I had to read this book for my Inter-Cultural Communication class. It deals with the writer's experience with the refugees she helped. It is basically a set of stories about some of the individuals that she specifically remembers, from young children who struggled to adapt in the US to men who were traumatized by the wars in their native countries.
I was not impressed by this book at all. It did not teach me anything that I did not know before. I also noticed that the individual stories were too short for the reader to truly understand and care for the people who were sharing them. Finally, the conclusions that the author drew from her experience were fairly cliche.
11 MY BEAUTIFUL LAUNDRETTE (screenplay) Hanif Kureishi (England 1985)
We all know the film about those two young Englishmen, one of Pakistani roots and the other a white working class squatter, who try to make money with a family-owned laundrette in London. I had to read the screenplay for my 19th and 20th Century British Literature class. The most interesting aspect of this story is that Kureishi plays a lot with racial and gender stereotypes and reverse them constantly. However this does not make a screenplay interesting to read. After all, it was meant to be "seen" and the film was much more interesting to watch. The screenplay simply bored me.
12 ENDGAME Samuel Beckett (England 1957)
I also had to read this play for my Brit lit class and I was not looking forward to it because my past experiences with Beckett ( Waiting for Godot and Stories and Texts for Nothing) were not positive ones. While I often really enjoy the theater of the absurd (especially Edward Albee and Harold Pinter), to me, Beckett simply goes too far in its absence of directions and fails to make me laugh unlike the other playwrights I just mentioned. Having said that, the post-apocalyptic Endgame is far more accessible that Waiting for Godot, and I highly recommend it to those who want to try Beckett and do not know where to start.
13 GOODBYE TO ALL THAT Robert Graves (England 1929)
My obsession with WWI is still growing and l took the opportunity to read yet another WWI bio during the last spring break. Robert Graves' autobiography mainly focuses on the war, as well as his college education prior to the war and briefly on his first marriage after the armistice. Robert Graves' voice is certainly not the most powerful among the writers of the war. It is clear that he was not a man who shared his emotions easily. However, his descriptions of military life from the codes, weapons and tactics are extremely valuable. This is a must read for all people who are interested in one of the most destructive wars or world as ever known. But it might be disappointing to those who enjoy Graves' work and want to know more about his personality.