Growing up, James McBride knew nothing of his mother's past. His father was black & his mother was white, but she left her previous life behind heGrowing up, James McBride knew nothing of his mother's past. His father was black & his mother was white, but she left her previous life behind her and refused to discuss it. Finally as an adult, he convince her (Ruth McBride) to tell her story, and share it in this memoir. She grew up the daughter of a Polish rabbi in Suffolk, Virginia, and fled to the North with her African-American lover. She married twice (both husbands died) and raised mostly by herself 12 children, defying the grim odds of poverty. I thought the Color of Water was quite well-written. The chapters alternate between James' recollections of his childhood, and his mother's narrative. She is (or was?) a strong, determined woman, and a stern but loving mother. I found it interesting, for one because in my generation, interracial relationships & families are seen as no big deal for the most part. But Ruth faced stares of puzzlement and hostility as she led around her children around New York City. ...more
In Beyond Ramps, Marta Russell gives an excellent critique of disability policy & cultural attitudes in the American political & economic systIn Beyond Ramps, Marta Russell gives an excellent critique of disability policy & cultural attitudes in the American political & economic system. She shows how inadequate the Americans with Disabilities Act is in broadening opportunities and inclusion of people with disabilities in mainstream society. There is not enough of a push for businesses to hire people with disabilities, and there was too much compromise on not putting an "undue burden" on businesses to make their buildings accessible.
She also covers issues of bio-ethics, the history and current practices of eugenics & euthanasia. She gives some terrible examples of people who were put to death against their will, by people who thought they knew best. Though I do have to disagree with her on the Terry Schiavo case- doctors were almost all agreed that she was beyond help, not conscious at all, and really just artificially being kept alive. Really, it's a big example of why we all need to write living wills. There is a lot more awareness & encouragement of writing living wills by health care professionals now. Russell also challenges us- what is the "perfect baby" anyway? Where do we draw the line as far as parents choosing what traits their unborn children have? Are we loosing important parts of the human condition or playing God by aborting these embryos or screening out "bad" genes? How much is the pro-choice movement quietly supporting selective abortion as a parent's choice? (Though she does overall support a women's right to choose) Lots of disturbing things to consider, both on an individual and societal level.
Keep in mind, however that this book is now 14 years old- Clinton was president at the time, and so the statistics and policies are now quite different. I don't have all the information as to *how* they differ, but one thing I can say is that the tides have turned a lot regarding nursing homes vs. Personal Care Attendants. During the 2000's it became realized that PCAs were cheaper, and better for the people involved, and so there has been a strong shift in that direction, though funding for them is often not enough. I also thought she was too harshly critical of nonprofits. I think non-profits and charities can be a good *supplement* to government aid, but they definitely cannot replace them, and I agree we can't just depend on people to donate to them.
I learned a lot from this book, and it often challenged my views, and deepened my understanding of disability rights issues. I hope it will for you too! I will re-post this review on my blog- http://www.mariahmuse.blogspot.com and you can read more of my thoughts & opinions on disability issues there. ...more
I find it amusing how there are now so many really specific niches of mystery novels- mysteries for dog lovers, knitters, park rangers and yes now teaI find it amusing how there are now so many really specific niches of mystery novels- mysteries for dog lovers, knitters, park rangers and yes now tea lovers. Theodosia Browning runs the Indigo Tea Shop in a peaceful, historic district of Charleston, NC. But on the night of the Lamplighter Tour, a annual event showcasing the stately homes of the area, a ruthless* real estate developer is found dead, with a cup of tea from her shop in is hand. When the police detective casts suspicion on her and her employees, she decides to take matters into her own hands and investigate. This proves difficult, as the developer is disliked by many in the community.
I would definitely say this is more of a book for tea-lovers who like mysteries, rather than mystery lovers who casually like tea. That said, the story drew me in, Theodosia was a unique and appealing heroine and the descriptions of the characters and the historic city of Charleston also added interest. This is a nice, light read, and while a murder mystery, it is still not gruesome or that creepy. So you can give it to your grandma the tea maven :)
This isn't the kind of book I normally read, but I thought I'd give it a try, as I was curious about Amish culture. The story is about Katie Lapp, a yoThis isn't the kind of book I normally read, but I thought I'd give it a try, as I was curious about Amish culture. The story is about Katie Lapp, a young Amish woman who sometimes struggles will the strict lifestyle of her community. She enjoys playing the guitar given to her by her dead beau, and creating songs. These are both forbidden, as the Amish require simple a cappella singing (without parts) only their traditional hymns. One day she finds a satin baby dress in the attic embroidered with the name "Katherine Mayfield" and wonders such a fancy thing could've come from. When she asks her mother she nervously dismisses it. Throughout the book Katie continues to be preoccupied with the significance of the dress as she prepares for her upcoming wedding to an older, widowed bishop.
After discovering the truth about herself, she makes some radical decisions that I thought were well, unnecessary, rash? Not sure what to say. The story drew me in, in spite of having a rather soap-operish, melodramatic tone to it (Oh, how can I resist temptation? Whatever shall I do? etc) and the plot move pretty slowly. But I guess that kinda goes with the Amish theme doesn't it? I agree with other reviewers that its rather predictable, but I was curious about how things would happen. I also thought the author wove in a lot of details of everyday Amish life without it being too distracting from the plot. Beverly Lewis is from Lancaster, PA herself so she is familiar with the Amish, in addition to doing thorough research. The story continues in 2 more sequels. I am not sure if I will read them.
Sacred Cauldron is an excellent primer on Celtic Reconstructionist religion. (Regardless of whether the CR community thinks) Tadhg MacCrossan calls hiSacred Cauldron is an excellent primer on Celtic Reconstructionist religion. (Regardless of whether the CR community thinks) Tadhg MacCrossan calls his tradition "Druidactos" focusing on Gaulish culture. There isn't much information on Gaulish polytheism, however so most of the book is based on Irish and Welsh mythology, history and folklore. I can tell it is very well researched, using many reputable sources I am familiar with such as "Celtic Heritage: Ancient Tradition in Ireland & Wales" by the Rees brothers and "Gods of the Celts" by Miranda Green. On the down side- There were some assertions in the "Gods and Their Tales" chapter that I found questionable- so be a little careful with that. I thought his ritual set up (nemeton or grove) was overly complex- I think it is based on Vedic (Indian) ritual. He includes several useful appendices terms for ritual gear and other words in various languages including Proto-Indo-European. In general he is very big on comparing IE mythologies, but I think he tends to emphasize similarities over differences a little too much. We certainly can get many good ideas from other IE (and some non-IE) cultures, but we need to stay true to the Celtic spirit. Overall though, this is a well put together and very useful book for Celtic Pagans. I wish it would go back in print!
Though I have to say the marketing on the back is annoying "Secrets of the Druids Revealed!" That's typical Llewellyn, probably not the author's choice....more
Went to Miryam Kabokov's book reading at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center on June 10th, 2010. Looks to be a rare glimpse in an insular culture ofWent to Miryam Kabokov's book reading at the St. Paul Jewish Community Center on June 10th, 2010. Looks to be a rare glimpse in an insular culture of lesbian, bisexual and genderqueer experiences. ...more