59. Snow Falling on Cedars – David Guterson
This book was an ok read about a Japanese-American man on trial for murder in 1954. It deals mostly with racism in the World War Two era. That part is infuriating to read, the open racism, the way lives were ruined by the relocation, the lack of any proof whatsoever in the murder trial. But the rest of the book…..was ok. There’s a little bit of a love story, but I didn’t find that to be too interesting because it was told in flashbacks and there was no suspense.
60. Random Family: Love, Drugs, Trouble, and Coming of Age in the Bronx – Adrian Nicole LeBlanc
An anthropological biography following a Puerto Rican family in the Bronx between 1984 and 2003. This was really a fascinating book, but depressing as hell. Just an endless round of teen pregnancy, drug addiction, prison time, poverty, disease, sexual and physical abuse, crime, ignorance, and resignation. The worst was reading about the kids, who just didn’t have any security or support, and end up making the same mistakes that their parents did.
LeBlanc manages to report the lives of these family members without bringing herself into the story, even though she spent 12 years interviewing and becoming friends with them. There’s no moralizing and very little discussion of the usual things that enter into a discussion of poverty in the U.S. LeBlanc lets the story speak for itself.
61. Kate: Remembered – A. Scott Berg
Less of a biography of Katherine Hepburn than a eulogy to a dead friend. The author knew Hepburn for years before he decided to write her biography, and the start of the book is about him and her just hanging out. You get a very good sense of Hepburn’s personality (abrasive), her 50 years of film-making (some great movies, some forgettable movies), and her relationship with Spencer Tracy (depressing). But in the end, while I enjoyed reading the book, I didn’t feel like I learned anything I didn’t already know.
62. The Witches – Roald Dahl
The classic story about a young boy’s fight against the witches of England and the world. Highly enjoyable. I know Dahl was a rabid anti-Semite, but he writes fantastic stories.
63. Still There, Clare – Yvonne Prinz
I picked this up randomly, thought it was stupid, kept reading for some reason, and got completely caught up in the story. If I’d had the sequel handy, I might have read that too. The story is about a seventh grade girl who decides that she can no longer be friends with her best (and imaginary) friend, Elsa. This precipitates many changes as Clare starts to grow up and figure out who she is.
While this was a little juvenile for my tastes, I think I would have enjoyed it as a 12 year old, and the character is great strong female character.