Laugh and Learn

Everything’s Trash, But it’s Okay by Phoebe Robinson; 2018; $26.00; 324 pages; Plume, New York, NY; 978-0-525-53414-3; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Hollywood; 11/21/18-11/30/18

Why did I read this?  Because I read Ms. Robinson’s first book and laughed a lot, learned a lot and was jolted by some of what I read.

Once again Phoebe Robinson uses her life to teach others about racism, sexism and other isms.  She does it while making  you laugh and think at the same time.  Some of the stuff she tells about makes me angry and wonder how people can be so stupid to believe some of the things they do and do some of the things they do.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  The author has a lot of insights into life, with those insights come some good laughs along with some learning.

 

sounds like now

Long Road to Mercy by David Baldacci; 2018; $29.00; 405 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York, NY; 978-1-5387-6157-1; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Rockwood; 11/19/18-11/21/18

Why did I read this?  Because David Baldacci is a great storyteller and this is the first book in a new series from him.

Atlee Pine is a FBI agent in the middle of nowhere Arizona, but her section of wilderness includes the Grand Canyon National Park.  When a mule is found slaughtered at the Phantom Ranch with the initials JK carved into it’s hide and one guest from the Ranch is missing Atlee begins to investigate, however just as she and her Administrative Assistant are starting to look into the case she is mysteriously called off the case and a couple of Park Service Rangers are reassigned to another Park.  Atlee and Carol, the aforementioned Assistant, decide to investigate off the record.  As they do witnesses are mysteriously kidnapped or killed.  Their investigation takes them across the country and to the bottom of the Grand Canyon before they uncover a conspiracy that threatens to involve the United States in another war.  Along with this case Atlee is also dealing with a childhood trauma.  The author surrounds Atlee Pine with a strong set of supporting characters including Carol and Sam, a former Special Forces soldier turned Park Ranger.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  I think there are always some people in our government who would like the U.S. to be involved in a war so that it would line their pockets.

The bromance continues

Hope Never Dies by Andrew Shaffer;2018; $14.99; 301 pages; Quirk Books, Philadelphia, PA; 978-1-68369-039-9; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Albina; 11/16/18-11/19/18

Why did I read this?  It really appealed to my sense of humor.

Joe Biden’s friend Amtrak Conductor, Finn Donnelly, was found on an Amtrak railroad track.  Biden begins to investigate and starts to find clues to his death.  Barack Obama shows up with his Secret Service detail of one, Steve and begins to assist him.  As they did deeper we find out many levels of the First Bromance.  The story is a fun telling of good friends who have fallen apart for awhile when circumstances change.  As they work together they rekindle their bromance and solve the cast.

8/10

What is with the title of the review?  Many people spoke of the bromance between Barack Obama and Joe Biden.

life intrudes

The Target by David Baldacci; 2014; $28.00; 420 pages; Grand Central Publishing, New York; 978-1-455-2120-3; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Troutdale; 11/13/18-11/16/18

Why did I read this?  Because I really like to read stories by David Baldacci

Targets keep moving and keep changing.  Robie and Reel are tasked with several different tasks throughout the story.  They travel to France, North Korea, Washington D.C. and Nantucket.  They target North Koreans and go to North Korea and freeing prisoners.  Meanwhile North Korea is seeking revenge on the United States by targeting those close to the President of the United States.  Robie and Reel are dealing with enemies both domestic and foreign on several different levels.  They are trying to have some type of a normal life while leading the lives of covert operatives.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Jessica Reel and Will Robie are trying to live semi normal lives when their occupation intrudes.

Damm rumors

The 1910 Slocum Massacre, An Act of Genocide in East Texas by E.R. Bills; 2014; $19.99; 159 pages; The History Press, Charleston, S.C.; 978-1-62619-352-9; checked out from the Nicholson Library, Linfield College through the Interlibrary Loan Program; 11/10/18-11/13/18

Why did I read this?  This book was mentioned in White Fragility  and I was interested in Citizens of the United States who committed acts of genocide against other citizens of the United States.

In Slocum, Texas someone started a rumor that the black people of the town were forming a mob to kill the whites in town.  The whites of the town were the ones who started that rumor and used that pretense to murder many black members of the community.  Several members of law enforcement followed up and were able to arrest many men who took part of the  massacre.  Records of the arrest were burned in a courthouse fire and when the charges were transferred to another county any progress was stopped and the men went on to live out their lives.  Once again the white male patriarchy protected itself at the expense of other members of the community.  Once again people of color are treated as less than human.

10/10

What is with the title of the review? Rumors have been the basis of many things throughout the years and in this case it brought about the death of men of color simply because of the color of the skin and the desire of others to gain more land.

Corner Reading Society nominee 2019

Whiskey When We’re Dry by John Larison; 2018; $26.00; 387 pages; Viking, New York, NY; 978-0-7352-2044-7; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 11/4/18-11/10/18

Why did I read this?  I think I read a good review of the book.

This book had me engaged from the first two lines of the story.  This is the story of a young girl whose mother died in childbirth, whose brother runs away from home to become an outlaw and whose father died in a tragic horseback riding accident.  This is her adventure through the old west in which she encounters corruption, gender stereotyping and more.  It deals with gender roles, siblings, and more.  I can’t do the story justice, but this is one of the best books I have read this year.

What is with the title of the review?  I will be nominating this book to be read by the book group I am part of.

Weight Loss and Fireworks

Elevation by Stephen King; 2018; $19.99; 146 pages; Scribner, New York, NY; 978-1-9821-0231-9; checked out from the Multnomah County Library, Holgate; 11/2/18-11/4/18

Why did I read this?  It is the latest from a great American storyteller, I would like to read most of his works.  Although I still think I will skip Gerald’s Game and Dolores Clairborne.

Scott Carey is looking a little overweight but according to the scale he is losing weight.  No matter what he wears or has in his pockets he weighs the same as he does with nothing on.  He continues to lose weight as he helps some other members of his community become a bigger part of the community.  The real story here is about tolerance, Scott and his weight loss is the framework for that story.  The relationships in the story and well drawn and make for engaging characters.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Weight loss is the hook for the story of tolerance in this book, as for the fireworks you’ll have to read it to find out.

 

 

And now I know

The Bone and Sinew of the Land, America’s Forgotten Black Pioneers & The Struggle For Equality by Anna-Lisa Cox; 2018; $28.00; 280 pages; Public Affairs, New York, NY; 978-1-61039-810-7; Checked out from Multnomah County Library, Gresham; 10/26/18-11/2/18

Why did I read this? I read a good review of it somewhere.

In the early 1800’s many people of African descent moved to the Northwest Territories (Ohio, Indiana, Illinois) and started farms.  At the time they had equal rights with the white settlers and the African men even had the right to vote.  However over the years the whites began to roll back the rights of these people by imposing bonds on the people, taking away the right to vote and imposing segregation.  The book goes beyond the farmers and sets the context of what was going on around them.  Much of the attitudes are being seen again today.  Many of the actions of the people of that day are reflected in the actions of people today.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  I learned a bunch of stuff by reading this.  Stuff I didn’t know.  Now I know.

Find out who your friends are

Hell’s Corner by David Baldacci; 2010; $27.99; 438 pages; Grand Central Publishing , New York, NY; 978-0-446-19552-2; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Library Outreach Services; 10/24/18-10/26/18

Olive Stone (no not the director) is being forgiven of his sins by the President of the United States, with a condition of course.  The British Prime Minister seems to have been the target of a bomb in Lafayette Park.  Stone is assigned an MI-6 agent to track down who is responsible for the attempt.  HOWEVER, it seems there is more at play here than a simple assassination attempt as Stone and his associate are stymied at many turns.  Stone reluctantly accepts the help of his friends in the Camel Club to figure out what is going on.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  Oliver Stone is a man of few friends and he feels protective of them, so he doesn’t want to involve them in his troubles, but then he finds out that is when friends are the most important.

every white person in the United States (at least) should read this

White Fragility, Why It’s So Hard for White People to Talk About Racism by Robin Diangelo, foreword by Michael Eric Dyson; 2018; $15.99; 168 pages; Beacon Press, Boston, MA; 978-0807474-15; checked out from Multnomah County Library, Midland; 10/19/18-10/24/18

Why did I read this?  Because race relations are at an all time low in this country and we need to talk about them.  I sometimes have a hard talking about race from my place of white male privilege and want to continue learning and making things better.

White people many times think of themselves as individuals instead of as members of a large group of people (with an oversize power) and therefore considers themselves innocent of racism.  Also we have set up a system where as people who are committing acts of racism are bad people and those who do not commit bad acts are good.  Many of those who don’t commit blatant acts or verbalize their racism are often just as guilty.  We as whites have gone along with a system that continually is prejudiced against people of color.  I am not saying this well but I think that needs to read this and see how they have been complicit in the racism that exist in this country.

10/10

What is with the title of the review?  I think this is one of the most important books that I have ever read and I believe that all white people should read it.