Posts Tagged ‘Slavery’

Past Migrations

Thursday, 5 November 2009

The next set of books are nearly all about journeys in the past, in one way or another.

41. Richard the Lionheart by David West & Jackie Gaff, illustrated by John Cooper

This is a consecutive art depiction of the life of King Richard the Lionheart, from his childhood as a younger son of Eleanor of Aquitaine (I own a biography of her, and really must read it, once my books arrive) and Henry II. Both men were kings of England, but certainly wouldn’t have recognised that as an adequate description of their rank. Richard, particularly, was not especially interested in England, and preferred to crusade. (More on that below.)

42. Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon

This was part of the same reread I mentioned yesterday. I am torn. I love Gabaldon’s writing and characters, but her skill at expressing characters and what they experience can be more graphic than I felt comfortable with this time through. I’d like to say that’s less of an issue in this volume than some of the rest, but seeing as this is the one with the ’45, that just wouldn’t be true!

43. The Travelling People by Anthea Wormington, Sian Newman & Chris Lilly

As the title suggests, this is about the Travelling people(s) of Great Britain, and to an extent of Ireland. It is a thin glossy book produced for children about the various groups of nomadic communities. There is a focus on Irish Travellers and on Roma/Gypsy Travellers, as the most numerous such groups, but there is also information on several other groups. The title link includes PDF files of many or all of the pages of the book, and it is well worth reading, for adults as well. There are links to other related resources as well.

44. Voyager by Diana Gabaldon

This one isn’t about war so much as its aftermath of suffering, death and separation, and how ultimately love can overcome them. But being Gabaldon, that doesn’t mean everything ends up sugar and roses…

45. Drums of Autumn by Diana Gabaldon

Now though, we’re in the prelude stages to another war, on another continent…

46. The Talisman by Sir Walter Scott

The next audiobook was my second read of Scott (I have a print copy of Ivanhoe, which I could probably stand to reread), and takes us back to King Richard and the Crusades. The former seems a favourite of Scott, and here is definitely portrayed as the absolute flower of chivalry. Richard (and to an extent Sir Kenneth, narrator and protagonist of the tale) far prefers an honourable enemy (as he considers Saladin) to a dishonourable ally (all those who feel it’s time to give up the crusade), but can he really fight on honour alone?

47. Underground to Canada by Barbara Smucker

The last ‘travel book’ tells of two young girls raised in slavery in 19th century America, who upon being ‘sold South’ choose to flee North along the Underground Railway. It isn’t a long book, and gets across the horrors of slavery without being too graphic for even a sheltered adolescent. It’s well written, and includes both adventure and emotion.

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Going around in circles

Thursday, 29 May 2008

I took my Gardening Bag and its strap-in-progress and spool to the knitting etc group tonight, which was fun. I overlapped briefly (I was late) with someone crocheting granny squares, and the others were knitting socks, so we were all working around and around, and mostly on tubes!

I went straight to a great shiur afterwards, and did a few more rows before it began, and then later on during it, when my general level of fatigue was inclining me to drop off unless I had some kind of physical movement going on. I made sure to be mostly looking up at the lecturer, and obviously paying attention as I worked my spool! Now I just have to work on not being angry and frustrated (mostly with myself), as that’s what the shiur was on.

138. The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood

This is one of those Atwood books I really enjoyed, for its comedy, cynicism, cultural and literary references, and general silliness, pointedly based on the silliness in the Odyssey and Iliad. Penelope is a great narrator, knowing about the events of her era but completely oblivious to the real feelings of those beneath her. It’s not that she doesn’t care about her maids, say, but she just doesn’t believe their emotions outweigh her needs.

139. The Story of Slavery by Sarah Courtauld

And this book gives some background as to how a Penelope might come to devalue the sentiments of a maid or other slave, no matter their normal interactions. It does focus later on 18th and 19th century slavery in America, but has brief chapters earlier on about how widespread the variants of the practice were, throughout time and place.

140. Archie’s War: My Scrapbook of the First World War by Marcia Williams

While not an original, authentic, scrapbook of a young and adolescent boy in WWI London, it certainly seems like it could have been. There is a lot of information about the time and attitudes of that time in a believable story. The illustrations are very good.