Monday, February 17, 2014

Books, books, books

Our days like our food have the main ingredients (protein, vegetables, fruit / work, sleep), but what gives us joy is the seasonings and the sweet. In my life, that is time with friends and family, news & politics, and reading and movies. If I were younger, maybe video games would be part of that too, but to me games don't enlarge my mind and heart as books and movies, conversation with friends and family, and thinking about news, policy and politics do.

Lately I've been focusing on books, although son Thomas and I did see the Lego Movie last week, which was excellent. Not just fun, but irreverent and subversive too!

Today I finished A House in the Sky, by Amanda Lindhout and Sara Corbett. Really amazing, absorbing read; it is the story of Lindhout's abduction, imprisonment, rape and torture by Somali teenagers. These days, she heads up a foundation to bring health and education to Somalis women, in honor of the one Somali who tried to help her to safety.

Before that, I read The Family: Three Journeys into the Heart of the Twentieth Century by David Laskin. Whether or not you have Jewish or eastern European roots, this book opens a beautiful and painful look into the twentieth century through the eyes of a Russian/Luthuanian/Belarus/Polish/Jewish family. Laskin found that his wealthy non-religious family in the US was tied closely to cousins whose parents settled in Palestine and helped birth the Jewish state of Israel, and a lost branch who all perished in the Holocaust. Laskin was already a writer before digging into his family history; and this book is the wonderful product.
They gave me so much, these fierce, passionate immigrants -- my life, my freedom and privileges, my education, my identity, my country. The least I can do is give their stories back to them. - from the Introduction, p. 7

Last year I read one as good, called Sugar in the Blood, by Andrea Stuart. Again, when Stuart began her research, she had no idea that the family she would find would change her worldview. This book transformed my understanding of the Caribbean, slavery, and racism, which was deliberately created to support the slave trade.

Last month, I wrote about The Forgetting - Alzheimer's: Portrait of an Epidemic, by David Schenk.

Amazing books. What a way to start the year! Feel free to respond in the comments with games you find which are transformative, and also films, books and other works of art.