Saturday, August 23, 2008

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie, Ellen Forney (Illustrator), Ellen Forney (Illustrator)

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In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author's own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character's art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.

Whoa - after all my recent audio books, I'm two-for-two on PRINT books.

This was an excellent coming-of-age story - I can't top the synopsis above without giving things away - highly recommended!

Star Wars: The Clone Wars by Karen Traviss

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Across the galaxy, the Clone Wars are raging. The Separatists, led by Count Dooku, the onetime Jedi and now secret Sith Lord, continue to press forward, and more and more worlds are either falling, or seceding and joining the cause. Under the leadership of Supreme Chancellor Palpatine, the Republic heroically battles on, championed by its huge army of cloned soldiers and their Jedi generals. ...

Okay, on one hand, it's a cartoon. From a uber-franchise belonging to George Lucas. On the other hand it's by Karen Traviss, the undisputed master and definer of the Clones - and that redeems it. Traviss again and again - with her start with the Republic Commando game-turned-books - has shown she knows how to take the Star Wars canon and turn out good fiction - very nicely done hard sf, really - assuming you accept the constrants of the science fantasy that is Star Wars.

So, if you enjoy the way Traviss handles the GFFA - it's a great book. Heck, it even has me wanting to see the movie.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

This Far by Faith: Stories from the African-American Religious Experience by Juan Williams, Quinton H. Dixie, Lorraine Toussaint (Read by)

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I discovered this audio book because I'd enjoyed Ms. Toussaint's reading of Fortunate Son. Searching for other things she'd read I found this (I was expecting/hoping for more Mosley books), and I'm glad I did. It's a nice way to benefit from the excellent programming PBS provides - find a book that encapsulates the series! Better yet, an AUDIO book (and on tape!)


America's struggle, rise and triumph from slavery to equal rights for all, is a living testament to the power of deep, personal faith for Americans of all colors. The black experience in America is defined by a religious faith and the power it offered to people viewed as powerless, even less than human, until the flame of faith showed them that they were equal members in God's family. That everlasting faith in God and trust in God's justice remains central to all of America's concept of democracy and one nation under God to this day.

A fascinating history - often damning of the Christian "majority." I'll take it as prophetic, and hope it leads to repentance.