Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler

Butler's milieu is so frighteningly close to ours. I've never seen a near-future dystopia that seems so plausible, possible, and imminent.

Submitted by Brook Brayman

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Guaymas Chronicles by David Stuart

This book gave me whole new perspective about life on the streets of Mexico and the courageous people who are trying to make a life for themselves and their families. I will never forget the street children portrayed in this book with such rrealism and compassion for their lives. Makes me want to change the world for these kids.

Submitted by Jenny

Thursday, September 4, 2008

What is the What by Dave Eggers

This brilliantly written novelization of the story of one of the so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan goes back and forth from the present in America to his life in the Sudan.
It is a wrenching story of how much a human being can suffer and how they can survive against all odds.

I came to understand the greatness in humility. I have not stopped thinking about this book even though I read it a few months ago.

It inspired me to give money to the foundation started by the gentleman on whose life the book is based.

Submitted by Candelaria

Monday, July 7, 2008

Altered Carbon by Richard Morgan

I enjoy gritty science fiction and this does it all. Imagine living when your essence is all on a disk sitting in the back of your neck in your spine. Your body gets fatally injured? No problem! If you've got the bucks, you can have an account that allows the appropriate medics to take out your disc (making you a DH, a digitized human)and upload you into another body, hopefully someone's who doesn't want it back.

Extrapolate from this and you get a great mysterty involving privilege (the Methuselas have lots of money--enough to copy their own original body for future uses and live for hundreds of years-imagine what this does to how one thinks about humanity), corruption and identity. I will read it again.

It was, bottomline, a police procedural, sort of, where the protaganist is put in someone else's body without his consent to do some private investigation. Think Philip Marlowe in the year 2500. Love it!

Submitted by cecile

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Love in the time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez

In a simple sentence the book is about life. I have been inspired by this book. It really teaches one about love and the kinds of love that exist. It relates to every kind of love: the blind love, the passionate love, the obsessed love, the passing love, and the lasting love.. The book teaches and i have been learning while being entertained the entire time. (I'm moving on to his other books now)

Submitted by Anahid

Monday, December 3, 2007

Stormbreaker by Anthony Horowitz

This book isn't exactly going to win Mr. Horowitz a Pulitzer Prize or anything. It is the first book in the Alex Rider series about a 14 year old boy who becomes a spy. Nevertheless this book is fun, funny, thrilling, and entertaining. I was getting bored with some of the recent books I had been reading but this book is awesome. if you are just looking for a great read it is really entertaining even for someone who doesnt like too read or doesn't read that often.

Submitted by Evan Christensen

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

The House Of The Spirits by Isabel Allende

Though this is in the category of a fiction novel, it horrifically resembles the realities which occurred in the govenment of Chile durring the mid 1900s. But what is even more disturbing about this story is how well it parallels the reality of government all over the world. Most specifically, I mean the govenment of the United States, which is unfortunately a social and cultural example for the rest of the world. Live The Revolution!

Submitted by Richard W. Hasselberger

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

The Slave Community by John W. Blassingame

Transcript of Video:

The book that got under my skin was the Slave Community by John Blassingame.
And why did it get under my skin, for me it was that it was the first work that I read that spoke from the slave communities’ perspective.

It was published in the early 70s, maybe 1972 and Dr. Blassingame used primary source materials, slave narratives and just really gave the story from the slave perspective as opposed to works that examined the slave community spoke from the slave holders perspective.

There is some debate in the history community about whether or not is it entirely accurate but every single work that has been published has that discussion. Who is to say, but that is the books that got under my skin.

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Transcript of Video:

My name is Susan and the name of the book is Eat, Pray, Love by Gilbert. It is an amazing story of a woman and her journey to find herself, her travels…it speaks to every woman and every woman’s journey.

I loved it.

Monday, October 29, 2007

The Painted House by John Grisham

Transcript of Video:

My name is Leslie Henry and the book that I really enjoyed was The Painted House by John Grisham. I really liked this book. It tells the story of a rural family, they owned farm land. They can never seem to get ahead. As much money as they make, they rent their farm land. They always have to pay their landlord. If they have a good crop the landlord makes them pay a lot of money and if they don’t have a good crop they end up owing the landlord.

I just thought it was a great book because it details the human struggle to g et ahead and how this little boy, Stanley ends up leaving and going to the city because they can’t make a living on the farm.

It takes place during World War 2, so the central character, his older brother has been sent off to war. He is just struggling to understand why his brother is gone and if his brother is ever going to come back. I think that in the end it really shows that that family has to rally around itself and take care of each other. I like the book a lot; I really have remembered reading it. I read it about three years ago and I still remember it.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman

From the moment I read the last word of this book I knew my life had changed. I believe at one point in all of our lives each of us thinks, if only for a second, "I just don't belong here." Neil Gaiman turns the London Underground into a vibrant world of adventure, myth and perhaps somewhere along the lines, reality. There are velvet witches that will guide through the Undergrounds mazes for a price you may not be willing to pay; Black Friars that guard a relic too secret of which to be spoken; bloodthirsty cutthroats so skilled you do not know they are there until you've been slit from gizzard to gullet. His eerie, yet desperately enticing description of what life is like after you "slip through the cracks," has stayed with me throughout the last 8 years. For those of you who are here, and those of you who are here no longer - this book is for you.

Submitted by Dawn MacCarthy

Friday, October 26, 2007

War Against the Panthers by Dr. Huey P. Newton

This book goes deeply into historical facts about how the Government (FBI, COINTELPRO, etc.) spent over 100 million of dollars to destroy student activism/dissent groups during the civil rights movement. A very concise yet mind-boggling read!

Submitted by E.S.P.

The Black Dahlia by James Ellroy

Transcription of Video:

You know I only read half of the book because I feel that the book is really scary. It is really scary because, you know if this really happened in the United States; to kill a lady like that and it is really disturbing. To kill a lady into how many pieces?

I couldn’t image that this was a real story in a country like this one. I think that there are too many psycho people here. There are too many stressors. To be honest in this country there are too many temptations. To (want to) live in luxury because of the advertisements, or the lifestyle. People always copy from the high class people to the lower class. They are like social climbers. They do anything to reach that level.

I don’t like the book anymore, not the author, I think it is too scary to finish that book.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

David Copperfield by Charles Dickens

Transcript of Video:

My father suggested that I read it, this was the first classical novel that I read and I liked it. I read it when I was very young, maybe when I was twelve or thirteen years old. I can’t remember.

I remember when David Copperfield was very young when his father died and his mother remarried. He had a very sad life with his step-father. His step-father sent him away. I forgot a lot.

This was the first time that I got to know a boy from England and about their life. My name is Annie and my book is David Copperfield by Charles Dickens.

Dune by Frank Herbert and Naked Lunch by William S. Burroughs

Transcript of Video:

My name is Jeryd Pojawa and I have chosen two books, one is Frank Herbert’s Dune which is an epic story of humanity and it is an analogy of the imperialism of the middle ages until modern day and it is actually a pretty good analogy for what is going on now.

I read the book first when I was ten and it really blew my socks off because I had never read a book that large in terms of the scope. The fact that this man created the whole universe that had politics and interactions and all kinds of things. Much more than even a Star Wars type of situation because he gets into the interpersonal type of situation the families and the warring families.

There are people fighting for power and all sorts of pathos. There are all sorts of characters good guys and bad guys. It is just this tremendous human drama set in a slightly other world in a slightly other time.

If you think of it as Science Fiction, well yes it is. There have been two films or more done on this particular book. Both major takes have been very interesting and quiet different. But I think the best movie what the one that I made in my head when I was ten when I was reading it because it was the first time that I read anything that grabbed me and made me say “yeah, I want to be a part of that” I want to be writer this is amazing that this guy could write this wonderful story and influence people as he did. Frank Herbert is a brilliant writer and Dune is a major piece.

The other book is a book by William S. Burroughs called Naked Lunch. Naked Lunch is less a novel than an entire group of booklets or novellas, I guess you could say. Burroughs style is very disjointed and in many ways has a quality of magical (?) Now his work, which he was also interested in a homosexual who lived for years with his wife who wound up shooting his wife accidentally under the influence of drugs.

This book was influential to me because, this was around when I was 13 years old or so, I’ve read it several times since. This book showed me that there are other ways to write and other ways to tell a story. I have always been interested in performing and storytelling.

I am an actor and filmmaker now. I think that these two books pushed me in that direction as much as anything else. I learned two ways of telling a story, two valid ways of telling a story. One the epic saga, which I enjoy the historical novels; the Vikings, the Romans the story of the Greek migrations just the wonderful building up of culture or our own cultures in south America the Mayan & the native American cultures how they interacted and all these things came to me from a better understanding of reading Dune.

The understanding of the human id, the human psyche as I understand it came more from the works of Burroughs. Naked Lunch being a good example because it has a series of stories that are very unusual and tell a different kind of story but with a laconic bazaar style and it made me realize that you could tell a story in many ways. You can tell a story of a down and out character as easily as you can tell the story of a hero. In many ways the characters in Burroughs books are very heroic in their own way it is just that they are more human because they are more broken. They are more like ourselves in a lot of ways.

In Dune we identify with Baron Atrides who is this tremendous figure, this King Arthur type figure and in Burroughs books who are junkies and peculiar characters and I think that is the one note that has always kept me interested in both these books and that is what keeps me from coming back to them and read them. I enjoy Burroughs style of writing. He has an odd sense of language but a wonder sense of language. It is a strange almost kind of a Beat poetry. That is what I enjoy about his work

Summing the whole thing up the two books together as polar really talk about the same thing which I find really interesting is the human condition from history into the future. I think that is basically the summary that I would like to leave with. My name is Jeryd Pojaw and my books are Frank Herbert’s Dune and Naked Lunch by William Burroughs.