I'm Liz, and I'm a librarian (duh)

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Race: A History Beyond Black and White

This challenge really was a challenge, because I have a few books I've read this month that could be considered for the theme, and the runner-ups were: Animal, Vegetable, Miracle: A Year of Food Life by Barbara Kingsolver, and Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life by Steve Martin, both of which were personal stories and/or memoirs written for an adult audience. However, after much deliberation, I decided on Marc Aronson's Race: A History Beyond Black and White, a non-fiction book for teens (or at least older children). I looked at reading this book for this challenge as the reading equivalent of taking my vitamins; I knew it would be well-written and informative, but it wasn't exactly topping my list of must-reads. Still, it did get many very positive reviews and I thought it would be a good choice for the month in which we celebrate Martin Luther King, Jr.'s birthday. And I was pleasantly surprised--it was less academic than I expected it to be, but just as informative. Basically, Aronson traces the history of race and racial prejudice, concentrating mainly on the US and Europe, but acknowledging the fact that divisions are drawn down racial lines all over the globe. One of the more shocking revelations is the fact that the concept of race is really a rather recent development--and it can pretty much be directly traced to the start of Christianity. This book was written for teens, but adults looking for a concise introduction to the subject will find this helpful as well.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Happy New Year!

It's official, the holidays are finally over. We had our last quasi-holiday (actually a double birthday party) over the weekend, so I can begin the detox process from all the cake I've been eating for the last month and a half. If I'm being honest I can't really complain about all the eating because right after Christmas I had an enforced cleansing/diet situation, by which I mean I had a stomach virus, so two days of no eating at all. I know, it's not healthy, but at least it was over quickly and I don't feel too much guilt about gorging myself on xmas cookies.
So this year I am choosing not to go the physical self-improvement route with my new year's resolution, but instead have chosen to rise to the book a month challenge thrown down by a fellow blogger. And true to her word the first month's theme was posted on January 1--the theme is, appropriately enough, time. So there are lots of choices and decisions to make. I would like to at least start this off on the right foot and not cheat by twisting whatever I am already reading to fit the theme, but here it is only the 2nd week of the year and I am already feeling behind. Lately I have actually been reading more adult books than children's or teen, so I think my final decision is going to be something children's, and I've got my eye on a couple of weighty non-fiction titles that I know will be good but will take me a while to get through--this is starting to sound like taking my medicine. My deal with myself with have to be this: if I do something boring and dense one month, I'll balance it out with fluff the next month.