SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #37-38

Book #37 was "The Kite Runner" by Khaled Husseini. This was a best-seller, and after reading it, I can see why. It's a terribly compelling book, despite the fact that it's violent and sad. It's the tale of two boys who grow up in Afghanistan together, one a young privileged boy, the other a household servant. It's about their friendship, how it falls apart, and the consequences their actions, and their fathers' actions, have later in life. Of course, the modern politics of Afghanistan play a role, but it's mostly a very personal, rather than political, novel. I felt there were a number of coincidences that seemed to convenient, and this threw me out of my "willing suspension of disbelief" a few times. HOwever, it also made it feel more like a fable, which is, I think, what the author was going for. It is beautifully written and full of compassion. I recommend it highly.

Book #38 was "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee: An Indian History of the American West" by Dee Brown. Brown covers just 30 years in the American west, 1860-1890, but puts it in context extremely well, starting each new historical period with a timeline of other important world events - presidents elected, famous novels published, advances in women's rights, etc. This was a difficult read, not because of the language, but because it was so unrelentingly depressing and I was so angry the whole time I was reading it. It's also very dense with information, so I could only read 10 or 15 pages at a time before I had to digest it. It's very well organized, though, and the supplemental photos and reproductions of Native American songs really added a lot of context. There are a few stories of Native American triumphs, and a lot of depressing stories of whites pushing them out of their lands, taking away their livelihoods and then blaming them for their own poverty. I don't think any American History class covering this period should be allowed to omit this book as source material, since it's America's history told from the viewpoint of Native Americans who experienced it.

1. Blue Light [fiction]- Walter Mosley
2. Titus Alone [fiction]- Mervyn Peake
3. "Why Are All the Black Kids Sitting Together in the Cafeteria?" [non-fiction]- Beverly Tatum
4. Never Let Me Go [fiction]- Kazuo Ishiguro
5. The Jehovah Contract [fiction]- Victor Koman
6. When the Phone Rings, My Bed Shakes: The Memoirs of a Deaf Doctor [non-fiction/memoir]- Philip Zazove
7. The Foreign Student [fiction]- Susan Choi
8. V for Vendetta [fiction/graphic novel]- Alan Moore and David Lloyd
9. City at the End of Time [fiction]- Greg Bear (unabridged audiobook)
10. Figuring: The Joy of Numbers [non-fiction]- Shakuntala Devi
11. Towing Jehovah [fiction]- James Morrow.
12. Black Apollo of Science: The Life of Ernest Everett Just [non-fiction]- Keith R. Manning
13. The Finster Effect [fiction]- Wednesday Lee Friday
14. A Different Mirror: A History of Multicultural America [non-fiction]- Ronald Takaki.
15. The autobiography of my mother [fiction]- Jamaica Kincaid
16. Death du Jour [fiction]- Kathy Reichs (unabridged audiobook)
17. What Is My Cat Thinking?: The Essential Guide to Understanding Pet Behavior [non-fiction]- Gwen Bailey
18. God is Not Great: How Religion Poisons Everything [non-fiction]- Christopher Hitchens (unabridged audiobook)
19. History of the Philippines: From Indios Bravos to Filipinos [non-fiction]- Luis Francia
20. Feynman [non-fiction/graphic memoir]- Jim Ottaviani and Leland Myrick.
21. The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson & the Olympians series) [fiction]- Rick Riordan (unabridged audiobook)
22. Hard-Boiled Wonderland and The End of the World [fiction]- Haruki Murakami
23. Slowing Down to the Speed of Life [non-fiction]- Richard Carlson and Joseph Bailey
24. Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerors [non-fiction]- Lizzie Collingham
25. Frankenstein [fiction]- Mary Shelley (unabridged audiobook)
26. Empty Cradle: The Untimely Death of Corey Sanderson [fiction]- Emmy Jackson
27. Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil [non-fictioni]- John Berendt
28. Lucky [non-fiction/memoir]- Alice Sebold
29. Soon I Will Be Invincible [fiction]- Austin Grossman
30. For a Few Demons More (Book 5 of "The Hollows" series) [fiction]- Kim Harrison (unabridged audiobook)
31. American Gods [fiction]- Neil Gaiman
32. The Kitchen God's Wife [fiction]- Amy Tan
33. Bluebeard: The Life and Times of Gilles de Rais [non-fiction]- Leonard Wolf
34. Garlic and Sapphires: The Secret Life of Critic in Disguise [non-fiction]- Ruth Reichl
35. The Accidental Time Machine [fiction]- Joe Haldeman
36. A Discovery of Witches [fiction]- Deborah Harkness


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