What to tell you? I spent February in a tailspin of old memories. To blame it on one singular event would be too simplistic. As they say, it’s complicated. Very. In other news I have been running! Successfully, I might add. February saw 40 miles conquered. Here are the books planned and completed:
- Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez (EB & print).
- Little Havana Blues edited by Julia Poey and Virgil Suarez (EB & print).
- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber (EB, AB & print).
- The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley (EB & print).
- All Deliberate Speed: reflections on the first half century of Brown v. Board of Education by Charles J. Ogletree, Jr (EB & print).
- Barrow’s Boys by Fergus Fleming (EB & print).
- Rome and a Villa by Eleanor Clark (EB & print).
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- The 21: a journey into the land of the Coptic martyrs by Martin Mosebach (just started reading).
Leisure (print only):
- Migrations: Open Hearts, Open Borders: The Power of Human Migration and the Way That Walls and Bans Are No Match for Bravery and Hope by ICPBS.
- Pharos Gate by Nick Bantock.
- Morning Star by Nick Bantock.
- The Museum at Purgatory by Nick Bantock.
- Alexandria by Nick Bantock.
- The Gryphon by Nick Bantock.
Ogletree, Charles. All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half Century of Brown v. Board of Education. New York: W.W. Norton & Co., 2004.
Reason read: February is the month to celebrate Civil Rights. Well, we should be proactively doing something all year long…
You could call All Deliberate Speed a history book as it is filled with didactic chapters and faculty could use it as a textbook, but I would argue it is more of a beautifully written memoir. Ogletree shares his personal reflections on the civil rights decision of Brown v. Board of Education, the conundrum of legalized racial inequality, and how the words “all deliberate speed” allowed the end of segregation to become a reality at a snail’s pace. Rest assured, this isn’t an autobiography. Ogletree doesn’t delve too deep into his personal life with the exception of how it relates to the topic at hand and his part in it. Ogletree writes, not as one who did his homework on a singular subject, as one standing outside the topic at hand, but rather as one who actually lived the history and had a tangible part of the action. “Present at the creation,” if you will. Ogletree’s narration is as much from fact as it is from memory.
The tradition of “Black Graduation” at Stanford originated as a protest of which author Ogletree had a part.
As an aside, I always love it when an author rights a wrong. Somehow there was a research error and Professor Jack Balkin was not given credit. Ogletree made a point to mention that.
Author fact: Ogletree has a strong family history connection to Brown v. Board of Education.
Book trivia: The black and white photographs in All Deliberate Speed are great.
Nancy said: Pearl called All Deliberate Speed “excellent.” Agreed.
BookLust Twist: from More Book Lust in the chapter called “Civil Rights and Wrongs” (p 49).
I am consistently running (yay). My head is finally screwed on straight – somewhat (yay). Things are not perfect but I can say February is mostly fixed.
- The Crimson Petal and the White by Michael Faber – in honor of Charles Dickens and his birthday being in February. Weird, I know.
- Anna In-Between by Elizabeth Nunez – in honor of my childhood.
- Little Havana Blues: A Cuban-American Literature Anthology edited by Virgil Suarez and Delia Poey – in honor of Cuba’s reformed constitution.
- The Last Good Kiss by James Crumley – in honor of February being friendship month.
- Rome and a Villa by Eleanor Clark – in honor of Clark’s birthday.
- All Deliberate Speed: Reflections on the First Half Century of Brown v. Board of Education by Charles J. Ogletree, Jr. – in honor of February being Civil Rights month.
- Barrow’s Boys: A stirring Story of Daring, Fortitude, and Outright Lunacy by Fergus Fleming – in honor of Exploration month.
- Making Tracks by Matt Weber – a Christmas gift from my sister.
So, by the end of November I was a blathering mess, wasn’t I? I know I was. Mea culpa. Three xrays, five vials of blood taken, one CT scan, and two therapy sessions later, here are the updates. The protruding ribs are being blamed on chiropractic appointments even though I felt the rib cage move before I started see Dr. Jim. The nerve pain is being controlled by medication. The spot on the lung and possibly tumor…no results as of today. White blood cell count still elevated. Possibility of cancer…still a possibility.
But. But! But, enough of all that. Here are the books: I have a week off at the end of the month so I am anticipating it will be a good reading month. Here are the books planned:
- Any Old Iron by Anthony Burgess (EB) – in memory of the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7th.
- The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Le Guin – in memory of Le Guin passing in 2018.
- Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund – to honor Alabama becoming a state in December.
- The Female Eunuch by Germain Greer – to honor women’s suffrage law.
- Cry of the Kalahari by Mark and Delia Owens (EB) – to honor the wedding anniversary of Mark and Delia.
- Lost Moon by Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger – in honor of the moon landing.
- Stet: an Editor’s Life by Diana Athill (EB) – in honor of Athill being born in December.
- The Subtle Knife by Philip Pullman (AB) – to continue the series His Dark Materials, started in November in honor of National Writing Month.
- The Unicorn Hunt by Dorothy Dunnett (EB) – to continue the series Niccolo House, started in August in honor of Dunnett’s birth month.
Early Review for LibraryThing:
- Squelched by Terry Beard.
If there is time:
- Black Tents of Arabia by Carl Raswan – in honor of Lawrence of Arabia.
- This Blinding Absence of Light by Tahar Ben Jelloun – in honor of Jelloun’s birth month.
Alyokhina, Maria. Riot Days. New York: Metropolitan Books, 2017.
Reason read: This is the August book for the Early Review program for LibraryThing. Riot Days is to be published on September 26th, according to Amazon’s website.
A word of caution before reading this blog or Alyokhina’s Riot Days: we both use strong language. Case in point: Alyokhina uses the see-you-next-Tuesday word not even ten words into Riot Days. Forgive me, but I draw the line at the c-word. No clue why.
Riot Days is sharp, choppy and biting. Words fly off the page like the staccato of machine gun fire. Even the illustrations are crude and unpolished; but all are perfect for the message Alyokhina wants to relay. The facts are such – in February of 2012 members of an all-girl punk band smuggled an electric guitar into an Orthodox church in Moscow to perform a “Punk Prayer” in protest to Putin’s regime. Alyokhina and another member of the band were finally arrested and sentenced to two years in a penal colony. Alyokhina’s side of the story is interspersed with the court proceedings as if to say, “look how reality can get twisted; this is what happens when you have convictions; you get convicted.” This is a quick but extremely worthwhile read. I don’t know how it will look when it is published, but my copy ends abruptly…with her freedom.
As an aside, I had a chance to check out Pussy Riot’s videos on YouTube. All I can say is wow.
Quote I hope stays in the book, “Right after our ‘Punk Prayer’ performance, I took the metro to my son’s kindergarten – it was noon” (p 29).
February was a strange, strange month. On the one hand, my birthday (which was good), yet on the other hand, many different family dramas (not so good). Other oddities include getting robbed, the roof leaking, a mysterious flat tire, and lots of great PT (what’s different?). My list of books for the month included some behemoths – two over 700 pages long. It took me longer than expected to get through my list because I also got an Early Review book from LibraryThing and I decided to read a few “off-list” titles. February was also a month of personal challenges (yay for physical therapy and the return to running for real). I can’t forget to mention that!
- Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution by Diane McWhorter ~ in honor of National Civil Rights month. This was a nice blend of didactic and personal.
- Big Year: a Tale of Man, Nature, and Fowl Obsession by Mark Obmascik ~ in honor of February being a bird feeding month (as apposed to watching). Funny, funny, funny.
- Night Soldiers by Alan Furst ~ in honor of Furst’s birth month. This was really heavy, but I actually got into it.
- Belly of Paris by Emile Zola ~ in honor of Charles Dickens (writing style is similar). Word to the wise – don’t read this when you are hungry. The food descriptions are amazing!
For the Early Review Program with LibraryThing I finally received and read My Korean Deli by Ben Ryder Howe. I’m still waiting for a second Early Review book from LibraryThing.
- Runner’s World The Complete Book of Running: Everything You Need To Run For Weight Loss, Fitness and Competition by Amby Burfoot. I picked this up because someone had given me a gift certificate for B&N and I wanted to get something I would keep for a very long time.
- It Must Be..(a Grand Canyon Trip : Drawings and Thoughts From a Winter’s Trip From Lee’s Ferry to Diamond Creek (December 19, 2010 – January 2, 2011).. by Scott P. Barnes ~ this was such a surreal read for me! I’ve always wanted to see this author’s name in print.
McWhorter, Diane. Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: the Climatic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2001.
There is no doubt Carry Me Home: Birmingham, Alabama: The Climactic Battle of the Civil Rights Revolution is testimony to McWhorter’s nineteen year mission. Her conviction to expose the truth is on every page. What makes Carry Me Home so compelling in the unflinching examination of McWhorter’s own family’s beliefs and involvements in the tumultuous time of civil unrest. Interjecting personal biography give the book a unique drama. The detail with which McWhorter writes allows readers to not just walk in the footsteps of history but experience as if they are walking side by side in real time.
Interesting lines: “One did not need to know what was wrong in order to know something was wrong” (p 27), and “Over the two decades of solitary toil, my driving aim had been to “solve” the church bombing, to bring the murderers if not to justice then at least to truth” (p 589).
I have to point out that a friend didn’t like the title of this book. He felt that the use of the word “climatic” was incorrect. Climatic for the era, maybe, but certainly not climatic for all time.
Book Trivia: Carry Me Home was compared to Parting the Waters by Taylor Branch by author David Herbert Donald, and by writers for the Boston Globe and The Nation. Also, Carry Me Home won a Pulitzer.
BookLust Twist: From More Book Lust in the chapter called “Civil Rights and Wrongs” (p 49).