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.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Color of Water by James McBride

My favorite book having to do with SKIN is The Color of Water by James McBride, writer and jazz musician, whose mother, in 1975, emptied her pockets of all her nickels, dimes, and quarters so that he would have "lunch money" on the Greyhound-bus ride from the East Coast to his freshman year at Oberlin College, where I was also a student at the time. The Color of Water is the only book that has ever made me cry.

"As a boy in Brooklyn's Red Hook projects, James McBride knew his mother was different. But when he asked about it, she'd simply say, 'I'm light-skinned.' Later he wondered if he was different, too, and asked his mother if he was black or white. 'You are a human being,' she snapped. 'Educate yourself or you'll be a nobody!' And when James asked what color God was, she said, 'God is the color of water.' As an adult, McBride finally persuaded his mother to tell her story--the story of a rabbi's daughter, born in Poland and raised in the South, who fled to Harlem, married a black man, founded a Baptist church, and put twelve children through college. The Color of Water is James McBride's tribute to his remarkable, eccentric, determined mother --and an eloquent exploration of what family really means." (From the back cover)

I'm dead.

You want to talk about my family and here I been dead to them for fifty years. Leave me alone. Don't bother me. They want no parts of me and me I don't want no parts of them. Hurry up and get this interview over with. I want to watch Dallas...

My family mourned me when I married your father. They said kaddish and sat shiva. That's how Orthodox Jews mourn their dead. They say prayers, turn their mirrors down, sit on boxes for seven days, and cover their heads. It's a real workout, which is maybe why I'm not a Jew now. There were too many rules to follow, too many forbiddens, and 'you can'ts' and 'you mustn'ts' but does anyone say they love you? Not in my family we didn't. We didn't talk that way. (From Chapter 1)

Submitted by Prof. Diana Savas, ESL & English

Monday, October 22, 2007

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hossenini

Transcript of Video:

Hi, my name is Paula Hanson and I loved the book The Kite Runner. It was very emotional for me. Just learning that the boys that thought that the other one was a servant only to find out he was his brother and to try and say his brother’s son, it was very emotional at the end. (I) was really happy at the end to find out also that he took over for his brother’s son and that he was the one that was chasing the kite at the end.

Anyway, it was really a good book, very emotional, very entertaining. It kept you interested. Couldn’t wait to hear what was going to happen.

Tapping The Source by Kem Nunn

Transcript of Video:

My name is John Hanson, I’m talking about a book called Tapping the Source; which basically reminds me of back in the Sixties when I use to go to Huntington Beach. That is why the book has always fascinated me because the descriptions are just like the Huntington Beach I remember in the Sixties in the early surfing around the coast in that era.

And if anybody has been to Huntington Beach recently they can see how much it has changed. It is nowhere near what it was at that time Tapping the Source was written. I recommend the book to anyone that wants to get a feel for what the old California surfing era was like. The descriptions of the streets and the area were perfect.

Sunday, October 21, 2007



Submitted by NOAH RIOS

Friday, October 19, 2007

The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner

Transcript of Video:

My name is Diane McGee, I live in Pasadena. I am not a regular reader so I am going way back to remember a book that had an impact on me. It was in college and the author is William Faulkner’s “The Sound and the Fury”

It had…I still remember the feeling that it gave me about the south. I love to visit the south and in fact lived there for a while. So I just remembered the strength of his characters; many of the characters ability to endure and go on in the hardest of circumstances. And that stayed with me, really, all of my life.

I think that is one reason that I love the south. I and my parents lived in New Orleans for awhile so I experienced it and really felt more for New Orleans partly because of what I read. Unfortunately I am not a regular reader anymore.

Life And Fate by Vasily Grossman

Transcription of Video:

Hi, My name is Keith Boseman, You can see I am an Ohio Buckeye fan. The book that really moved me was “Life in Fate” by Vasily Grossman, the great Russian novelist. I just read it two months ago. It is about 800 pages long and it is just devastating. He takes you through what life was like during World War Two in the Soviet Union among ordinary people. They are oppressed by both the fascists and the Marxist state. They are just trying to survive. It centers around the battle of Stalingrad.

That is not the half, he takes you through these wonderful vignettes where occasionally you will see real life people like Hitler and Stalin and they will have little entries and how they will affect an ordinary person lives under totalitarianism, the person that is actually fighting the war and how the human spirit is just resilient and somehow survives under oppression.

It is the greatest novel I’ve read since Orwell. He’s been called now the best writer in the 20th century in Russia, even more so than Solzhenitsyn. This guy, Grossman was a very famous war correspondent for the Red Army. After the war was over he saw the evils of Marxism he wrote this great novel. He gave it to Khrushchev in 1960 thinking that Khrushchev, who had turned anti-Stalin, would publish it. Khrushchev said ‘No, the book is too honest. Too terrifying’. He actually has a scene in there where he walks inside of an oven and takes you through the last moments of his family in the oven as the Germans are putting the gas in. Terrifying book.

The book is also resilient. Life goes on and triumphs. It outlives Stalin and it outlives Hitler. The book never got published in Russia. It was smuggled out by Sakharov, the great physicist. It is now just seeing its day in English. It is on the New York Review of Books in Print. Amazon has it; it is being praised all over the world. It is finally in English and the imprint was so hot when it came off the presses there was a misprint of 80 pages, upside down. That is the printing that just came out. Don’t be deterred by that. The book is a masterpiece. It is called “Life and Fate” by Vasily Grossman. It makes you re-think your purpose on Earth. It makes you rethink who you are. It gives you hope, vision and insight. It does what a book should do, change your world.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

RE: Search Modern Primatives

Transcript of Video

My name is Jane Pojawa and my book is Modern Primitives. It is a strange little book, it came out in 1989 and it kind of turn me on to the photojournalism and documentary style of reporting.

On the surface it is about tattoos, piercing and scarification and it is an exploration of the modern primitives movement which has since come up and gradually gone away, it came out of the 80s punk movement kinda of way of hippies.

In the book you got, for instance, you have explorations of the sort of material general covered by publications like National Geographic or ethnology. You also have interviews with people where it is basically talking about lifestyle in their own words. I found that very interesting that a subculture that could be considered very, very out there, that it could be presented in an intelligent and touching kind of way.

It has interviews with some of the old guard tattoo artists, some of the newer people coming up, people that were exploring the possibility of an SM lifestyle. Other people that were trying to find ways to meld technology and also a primitive aesthetic if you will people that preferred the simplicity aesthetic of so called primitive cultures and in some ways maybe even more advanced than our own in some aspects.

So anyway it was a very thought provoking book. I wouldn’t say that I agreed with all of it or anything like that but it got under my skin and led me to think about journalism in different ways, about body modification and about different subcultures as well and documenting them as well.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski

I have been thinking about this since I heard about the blog. So I have been thinking about the books that have gotten under my skin. And you know the book that really got under my skin was The House of Leaves by Mark Danielewski. It is an incredible book because it is about a haunted house.

It is not just about the haunted house; it is also about the way the book is written. There is all these footnotes. There are architectural footnotes. There is a story within a story and it was a really scary story. It made you think just because of the way it was written. It was a long time ago that I read it but I have never forgotten it and it sort of...things will happen and I would think about it.

PCC student

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

Click To Play Windows Media Version
Click To Play QuickTime version

Video Transcription

My name is Daniel Larios. I'm a photography student here at PCC and one book I really enjoyed and that I still remember after five years is The Poisonwood Bible.

It is a story about Africa and this family that moves there. It is a really great story and a really great kind of mystery. Well this family, there are from America, they move to Africa because they are missionaries and they are trying to convert Africans to Christianity. They get into all of these troubles.

It is just a great read.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Memoirs by Pablo Neruda

Neruda's passionate embrace of life is described with lustrous poetic imagery. His world was a bouquet of unique, exotic experiences full of political and romantic rectitude. Reading this book caused me to adopt a more curious and appreciative approach to life - to recognize that every experience is profound and to pursue experiences that are different and bountiful. Neruda was a man whose life was joyous because he was propelled by courage and conviction rather than fear.

Submitted by John Wood

Housekeeping by Marilyn Robinson

I haven't read this book in over a decade, yet scarcely a week goes by that I don't think about it. Family ties, home, roots, a sense of community--these things are so fragile.

Submitted by Frank Hoppe

Monday, October 8, 2007

The Seven Spiritual Laws of Success: A Practical Guide to the Fulfillment of Your Dreams by Dr. Deepak Chopra

The book is simple and straight in words, the meaning driven out of the writing is very much influencing in our day to day lives. I finished this book in one day and the words will always be with me. There a great factor of motivation and inspiration in this book. It is the perfect book to read for anyone, anytime. It sure will lead you to self discovery.

Submitted by: anonymous

What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Nelson Bolles

As an undergraduate student, circa 1976, a workshop and later a book, touched my life. Every few years I check in to the revised version to see 'where I am'.

Submitted by Elizabeth L Walsh

Friday, October 5, 2007

Manuale Typographicum by Zapf, Hermann

Letters are the musical, lyrical servants of literature and commerce. How is it possible that those 26 shapes give voice to every human aspiration? These inky marks bring us every turn of human life--noble, pedestrian, even evil. This book asserts that typefaces themselves are as worthy of awe as the stories they present.
(Available for viewing in PCC Library, reference section 655.24 Z 1. )

Submitted by Dave Cuatt

Lost in translation by Hoffman, Eva

It is about emigration and about new life in new country, and, as the subtitle says, "in a new language". This book got under my skin, because I could so much identify with it, because I had the same feelings leaving my country and coming to this country, as the author did. It came all back to me with reading this book, it was like re-living my life again.

Submitted by Jitka/PCC staff

Thursday, October 4, 2007

The Road by Cormac McCarthy

An amazing read, "The Road" takes the reader into a world of nuclear winter and the struggle to survive of a father and his very young son. It is terrifying, vivid, dark, and uplifting all at the same time. McCarthy's prose is spare (very Hemingwayesque at times) and moves along quickly. It's a stunning work.

Submitted by Amy Ulmer

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

As most reviews of this books say, I think this book is 'an unforgettable story'. It provides sensory glimpse of modern Afghanistan's traditions and recent turbulence and struggles. I was privileged to hear the author speak about the book when he came to Pasadena as part of One City One Story. He is as good a speaker as he is a storyteller.

Submitted by kg

The Journey is the Destination by Dan Eldon

The journals of Dan Eldon are an astonishing glimpse into the private life of a very remarkable young man. Eldon was a prolific artist, writer and photographer, leaving a vast body of work behind, especially for someone who died at the tender age of a mere twenty-two years of age. In July 1993, Eldon, a photographer for Reuters was stoned to death by a mob in Somalia who were in an uproar over a bombing raid on the alleged headquarters of General Farah Mohammed Aidid. Simply there to do his job as a reporter, Dan Eldon's life was taken by the very people he was trying help.

Since I first discoverd this book in 1997, I have found myself returning to it over and over again in the past 10 years for various reasons. I find this book very inspirational on a couple of different levels. As an artist it is a smorgasboard of images that would delight and inspire any visual addict. Every time I look at his journals I see something that I hadn't noticed before.
More importantly, this book has served as a constant reminder to myself that when I'm feeling low or sorry for myself, that life can be taken from us at any moment, regardless of our age, sex, or race and therefore should be celebrated and embraced the way that Dan Eldon did with his own short time on this planet.

Submitted by Leela Grace Perea

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark by William Shakespeare

I read this play for the first time when I was 12, launching my first investigation into mortality, depression, and morality. It was there for all the angst that fills teen-dom and I remember it, and it's gloomy protagonist, to this day fondly.

Submitted by katrina

The Virtue of Selfishness by Ayn Rand

Rand has had her way of getting "under my skin" with all of her work, but this one in particular seems to have stuck with me the longest. I am dismayed by the person who finds moral ground to stand on with this book's ideas. On the other hand, I encourage anyone interested in developing their debate skills to read it.

Submitted by J.P. Burton

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

Finding George Orwell in Burma by Emma Larkin

This is such a wonderful book. I have been obsessed with George Orwell and with Burma ever since I read it the first time. This is the book that showed me how beautiful nonfiction can be.

Submitted by Christie

Flatland by A. Square (Edwin A. Abbott)

After reading this book, I couln't stop thinking about what it would be like to be 2 dimensional or what the 4th or nth dimension would be like.

Submitted by ken