May 31, 2014

Everybody's reading on the weekend! (I hope you sang that like I did)

When I began to read Sherman Alexie's The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian I really had no clue what sort of impact it might have on me (if any). As I said in my previous post, this book has been lauded for its insight into a culture which has been overshadowed and marginalized by "American society". It has been awarded literary honors such as the National Book Award. It has also been atop the banned books list since its release. People have an inherent fear of what is different from themselves. The "otherness" which is so often a theme in young adult literature because that is the time when we as a species notice the differences in one another. It is not something we are born with but it is something that we learn. Arnold Spirit, the main character in this book, is the very definition of "other". He is an outsider in his tribe and he is most definitely an outsider in the white community that he voluntarily joins. However, he does not let this stop him from pursuing his dreams for something more. This is a book fraught with struggle, oppression, depression, and jocularity. There are many dark themes discussed in this book which is why it has been so contentious among parents. Do these parents think that these things do not or could not happen to their own children? Do they truly believe that every child grows up in a home filled with laughter and rainbows? Do they want to shield their children from the ugliness of this world for as long as they possibly can? Yes, I believe that's the issue right there. Alexie does not shy away from the hard topics but he doesn't eradicate the good either. There is a thread of hope running through this book which I think everyone could benefit from. So if you want a book that will have you alternately laughing and crying then this is the one for you.

The next book was recommended to me by my best friend and once you hear the title I'm almost sure that you'll agree it's right up my alley: The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss by James W. Kemp. On the surface this might appear to be a lighthearted takeaway from a beloved children's author but it's actually quite a bit more. This book discusses the illustrations in his stories as reflections of biblical principles. That's as much as the book jacket reveals to me so I'll have to give you more information in my review of it. Oh the anticipation!!

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