Blurred Title

The Good Women of China, Hidden Voices by Xinran, translated by Esther Tyldesley; 2002; $13.00; 243 pages; Anchor Books, New York, NY; Memoir; 1-4000-3080-3; purchased from, selection of International Reading Society; 7/21/14-7/24/14

Xinran was a radio programme presenter in the mid 90′s in China who had a program that allowed the women of China to call in and leave messages telling  their stories.  Xinran would then go and interview some of the women or she would be presented with the opportunity to interview someone through her superiors at the station.  The stories that these women are terrifying in all that they have gone through over the past 50 years.  Many of the images that we see of China are manufactured and are of a small slice of society.  Many of the people in China are still decades if not centuries behind the rest of the world.

Did I like it?  I was terrified at these stories and the repression and cruelty that these women were subjected is heartbreaking.  It was an insightful look at a culture that is largely hidden from view.


What is with the title of the review?  At one point in the book Xinran speaks of a Chinese proverb about a blurred title, reading this book will cause the words to become blurred through the tears in your eyes.

Watch what you say

The Man Without a Country by Edward Everett Hale; 1945; $9.41; 127 pages; Albert Whitman & Company, Chicago, IL; fiction; purchased on ebay for $9.41; 7/20/14-7/21/14

I have read this book many times and it always resonates with me, sometimes in different ways.  As I read it this time I was reminded of the Mark Twain quote, “ Patriotism is supporting your country all the time, and your government when it deserves it.”  Lt. Philip Nolan is accused of treason and at his trial he says Damm the United States, I wish I may never hear of it again.  The trial court fulfilled his wish and sentenced him to be held on board ship never to see the United States again and issued orders that no one was to mention the United States to Mr. Nolan during the rest of his life.  When he died it was found that he had created a shrine to the United States in his stateroom and confessed to one of the ships officer that he wished he had never made that statement.  This is a story of love of country and how one rash statement can damm you for life, it is also a conviction of bureaucracy, as Nolans’ records are lost and so responsibility for what happens to him is passed from hand to hand.

Did I like it?  Yes, it is always a good reminder to watch what you stay and of how much love of country I have.  I definitely concur with Mark Twain in his definition of  patriotism.


What is with the title of the review?  No matter what the situation we should always watch what we say as many things we say can have repercussions.


The baby is 14 next month

It Could Happen to You, Diary of A Pregnancy and Beyond by Martha Brockenbrough; 2002; $12.95; 272 pages; Andrews McMeel Publishing, Kansas City, MI; Memoir; 0-7407-2685-4; checked out from St. Charles Public Library, St. Charles, IL. through the Multnomah County Library InterLibrary Loan Program;7/18/14-7/20/14

Martha Brockenbrough, founder of SPOGG* wrote a funny and insightful account of her first pregnancy.  It look me back to when Ruth Ann was pregnant with the boys and made me laugh and also brought some tears as I remembered those days.  Marthas’ husband, Adam, even contributed a few chapters explaining different ways to hold a baby and most memorably the differences in the way men and women dress their child.  Martha has a wonderful way with words and uses them well to convey a thought or feeling.  I am looking forward to her next book.

Did I like it?  Yes, I am going to buy several copies to give away to newly married friends.


What is with the title of the review?  Martha wrote this when she was pregnant with her daughter who will turn 14 next month.

*SPOGG-Society for the Preservation of Good Grammar

When I Am Gone

Every Thing On It, poems and drawings by Shel Silverstein; 2011; $19.99; 195 pages; Harper, New York, NY; 978-0-06-199816-4; purchased from Multnomah County Library Title Wave Used Bookstore; 7/18/14-7/18/14

A very funny book of more Shel Silverstein poems and drawing.  Something for everyone.

Did I like it?  Yes,  I am looking forward to reading some of these to Nola the next time she is here.


What is with the title of the review? The latest book from Shel Silverstein concludes with the poem When I Am Gone.

When I am gone what will you do?

Who will write and draw for you?

Someone smarter-someone new?

Someone better-maybe YOU!

Remember but realize how things have changed

hurt, inside the world today’s TEENAGERS by Chap Clark; 2004; $16.99; 236 pages; Baker Academic, Grand Rapids, MI; 0-8010-2732-2; purchased at event in Portland, OR that Chap spoke at 10 years ago;7/14/14-7/18/14

Chap Clark spent some time teaching and talking to high school students for a year to find out what the biggest issue facing those students.  The biggest issue facing them was abandonment, not actual physical abandonment but our mistaking busyness for togetherness.  We fill our kids time with activities and mistake our driving them places and watching their activities as quality time together.  This was true 10 years when Chap wrote the book and I think that is even more true, as I watch people talk on their phones or listen to their music with ear buds firmly inserted while their child tries to get their attention.

Did I like it?  Yes, even though it was very convicting and made me question my parenting when the boys were younger and how I can apologize for some of what I did.


What is with the title of the review?  I remember that my adolescent years were somewhat confusing and I realize that times have changed.  Sometimes when I hear adults talk I wonder if A. they remember what adolescences was like and B. if they realize how much things have changed.


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