SarahMichigan (sarahmichigan) wrote in 50bookchallenge,

Books #19-20

Book #19 was "An Unbroken Agony: Haiti, From Revolution to the Kidnapping of a President" by Randall Robinson. I've read several books of fiction set in Haiti and was curious to know more detail about the history of the nation. This book doesn't really give you an in-depth look at Haitian history, but I still found it extremely interesting. Randall Robinson and his wife are friends with former Haitian president Aristide and were eye-witness to many of the events surrounding the 2004 departure of Aristide from his country. President George W. Bush and his cabinet tried to sell this event as a voluntary departure to the American people, but Robinson makes a convincing case that Aristide was kidnapped to Africa against his will. The most valuable thing about this book is that about 90 percent of the material regarding the events of February through March 2004 are based on personal eye-witness or interviews Robinson did with firsthand eyewitnesses. Robinson does give some of the history of Haiti, starting with a successful slave rebellion and featuring France and the U.S. trying to trip up democracy in Haiti for centuries afterward, and this helps put Aristide's departure in context. I recommend it as a really riveting non-fiction read - Robinson is a master at building tension, even though you mostly know what's going to happen - but not as a comprehensive or objective history of the nation.

Book #20 was "The Delikon" by H.M. Hoover. This is a YA novel I read when I was about 13. I was really in love with Hoover's work and read at least 3 of her novels around that time in my life. As an adult, I was curious to see if I'd enjoy these as much as I did back then. The novel is about a race called the Delikon who come to earth to - in their minds - save humans from war & savagery. They divide the world into sectors that they police rigidly, sending elite human children for training in an academy, later to become the elite ruling class of the outer sectors, governed by a central government run by Delikons. Delikons who are in charge of raising these young human pupils are transformed from their natural state to one nearly human, and one of those human-looking Delikon teachers, Varina, must shepherd her last two pupils through a terrifying time when humans are rising up and trying to overthrown the Delikon's control. I like Hoover's simple but elegant prose a lot, though I had some issues with her choices with point of view at times. I also felt her pupils were somewhat cardboard and Varina was really the only fleshed out character. Still, I did enjoy this book. I feel that the beauty of the language and the simple but compelling plot make it worth a read, and I would recommend it to a teenager lover of sci-fi.

1. Trickster: Native American Tales: A Graphic Collection Paperback [fiction/graphic short story collection]- Matt Dembicki -Ed.
2. Light Music [fiction]- Kathleen Ann Goonan
3. The Indian Clerk [fiction]- David Leavitt
4. The Diving Bell & the Butterfly [non-fiction/memoir]- Jean-Dominique Bauby
5. Clarence Darrow: American Iconoclast [non-fiction]- Andrew E. Kersten
6. Blue Champagne [fiction/short stories]- John Varley
7. A Person of Interest [fiction]- Susan Choi
8. Books and Islands in Ojibwe Country [non-fiction]- Louise Erdrich
9. Nobody Nowhere [non-fiction]- Donna Williams
10. The Three Musketeers [fiction]- Alexandre Dumas (unabridged audiobook)
11. The Narrative of John Tanner [non-fiction/biography]- as told by John Tanner, edited by Edwin James
12. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell [fiction]- Susanna Clarke
13. I Sold My Soul on eBay: Viewing Faith through an Atheist's Eyes [non-fiction]- Hemant Mehta
14. Thunder and Lightning: Cracking Open the Writer's Craft [non-fiction]- Natalie Goldberg
15. No Name in the Streets [non-fiction/essay]- James Baldwin
16. The Hunger Games [fiction]- Suzanne Collins (unabridged audiobook)
17. Permanence [fiction]- Karl Schroeder
18. For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf [poetry]- Ntozake Shange

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