Monday, April 30, 2012

Revealed Lives

Half-Blood BluesHalf-Blood Blues by Esi Edugyan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This novel is tightly written and strings the reader along as the author reveals, not just an aspect of history not well known, the painful past of the characters and how some of them seek resolution in their old age.  This is  Esi Edugyan's second novel and it was a finalist for the 2011 Man Booker Prize, a well-deserved honour.  Check out her website. 

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

A Lost Opportunity

Epistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona SimaiteEpistolophilia: Writing the Life of Ona Simaite by Julija Sukys

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This book had so many possibilities for greater success! The letters and diaries of Ona Simaite reminded me of Victor Klemperer's "I Will Bear Witness" diaries: the difficulties of daily life, the minutia, the ordinary, let alone the extraordinary, these are invaluable lessons. I felt the author, Julija Sukys, couldn't decide how to deal with so much material and began to take the work too personally, projecting too much of her own needs/thoughts/ideas to make it about Simaite. There were also numerous dating/time passage errors and grammatical errors that ought to have been caught by a good editor.

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Grace in the midst of evil

Between Shades of GrayBetween Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

When the world claims to not know, we are all complicit.  This book is not just a testament to the power of survival and grace, it is a demonstration that when humans are trapped in evil it takes courage for someone to stand up and say no.  Read this book and contemplate the evils of the 20th century and the current evils we are abetting by not standing up and saying no.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Censorship in Africa: the Chinese Influence

Thanks to Mohamed Keita, the Africa advocacy coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists, for his opinion piece in today's New York Times.  The title of his commentary is "Africa's Press Problem".   This press "problem" is one is related to other "problems" I have commented on in previous posts and concerns...China.  Yes, not only is China bribing its way into Africa's vast resources, promising jobs, growth, development in the African nations it is exploiting, but now it is engaging in the censorship of the press corps of Africa's nations.  So, while China complains of interference by foreigners in its affairs regarding Human Rights and other Universal Rights, claiming that Chinese history and culture exempt it from scrutiny and judgement by the rest of the world, it not only interferes in politics and economies of  Africa, but also in those very same rights it claims is hands off to the rest of the world.  Talk about double speak and duplicity.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


                                                                 Bamboo rustles
                                                          The soughing eucalyptus
                                                                Thoughts of Ariel