Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Book Life 12: Geeky Revisited, Awe, and We Was Po': Another Voice

Once again, it's that magical time of year--those few weeks when, even though one semester has ended and another has yet to begin, there is wonder in the air. What? No, not the holiday season. I mean that small span of time in which there is no homework and I can read whatever I want! I've already gone through 7 books with way too many more waiting in line. Hence, time for another book life blog!

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so." -Douglas Adams

Even though I've read them before (many times before, as a matter of fact), the five books comprising the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy trilogy never fail to amaze me. (And yes, for those of you unfortunate enough not to have read these novels, I did say five books and trilogy.) Funny as hell and just plain well-written. If you've never read them, please do. You will thank me later, and remember "Deep in the fundamental heart of mind and Universe, "said Slartibartfast, "there is a reason."

Just plain beautiful.

I have never met a Sherman Alexie book I did not love and whose children I did not want to bear. War Dances is no different. Gorgeous poetry and awesome stories. That is all.

Down Home Economics

The last book in this post is Deer Hunting with Jesus: Dispatches from America's Class War. Essentially the author, Joe Bageant, moves back home to his small Virginia hometown after about 20 or so years and explores the lower working class culture in which he grew up. While I wasn't thrilled with the underlying tone he took when talking about his brethren at a few points, it was overall a really good discussion of issues not usually covered. The rural poor are generally ignored in favor of highlighting the urban poor. This is not to say that either is more important or poor than the other; both situations have their own peculiar obstacles to overcome. It's just that in academic and political discussions of poverty, the plight of the rural poor is generally overlooked or assumed to be covered under the umbrella of "poverty" which is really just urban. I'm not entirely sure that I agree with some of his views about gun control and a few minor details, but as a whole, this is an excellent book--particularly for those of us from this sort of background lost on planets not of our making. For my fellow religion geeks, he does a fairly good job of incorporating fundamentalism into his observations. And the chapter on the Social Security system, healthcare, and the poor elderly is amazing.

"He would say that my soul is troubling me and that I need to be washed in the blood and redeemed by the grace of him who bled for our sins. I'd say that I am troubled by the distinct impression of approaching trihorned fascism--part Christian, part military, part corporate."--J. Bageant

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