Their Eyes Were Watching God
by Zora Neale Hurston (2006)
Publisher review: Fair and long-legged, independent and articulate, Janie Crawford sets out to be her own person -- no mean feat for a black woman in the '30s. Janie's quest for identity takes her through three marriages and into a journey back to her roots.
Started: Jan 04 2021
A Crash of Fate (Star Wars: Galaxy's Edge, #1)
by Zoraida Córdova (2019)
Publisher review: Izzy and Jules were childhood friends, climbing the spires of Batuu, inventing silly games, and dreaming of adventures they would share one day. Then, Izzy's family left abruptly, without even a chance to say goodbye. Izzy's life became one of constant motion, traveling from one world to the next, until her parents were killed and she became a low-level smuggler to make ends meet. Jules remained on Batuu, eventually becoming a farmer like his father, but always yearning for something more. Now, thirteen years after she left, Izzy is returning to Batuu. She's been hired to deliver a mysterious parcel, and she just wants to finish the job and get gone. But upon arrival at Black Spire Outpost she runs smack into the one person who still means something to her after all this time: Jules. The attraction between them is immediate, yet despite Jules seeming to be everything she's ever needed, Izzy hesitates. How can she drag this good-hearted man into the perilous life she's chosen? Jules has been trying to figure out his future, but now all he knows for certain is that he wants to be with Izzy. How can he convince her to take a chance on someone who's never left the safety of his homeworld?
Started: Jan 09 2021
by Kurt Vonnegut Jr. (1999)
There has been a lot of talk around this novel, finalists of the Nebula, Hugo, and National Book awards. Modern Library even listed it as one of the 100 best novels of all time, while there has been numerous attempts to censor this book: in 1973 for example, a school board in USA decided to burn all the school libraries copies of the book. As a result I had extremely high expectations: I was prepared to be blown away.... but I was not.
Do not get me wrong: it's a good book, with a great anti-war message. It just did not meet my over hyped expectations.
Slaughterhouse-Five is centered on the infamous firebombing of Dresden. It is the story of Billy Pilgrim a person that claims to be experiencing time in a different way: he jumps back and forth, experiencing pieces of his life in almost random order. This odyssey through time reflects the mythic journey of our own fractured lives as we search for meaning in what we fear most.
Started: Dec 31 2020 Finished: Jan 08 2021
How Democracies Die: What History Reveals About Our Future
by Steven Levitsky (2018)
This is one of the scariest and most interesting books I read in a while. How Democracies Die analyzes the path taken by countries that narrowly avoided falling into authoritarianism, and countries that did not manage to avoid the descent into full dictatorship. This analysis is used to explain how easy is for democracy to be eroded and die, and it provides useful insight on USA recent history and the current challenges faced by our nation.
The recent political escalations, the erosions of Democratic norms had made many of us wondering: is our democracy in danger? Harvard professors Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt have spent more than twenty years studying the breakdown of democracies in Europe and Latin America, and they believe the answer is yes. Democracy no longer ends with a bang, in a revolution or military coup, but with a whimper: the slow, steady weakening of critical institutions, such as the judiciary and the press, and the gradual erosion of long-standing political norms. The good news is that there are several exit ramps on the road to authoritarianism. The bad news is that, we have already passed many of them. Drawing on decades of research and a wide range of historical and global examples, from 1930s Europe to contemporary Hungary, Turkey, and Venezuela, to the American South during Jim Crow, Levitsky and Ziblatt show how democracies die, and how ours can be saved.
The book is three years old by now, I would love to read an updated and extended edition covering recent events, including attempts by the outgoing administration to overturns the election results. I would love to hear the authors' take on this. Is it too late? What can be done, by both party, to re-establish respect and democratic norms?
Started: Dec 24 2020 Finished: Jan 04 2021