One of the things I love about my Guam friends and the walks and times at the Tavern together, is that we talk about books. This one sounded like one I would like. It goes back and forth in time, as the main character, in his old age, puts the pieces of his life together, and remembers his first love. It is intertwined with the historical era of WWII and the persecution of Japanese-Americans and their internment. The main character is Chinese and when he was a teenager was made to wear an I am Chinese badge so as not to be mistaken for the "enemy." But he befriends a Japanese girl, and yes, the story is bittersweet.
Both 1984 and this one has had renewed popularity because of the "times" we live in. 1984 because of what seems to be thought control, and this one because of the attempt to control women and their bodies. It strangely doesn't seem so unbelievable when you know that there are those who believe in the "higher good" prevailing over individual rights. That women should not have control of their own bodies is a major source of conflict in today's world. Of course, in this book, babies are treasured, and so the idea of abortion is not even "conceived," in that era of infertility. Yet, it is such an inhumane world, even if they think of themselves as righteous. I cannot help but relate it to anti-abortion activists. Are they as heartless and inhumane as the people in power in this book? Hmmm.
Had to get this book. It is such a cultural phenomenon but I don't think I ever read it. The idea that the forces that be want control of its citizens, that independent thought is forbidden, seems not so unreal. The most telling evidence of this in today's world is how our current president and his cronies disparage the free press and claim that it is "fake news" because they are so critical of him. The scarier part is that there are millions of Americans who support him, some of them my friends. They think we are brainwashed, we think the same of them. Don't know how to resolve this. Just hope that the truth reveals itself.
Trying to read more in 2017. I cancelled my netflix sand put the time I spent on Netflix (1-2 hours a day) into reading instead. I had this book, a Border's sale book, and packed it up to read. I have always liked William Blake and he is like a supporting actor in this story, which is more centered around a family who become his neighbors. My main impression of this book, though there are other aspects, is that William Blake was an artist who had politically leftist leanings. In the climax of the story, royalist zealots had been pressuring everyone in the town to sign a loyalty oath. The father of the family had refused, not for any political reasons, but that he didn't see the point. When the mob came to get Blake, the father instead spoke up to say he refuses, which diverted attention away from Blake. Blake's response to the turmoil of the time (parallel to the French revolution) was to be an artist.
More Than A Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing, (Haymarket Books) a collection of essays and interviews (and a few student poems), is a must-read for anyone concerned about the state of public education in America today. When I received my review copy in the mail, I was working on another project. Because I am retired, I am not as personally affected by education politics as I was when I was working. In many ways and for many reasons, I had left that world behind, so I wasn't compelled to start reading it right away. But it kept staring at me. It kept shouting to me, "Read me!" Finally, I cautiously started, knowing I would find it interesting, but not expecting to be blown away. Once I got started, I was hooked. Here are the reasons why:
I see that I got this at Border's on the Sale table for 5.99. What a steal that was considering I LOVE this book. As I am organizing my library, I came across it, like an old friend, I was glad to see again after a long time. This book is a "year in my life, profusely illustrated, abounding with anguish, confusion, bits of wisdom, musings, meanderings, buckets of joie de vivre and restful sojourns." (cover jacket description).
I don't even remember where and when I got this book, but the title really resonates with me, so I know it is something I would definitely choose. I had always thought that travel should be more than sightseeing. It is hard to do more than that unless you have an intention to.
Well, Birdman got Best Picture. I'm glad I saw this movie. But it's choice as Best Picture says more about the voting members of the Academy than anything else. It is about actors and those enmeshed in this whole world of making a living as an actor, whether in film or theatre. The character's compulsion to do this play comes from a note written on a napkin that Riggin (Keaton/Birdman) got when he was just starting out. This note gave his life meaning, and he seemed to want to milk that meaning at a time when meaning was so elusive. I can imagine that the members of the Academy were moved by it, because it hits close to home, about their notes on napkins, and what gives their lives meaning. Yes, this was a good movie. Michael Keaton was great in it. The percussion score - amazing. But Best Picture of the Year? It's not my note on a napkin. Selma or Boyhood would have been my choices over Birdman.
Reflecting on what I read and consume helps me to secure the gist and relevance of the book, film, or any creative work, into my memory. Sharing my reviews, has potential to turn a self-centered act outward, like book clubs do.