Pick-A-Day

October 2019
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Archives

Nine More Books – Books 58 to 66 of 2015

58: Tasi’s Gift: A Tale of Samoa by Tamara Montgomery (Illustrated by Joseph D. Dodd) – This is a children’s book that I picked up while in American Samoa – a very sweet, culturally appropriate children’s book that focuses on the importance of carving. It is beautifully illustrated in ways that reflect Samoan style.

59: The Collapse: The Accidental Opening of the Berlin Wall by Mary Elise Sarotte – This is a nice history of the incidents that led to the fall of the Berlin Wall – and how big of a surprise it was to not just East Germans, but to all the major players involved – Russians, Americans, West Germans, the mayor of West Berlin, and so-on. I suppose this history is innately known to those who grow up in Germany, but much of it was new to me, including talk about the Monday protests in Leipzig.

60: Court by Cat Patrick – A monarchy ruling Wyoming? Really? Yes! At least in this novel that is really, really, strange. It’s squarely a Young Adult novel, so I fell outside of the target, given the romances and focus on high school aged guys. Is this a great YA novel? No – but it is at least entertaining.

61: Giuseppe and Me by Robin Reardon – a GLBT YA story aimed at encouraging safe sex among teen agers – an admirable goal. And I like Robin Reardon’s writings, something that I’ve made clear throughout 2015.

62: The Little Lord of Life and Death by Fedor van Rijn – this is written by a friend, so I’ll refrain from saying anything here. If you’re a fan of Greek mythology, then you might enjoy this story.

63: My Favorite Uncle by Marshall Thronton – a nice YA novel about a comfortably living middle aged gay man who has the “pleasure” of having his gay teenaged nephew move in. The nephew had run away from home because his parents were not keen on their son being gay. Both halves of the household think it would be better if the other half was dating; what ensues is a comedy of mismatches. An enjoyable read.

64: Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie – This is a heavy duty, serious novel addressing racism in America. There are some other aspects, such as living illegally in the UK, but they are secondary to the main story, which examines racism from the perspective of an African living in the USA. It’s a deep story written, in part, in blog format (perhaps a few years too late, since I think blogging is, as an art form, de facto dead), where the main character reflects upon what it was like dating a white man, a black man, and other every day life.

65: Know Not Why by Hannah Johnson — This is a novel with romance tendencies, telling the tale of a 22-year-old closeted (and unaware) gay guy who takes a job in order to get laid – by women. He ends up dating his boss. This is an OK book, neither is it really well written nor is the plot completely thought out.

66: Decoded by Mai Jia – Unit 701 in China is critically important – I’m only half-way through this book and it’s awesome. With some caveats: the first third of the novel develops a genealogy that has not yet, as far as I’ve read, really meant anything. I think the material could all be dropped in favor of a briefer summary of the main character’s history.

Up Next: Fun Home: A Family Tragicomic by Alison Bechdel. Honestly, I probably never would have come across this book, if not for some naïve, and wishing to stay that way, freshmen at Duke University. I bought this book as a direct result of their protest, and will give it a shot as soon as I finish Decoded. Or maybe I’ll even read it at the same time.

Book I Gave Up on: In One Person by John Irving – While it is one thing to refuse to read a novel, it is another thing to try to read a novel and give up. In One Person is a book that I cannot bring myself to read, and I’ve tried twice. I think that I’ve successfully read one John Irving novel, but was not enchanted with it. This is simply a case where I’ve given it the good fight.

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