Tuesday, September 4, 2018

Book Review: Daughter of a Daughter of a Queen

Daughter of a Daughter
 of a Queen
By Sarah Bird

Copy courtesy from St. Martin

I was excited to read the novel, Daughter of a Daughter of Queen. I loved the synopsis of the novel. It is about a black woman. Who lived in Missouri. She was told she was a descendant of a proud African nation.  She was taken from her home to be a cook in the army for the troops. After the Civil War is over many of the slaves. Who worked in the Civil War have a choice. Either move back to the south where that part of the country was racist. Or move up north where you are well welcome.

I couldn't connect to the book or the characters. I gave it 200 pages and then gave up. I love historical fiction. I can't tell you why. But, I just didn't particularly like the book. Thank you St. Martin for allowing me to review. Unfortunately the book didn't do anything for me.

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In Memory: Book Review, Restless Wave

The Restless Wave
By John McCain
My copy

Since the election of 2016. I have been reading more non-fiction, rather than fiction. Mostly political, current events, social justice, etc.

 It has been reported that there has been a boom for more political books. That tells you something. Me, myself I have bought several books that are political, or current events. Since 2016 I have changed my reading habits.

 I haven't decided if I am a republican or democrat. I was a long time republican. But, realized I voted what my Dad voted. Not what I thought with my conscience.  I always spoke my mind to my friends and family. I took for granted our Constitution, and Bill of Rights. Thinking JUSTICE for ALL! is equality for all.

 I couldn't understand why there was debate for Afro- Americans, gerrymandering, Muslim, Hispanics, etc. I was in the dark. I didn't realize that Afro-Americans only won the right to vote in 1964. And, I'm in the early 60's. I'm so sorry it took me this long to open my eyes.

Since like I said, I started paying attention to politics, and current events. I think both GOP, and Democrats are corrupt. But, I think we are better off with  Democrats right now. With Trump in office it has been a catastrophe. But, Congress, and Senate has been a mess in years. Right now, Congress and Senate don't want to reach across the aisle. They don't want to work together. There is far right, and far left, no moderates of both sides. I think that would help. But, our country has been about big money, and lobbyist. Not for the American people. Especially when it comes to Obamacare.

I bought the book, Restless Wave when it first came out. But, I couldn't get myself to open the pages. I was hoping to read the book before Senator McCain passed away. Unfortunately, that didn't happen. I opened the book a few days after it was announced he passed away. I'm glad I read the book now. Because I can appreciate him much more.

I heard he was a war hero. Survived in Vietnam for 5 years as a prisoner of war. When he returned he worked in the government. The book was slow moving at times, but then sped up as he was talking about the armed forced committee in the senate.

He spoke out about the black sites, the treatment of suspected terrorist during the Iraq War. He didn't agree with our government when it came to waterboarding, and torture. When it came out in public to the American public. There was a public outcry by the American people. "We are better than this".

 I didn't realize that senators went abroad to visit countries to get better perspective frequently. Him, and his two amigos( Lindsey Graham, and Joe Lieberman) traveled constantly. He writes mainly about foreign affairs. The countries he visited. The fears he had with conflict of the middle east, The conflicts of Russia, Ukraine, Georgia, Crimea, etc.
I didn't realize how much they senators were in harms way when they went overseas.

He talks about his happiness of running for presidency. Even though he was never elected. He is grateful for the people he met, and the experiences he had on the road on the bus with journalists. He doesn't talk about his regrets with his appointed VP Palin. But, he does talk about the mistake he made about the confederate flag in SC. He admits he's mistakes. Which most politicians won't admit to.

Knowing what I know now. If he didn't have Palin as VP.  Just think what would have happened? I think he had more experience than any other president elect. If you read his book you will see he has much experience, knowledge, and expertise when it comes to foreign affairs in
the Middle East, and in Russia. The mistakes our government made during the Obama administration with Russia, and Ukraine, Syria, and the Middle East. Perhaps Russia wouldn't be as much as a threat as it is now.

He writes about his time in congress, and the senate. How much he enjoyed his time there. Working with both sides, with honor, integrity, courage, character, and dignity. He never let his character waiver. He was a restless soul who couldn't sit still. He was always working. He made some great friendships on both side of the aisle. He writes about his sparring with Senator Ted Kennedy, Senator Joe Biden. He still remained friends even after they argued.

He at the end of his life wanted to get back to regular order. Meaning, debate on issues, and  pass laws that cooperate and a give and take. Most everyone remembers when he was just diagnosed with cancer. He spoke at the senate, and voted hands down. Not because he wanted to stop Obamacare. But, because he wanted both democrats, and republicans to work together.

 He wrote about his parents. The roots he didn't have till he married he's second wife, Cindy. Which he loves he's Arizona home.

He writes about his great life. He has no regrets, and is very optimistic. He writes with a moving hand  He is very positive. I believe that Vietnam changed him. He is grateful he had a second chance.  If it wasn't for his capture, and release that he is profoundly grateful. He wouldn't have the same outlook. He's writing is poignant, and sincere. When reflecting on his life brought tears to my eyes.  He has a positive outlook even when anticipating his death.

Here is the excerpt of the last page of the book. If this doesn't perk you to purchase the book. I don't know what will. Perhaps I am a sucker.

The last two pages is very touching and sums it up. What character John McCain had. Here are two different excerpts:
Before I leave I'd like to see our politics begin to return to the purposes and practices that distinguish our history from the history of other nations. I would like to see us receive our sense that we are more alike than different. We are citizens of the republic made of shared ideals forged in a new world to replace the tribal enemies that tormented the old one. Even in times of political turmoil such as these, we share that awesome heritage and responsibility to embrace it. Whether we think each other right or wrong in our views on the issues of the day, we owe each other our respect, as long as our character merits respect, and as long as we share, for all our differences, for all the rancorous debates that enliven and sometimes demean our politics, a mutual devotion to the ideals our nation was conceived to uphold, that all are created equal, and liberty and equal justice are the natural rights of all. Those rights inhabit the human heart, and from there, though they may be assailed, they can never be wrenched. I want to urge Americans, for as long as I can, to remember that this shared devotion to human rights is our truest heritage and our most important loyalty. 
The world is a fine place and worth fighting for and I hate very much to leave it". Spoke my hero, Robert Jordan, in For Whom The Bell Tolls. And, I do too. I hate to leave it. But, I don't have a complaint. Not, one. It's been quite a ride. I've known great passions, seen amazing wonders, fought in a war, and helped make peace. I've lived very well and I've been deprived of all comforts. I've been as lonely as a person can be and I've enjoyed the company of heroes. I've suffered deepest despair and experienced the highest exultation. I made a small place for myself in the story of America and the history of my times.


Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Book Review: This Fight is Our Fight

This Fight is our Fight
By Elizabeth Warren

My Copy

I bought This Fight is our Fight after the 2016 election. I wasn't a political junkie. I became aware of Sen. Warren during the 2016  presidential race.  She speaks up for the ordinary middle class person. I love how she speaks up to Donald Trump, and our congress, and senate. Elizabeth Warren is a progressive that speaks volumes to the middle class, and the poor.She persists!

Her book is not a biography. Instead the book is about the Middle class, and the corporate, and financial world. She discusses the history of the financial system. It starts with FDR's  administration  protection and opportunities for American people.

She talks about her family's hardships. Her mother who worked for Sears and Roebuck. In the 1950's middle class could make it on a livable wage. How she was able to go to college because of the opportunities that were available to her then. The times have changed unfortunately.

The problem right now, is small companies are being eaten by the big corporations.  Now, with only a few corporations are less competitive. The big corporations have self interests. They have special interests in the government called lobbyists. There only interests are lining their pockets. The corporations want de-regulation to save money.

Unfortunately when you don't have regulations. These big corporations take advantage.
The small community banks have been eaten up by the big banks. These banks then play with our money by investing without the knowledge of their bank customers.  The government is not looking over their shoulder any longer. Instead looking out for the big corporations.

In the Reagan administration they reversed the course  FDR promised. Instead of opportunities for all. Reagan's administration promised
              Trickled down economy
Meaning eventually it will come down to you. It was a theory that never came to pass. Because the big corporations were just taking, and taking. Instead of giving to their workers. They were keeping for themselves. Then when President Trump came to his administration. He promised to drain the swamp!, never happened.

Senator Elizabeth Warren stands her ground- She persisted.  She stands her ground to help the American people.  She gives us stories about hard working Americans.Who can't make it.  She talks about Walmart, especially. Where I used to work. She describes it exactly.

Many people think that Walmart is a great place to work. Believe me, it used to be. When Sam Walmart was alive. But, when he's children took it. Things changed.

When I worked for Walmart. You had to fight for hours with co-workers. There wasn't the 40 hour work week for most of us. The workers who were there since 2008, were grandfathered. They could work 38 hours. The hours were based on the sales the store got in the last quarter. If Walmart lost money, your hours were cut down. The co-workers fought for hours with each other. You had to watch your back. There were many employees that worked for Walmart that were forced to apply for food stamps. Because their hours were cut.

 The American people are paying for that. Why the American people are paying for food stamps. It is the responsibility of the big corporations, not the American people. Big corporations are just too greedy.

The book is easy to understand on a very dry topic. Thank you Elizabeth Warren for writing and explaining this very devise topic, and explaining in easy terms. I recommend it to anyone who is interested in politics, and the understanding the reason our country is in the situation it is in, financially.

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Book Club: In The Unlikely Event

In the Unlikely Event
By Judy Blume

My Copy

In the Unlikely Event is a wonderful book. I have never read any of Judy Blume's novels. Originally I didn't think I would like her novel. Because the novel is character driven. That is not my cup of tea. The other reason. I don't do well with many characters. I can never keep the characters straight. I was wrong. I will point out. The publisher did us a favor. In the front of the novel. At least in my copy is a list of characters in front of the book. It was a pain in the beginning to get the characters straight. I had to keep flipping the pages back and forth. After about 100 pages I didn't feel it was as annoying.

Judy Blume's novel has a back drop on  true events that happened to Judy Blume when she was a young girl living in Elizabeth, NJ in the early 1950's.

Three plane crashes in a span of two months in her town.  The  plane crash happened in a school, in a orphanage, and a town municipal building.  The children were affected dramatically.  The children felt there was a conspiracy, communists, zombies, etc.

The story is about a Jewish family, Ammerman's,The  Osner's,  and Demetrious family. The book opens with the culture of the 1950's families, the town, and community and how they intersect. Think first of the  culture of the 1950's, the lipstick, hairstyles, the fashion.

I read the book a couple of weeks ago. My memories of the novel is sketchy. I enjoyed reading the novel. The themes of the book are broad. My take which I loved was about communication. How news was reported in the 1950's vs. 2018. The news in the 50's would take days. Now, of course is not only the written word but 24 hr news, and social media. News was not available instantly like it is today. Cable TV is changing the way we see news.

The big theme is in one instant one something in your life can make a difference. In the beginning of the novel. It opens 35 years later when the characters are middle age then goes back to the age when the characters are young children. Then what happened in one instant to change your life dramatically to change your life in middle age. It was a interesting perspective.
Miri closes her eyes, who is Lily, really? What are the odds that the two of them would be seated together on this flight? In the unlikely event.. She hears the flight attendant saying in her head. Life is a series of unlikely events, isn't it? Hers certainly is. One unlikely event after another, adding up to a rich uncomplicated whole. And who knows whats still to come? 
I recommend reading it is a light read. But, don't expect it as a beach read. It is bit more in depth than a beach read. Has many themes.  Everyone in our book club except one person. Didn't like the book. And she loves character study.

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Monday, August 13, 2018

Book Review: Nomadland

By Jessica Bruder
Library Copy

For the most average person is hard to make ends meet. Especially those who rely on social security. Try and make it on less than $500 a month. When your rent is double, or even triple that. So comes in Jessica Bruder's book, Nomadland.

During 2008 many senior citizens lost their savings, their home, etc.

Jessica Bruder followed and reported on people that no longer could afford their home. So instead of being homeless. They found other means of having shelter over their heads. They have health issues, and work very hard, and tedious work, and over 60+

These Citizen seniors, you can find them working at Amazon for a short time. When Amazon needs them during the Christmas holidays. But, when their time is up. It is time to move on. It is not easy.

 Many of them find work at Amazon, or campgrounds. But, when the summer is over. Time to move on. During the time there is work the Nomadland community is thriving. When the work is over it becomes a wasteland.

Some of you have seen them working,  You think they have it easy. Believe it they don't. After its over they have to worry, whats next. Where are they going to go next you ask. This is not a romantic way to live. They have to struggle every day to make ends meet.

The author spent some time with Linda. She followed and lived with her. The author actually worked at Amazon to know the difficulty of the Nomads. She saw that Linda enjoyed not be restricted to living in one place. And having the freedom of rent free life.  She enjoyed the comradary, and friendship of the nomad community when she settled in a temporary location. But, that didn't usually last long.

This is so shameful that our elderly have to do hard labor. Basically working for Amazon. No one at that age should be working that hard. These people are in poor health. But, when they don't have enough money for their medication. They have to decide on medication vs. food. Times are changing. Social Security doesn't cut it for most senior citizens.

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