Shelf

This space is for interesting books the members of the 18th Ave. Book Group came across: they could be used for future group discussion or personal reading.

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• Killers of the Flower Moon by David Grann was one of the books Carla mentioned. It is not a “fun” or easy read, but it is one of the most powerful, well written and affecting true stories I’ve read. In the 1920s human predators converged on the Osage community in Oklahoma to cheat them out of their oil money head rights via corrupt guardianships, marriage and not the least – murder. Because the evil and corruption were so pervasive, the Osage had almost nowhere to turn for help (enter the fledgling FBI and former Texas Ranger tasked with trying to stop the murders). The legacy of this evil is still profoundly felt by the community. Some aspects contributing to that situation are still relevant today in the bureaucratic treatment of Native Americans. Lots of copies at SPL & KCLS. I highly recommend it.
–  reviews on GoodReads  (Anita 2/7/19)

• The Anna Karenina Fix, Life Lessons From Russian Literature by Viv Groskop, 2018, 217 pages
‘A passionate, hilarious, joyful love letter to Russian literature’ (Allison Pearson, Sunday Telegraph) • ‘A delightful primer and companion to all the authors you are ashamed to admit you haven’t read’ (The Times). Viv Groskop has discovered the meaning of life in Russian literature. As she knows from personal experience, everything that has ever happened in life has already happened in these novels: from not being sure what to do with your life (Anna Karenina) to being in love with someone who doesn’t love you back enough (A Month in the Country by Turgenev) or being socially anxious about your appearance (all of Chekhov’s work).
notes:
–  Irish Times review here
– a new (2018), look like lit-fun book, which I didn’t read yet. the british author is a stand-up comedian and journalist, who lived and studied in russia. (aleks 1/31/19)

• Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad (1857-1924), 136 pages
Resting one night on a boat on the River Thames, Charlie Marlow tells his friends about his experiences as a steamboat captain on the River Congo. The story is a complex exploration of the attitudes people hold on to, and what constitutes a barbarian versus a civilized society and the attitudes on colonialism and racism that were part and parcel of European imperialism.
notes:
– 100+ yo revered classic, interesting to revisit… postcolonial authors (esp. Chinua Achebe, below) criticized Conrad’s novel as racist.
– this book is in the top 100 books of all time, from an author who learned English as a third language (after polish and french)
– amazon info & readers reviews – contemporary comments on the classic. (aleks 1/31/19)

Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe, written in English by Nigerian author, 209 pages;  now classic (1958)
The story chronicles pre-colonial life in the south-eastern part of Nigeria and the arrival of the Europeans during the late nineteenth century. It is seen as the archetypal modern African novel in English, one of the first to receive global critical acclaim. It is a staple book in schools throughout Africa and is widely read and studied in English-speaking countries around the world.
notes:
–  wikipage about the novel   – plot, language choice (english instead of igbo)
– I had read and highly recommend it. In ideal universe i’d like the small books of Conrad and Achebe read/discussed consecutively, as they present a logical sequence of our changing values. (aleks 1/31/19)