Tuesday, July 16, 2013

The July Bookshelf

We've been reading a bunch around here this summer...

Interview with David Driskell for Recent Work exhibit at York College Art Gallery

"It was common to say, 'No, black people can't do this,' and yet it was happening. It was like a quiet stream flowing, which ended up providing the same kind of fresh water in the ocean that makes the ocean so special. Other rivers come in: all of it being a very important part of replenishing what is there in the sea."

Counterfeit Gods, Timothy Keller

"We learn that through all of life there runs a ground note of cosmic disappointment... No matter what we put our hopes in, in the morning, it is always Leah, never Rachel."

Ender's World: Fresh Perspectives on the SF Classic Ender's Game, ed. Orson Scott Card

This collection of essays provides excellent literary criticism as I prepare to de-brief the 6th grade summer read in the fall. I particularly enjoy that the essays are accessible even to a non-English major. Literary criticism seems to have largely relegated itself to obscurity in its post-modern revisionism. Although I was an avid reader and excellent student of literature in high school, I struggled mightily in the few English classes I took in college. I was just lost.
Well, my students are currently reading Ender's Game and discussing it on a class Wiki. The buzz for the Hollywood treatment being release in November starring Asa Butterfield is growing. Class field trip?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, Sherman Alexie

While trading in crass middle and high school humor, there is something fresh and appealing about the first half of this book. Laura and I both enjoyed it. Maybe part of its appeal is that is presents a modern, non-sentimental look at life on a reservation. The second half of the book, however, falls flat and feels a bit more memoir than novel. Alexie seems to lean too heavily on a few memories in order to bring the book to some sort of satisfying close. The funny dark humor that carries the first half fades.

Guns, Germs, and Steel: The Fates of Human Societies, Jared Diamond

Just starting, but: What about religion? Hasn't that mattered in the "fate of human societies"? Let alone divine providence, just the power of ideas...

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