More Serious Reading #2: Another Review

The True American: Murder and Mercy in Texas by Anad Giridhardas is the true story I took on as an “assignment”, but it ended up as a good investment of my valuable reading time.  This (2014 published) book was required reading for a friend’s Texas History class, and after visiting the class, I was intrigued with the idea/theme of the book and borrowed his  copy (marked and annotated in the margins).

It is non-fiction and deals with the themes of forgiveness, immigrants in America, and some US citizens’ (over) reactions to the events of 9/11.  There is the story of Raisuddin “Rais” Bhuiyan, the  convenience store clerk from Bangladesh and Mark Stroman, a US citizen of the “redneck” mentality who shot and nearly killed Rais for no reason except that Rais was a Muslim.

The psychology behind the actions of the two men is unique in every respect.  the author gives insights into how Rais proceeded from helpless anger to forgiveness and his desire to teach forgiveness and brotherly love and into how Mark’s background and upbringing probably caused him to react to 9/11 by randomly shooting another human being. The author somehow manages to plant empathy for both men in the hearts of his readers.  He, towards the end, chronicles his own involvement with Rais’s desire to spread his message of forgiveness and Mark’s supporters’ appeals (including those of Rais and death penalty critics) for a stay of execution.  Here’s where the suspense clicks in as the minutes click down to Mark’s execution.

It was a New York Times bestseller, and its reviewer described the book as “seek[ing] less to uplift as to illuminate…” To me it was a rewarding read on several levels, very thought- provoking and opinion-forming.

I would recommend this book to individuals, book clubs, and college classes.

Monday Morning Musings

In my reading of other blogger’s posts and visiting I did during my feeble attempt at the Dewey’s 24 Hour Marathon this past weekend, I came across one blogger’s meme/item called, “Where Did You Leave Your Bookmark?” (Apologies to the blogger for not writing down her blog address and giving her a “plug” here…)

Reading those words led me to think, “Where is my bookmark, LITERALLY?”  I am constantly losing them, passing them along to someone, bending them in half and making them unattractive and pretty unusable.  So that said, here are some things I frequently use as bookmarks:

  • library date due slips
  • receipts (hopefully only those for cash purposes, for my husband requires charged receipts to use to justify charges on our monthly bill.  He once found a $300 charge at a Sears store in Florida (We live in Texas and have not travelled to Florida) that took months to “straighten out”, but straighten out it did, and we got our $300 credit.
  • recipes (mostly clipped from newspapers conveniently close to where my library book lies)
  • gift book marks  (always welcome)
  • fronts of cards and notes received in the mail with cute kittens, lovely flowers or other pictures that make me smile, both at the picture and remembering the kind friend who sent the card/note

What, friend, are you using for a bookmark?  Do not be like an elderly friend I once had, who after her death, her executor was throwing out old, musty books from her enclosed back porch.  A younger friend of the woman stopped him and said, “Wait, we’d better rifle through the pages first.”  They did, and there was a $2 bill or several of them, a $1 here and there, and even a  few fivers that the dear, older friend had marked her place with!

Sunday (Evening) Post

Here we are again at Sunday evening?  Where did the time get to? I was so busy this week, I met myself coming and going, but did MAKE some time for books and things “bookish.”

What I finished reading this week:  The Train to Crystal City by Jan Jarboe Russell.  This was “due” for my Third Tuesday Book Club at the local library, and I finished it just in time–literally (in the original sense of the word).  As I baked a cake for our wonderful head librarian’s retirement party at the book club meeting, I read the last couple of chapters of the book Tues. morning. (That’s cutting it too close!) Also I finished a cozy mystery which I reviewed here last post–a most refreshing “escape” read. I finished the first two chapters of Acts in time for this morning’s job of subbing for our Sunday School teacher.  It took a lot of digging and thinking and reading commentaries and comments from the writer of our student quarterly, so quite a bit of reading was involved. ( Another “close one.” I finished the “finishing touches” (pun intended) on the lesson last night around 9:30 pm.)

What I am reading now: I am still reading on The True American by Anad Giridharadas, which is really a good read, but “something” ( a library book due, a TV show, a movie on  the computer that was just too tempting,…) keeps popping up, and I know I can keep this one until Thanksgiving or later if necessary (It is on loan from a friend).I am also reading or am reading and looking at two articles in Image, a local (Brazoria County) magazine by a woman who was once my eighth grade student and is now a free lance writer.  Both are on local museums (both in small towns).  She also took the pictures for the articles which are as well done as the articles themselves.As usual, I am reading the Sunday edition of The Houston Chronicle, my usual Sunday afternoon pastime.  Ok, so today I’ve only gotten as far as the comics! I’ve been cooking for the coming week.

What I am starting right now: Three library books, including The Thoughtful Dresser,and The Little Prince,which is the November book club “assignment.”  I have seen the film and read the book ages ago, but the prospect of a discussion prompts a re-read.

What I am watching:  The Big Bang (caught up to date) and the 9:00 hour of the Today Show on NBC which is called “Trending Today” and I tape faithfully so I won’t “miss anything.” (caught up to date). What I have given up on: The Good Life.  I feel I gave it a fair try but found myself “doing other things” while supposedly watching.

Two movies: Into the Woods, which was a “happy accident” and a great movie with a marvelous cast, wonderful songs and superb acting.  The movie I intended to see, A Walk in the Woods, with Robert Redford and Nick Nolte (and Emma Thompson!) I finished today after lunch.  It did not follow the book by Bill Bryson, but in all fairness, it did say, “adapted from the book” and Bryson was in on the planning of the film.  It was good, but I kept reminding myself, “That was a Hollywood touch.”  However, I thoroughly enjoyed the film as a stand alone.

What I intended:  I intended to participate in the Dewey’s 24 Hour Marathon, but life caught up with me and overwhelmed me instead.  I did visit Debbie Nance’s hosting hour yesterday from 2-3 and eavesdropped on blogging friends who have become as close as really flesh and blood friends because of their clever comments and kind commitment to follow my blog.

Thank you, all of you, who have stopped in this evening (even if you are stopping in Tues. or later! Ha!) Please continue to stay in touch, and thanks for all the hours of “happy reading time” well invested in reading your posts, reviews, pass-alongs, and musings.

Rae