who were tortured, hanged, beaten, or shot, by contrast seem like a corollary, unrelated to the final pressures that forced the government's position to the negotiation table....more