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Monthly "Reads" > Shomeret's June Reads 1/4

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message 1: by Shomeret (new)

Shomeret | 1380 comments There were a number of really good reads in June, though I'm still looking for A rated M/Ts to fill my end of the year list.

1)Night Visionby Randy Wayne White (mystery)351 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/1 Finished: 6/4

Why Read: I've never read this author before, but this particular novel deals with a Guatamalan girl who is considered to be like Joan of Arc. Her immigrant community believes that she has a special relationship to God. I've been interested in Joan of Arc, so my curiosity was piqued.

Comments: I really liked Tula, the Guatamalan 13 year old who has a special pipeline to Joan of Arc. Joan of Arc had her voices. Now in this novel she is a voice for Tula. I also admired Tula because she is tough and principled. On the other hand, I had problems with the way Doc Ford treats women and thinks about them. No, I'm not the thought police and I don't believe in censorship. I just have a preference for male MCs who respect women more than Doc Ford does. Yes, he experienced angst about his bad behavior, but there's nothing praiseworthy about angst if it isn't an impetus to change your behavior. Randy Wayne White definitely has an audience, but I think that I am not going to be part of that audience in the future. I only read this book because of Tula. I'm going to rate this B-. The minus is because I don't particularly like Doc Ford.

2)A Broken Flute: The Native Experience in Books for Children edited by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin (literary criticism) 442 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/4 Finished: 6/5

Why Read: This book was mentioned in a GR group discussion. It criticizes children's books that depict Native Americans negatively or stereotypically. I'm interested in finding out what is considered offensive.

Comments: This is an illuminating book. It not only criticizes books that are offensive and/or inauthentic, but provides examples of books that are useful and authentic. I wonder if there is something similar for books written for adults dealing with Native American characters or themes. I would like to read it.

There were some terms that are regarded as offensive that weren't self-evident to me. In fact, I still don't understand why "chant" is seen as offensive as a description of ceremonial recitations by medicine men. In my religious community chants are considered sacred and the word is not viewed as pejorative at all.

Some of the writers criticized in this book are highly regarded children's authors. One is Jane Yolen, who is a favorite of mine. The Yolen book reviewed in this volume isn't one I've ever read. I think that she was importing the story of Cassandra from Greek myth for her book about a Taino visionary who wasn't believed. In the Greek story, the Trojans aren't blamed for disbelieving Cassandra. It was her destiny to be disbelieved. Apollo cursed her. Yet the review of Yolen's novel about the Taino girl scolds Yolen for blaming the Taino. If Yolen was using Cassandra as her model, she wouldn't have been thinking that the Taino should be blamed. On the other hand, if the reviewer had realized that Yolen had imported a European myth, she would have been criticized for imposing it on a Native society. My favorite books by Yolen are high fantasy with no references to any real society. I'm willing to believe that a piece of historical fiction from the perspective of a Native American might not be her best work. Rating A.

3)Play Dead by John Levitt (urban fantasy) 288 pages. Source: Independent Bookstore Started: 6/6 Finished: 6/8

Why Read: I read and liked the first two books in this series. The protagonist is a musician who lives in San Francisco and he has an unusual magical familiar who only looks like a dog. All of these aspects keep me reading.

Comments: The central problem of this book is a magic worker who is an ecological extremist. This environmental fanatic changed things drastically for the protagonist. Some reviewers have called this a cliffhanger, but others have said that this means the end of the series. I expect that John Levitt isn't selling enough copies of his books. He did leave himself a slight exit from the crash and burn scenario, but I really think he intended to end the series. My guess would be that the small possibility that the series could continue was inserted in case sales picked up. It's too bad. I really like the MC and his relationship with his familiar. Rating B. I would have added a plus if it weren't for the ending.

4)Wolf of Shadowsby Whitley Streiber (children's post-apocalyptic science fiction) 105 pages. Source: Library Started: 6/8 Finished: 6/9

Why Read: Someone mentioned having read this on GR. So I put it on hold. I'm very interested in wolves.

Comments: This is about nuclear winter from the perspective of a wolf. The other MC is a wolf researcher who was observing the pack when nuclear war struck. Her daughter was with her. These two humans survive with the help of the wolf pack. It's quite an amazing story and very sympathetic to wolves. I'd rate this A.

To Be Continued...


message 2: by Ann (new)

Ann (annrumsey) | 14623 comments I was curious to know your opinion of Night Vision, Shomeret! I liked the Tula character too and also like the Doc Ford character. Having read several other books my opinion of his character was formed before this book, so I can't pin a book down, reading out of order played a part too. I understand why you might not seek out other Doc Ford books, he does some things I can't imagine, but I do enjoy them. His different relationships with women, romantic or otherwise, thinking of Ransome, have shown he is respectful of women in my opinion which was forged over several books.
Shomeret wrote: "1)Night Visionby Randy Wayne White (mystery)351 pages...."


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