Sunday, November 30, 2008

books

84. All Quiet on the Western Front by Erich Maria Remarque
A Classic. I found it at the library and decided to read it. It was ok, but not amazing. Basically, it is a book about World War I, and filled with all the crappiness about being in a war. I didn't feel it added anything to my understanding of the badness of war, but it was well-written.

85. Take the Cannoli by Sarah Vowell
Essays about America/American history by Sarah Vowell of This American Life. Also a good book. I really like Vowell's voice and she is great at presenting her nerdiness about certain things in a fun way. The only other Vowell book I've read was Radio On, which was ok, but her voice kind of grated on me after awhile. I liked this book much better.

86. The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down by Anne Fadiman
I am the last person to read this book -- especially the last anthropologist and am so sad I did not read it earlier. It is the story of a Hmong family in California and their conflicts with the medical system over the care of their daughter who has epilepsy. The author does an excellent job of presenting the cultures of the Hmong family and the doctors, demonstrating how they cam to so many misunderstandings, and not really laying blame anywhere. I wish I would have read this earlier so I could have assigned it to my anthro class -- it really explains and demonstrates cross-cultural misunderstandings so well. Everyone should read this book.

87. Making Money by Terry Pratchett
A Discworld novel about the central bank. The fun is all in the crazy surprises so I will not say more, but this was a fun book with the usual Discworld hijinks.

2 comments:

Matt said...

The Spirit Catches you and you fall down is basically required reading for teacher ed courses too. It's a good read, and something to keep in mind when one is trying to figure out why the intercultural communication keeps bumping against walls.

Jen said...

I recently re-read The Spirit Catches You... and was again impressed by Fadiman's fairly balanced storytelling of the Lees and their tragedy. I remember feeling that the story got bogged down the first time I went through it, but it went much faster this time. (Maybe because I skipped so much of the history/political background.)

I'm a Discworld fan myself, particularly the Guard series :)