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Shoshana has commented on (398) products.

Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite Van Geldermalsen
Married to a Bedouin

Shoshana, May 31, 2010

an Geldermalsen's memoir of meeting a Jordanian Bedouin when she was traveling in her early 20's, marrying him, having children with him, and their life in a cave in Petra. He sold souvenirs; she became a medical assistant.

A matter-of-fact recollection told in a straightforward manner, without a great deal of emotional depth. Still, it's very interesting for its details of daily life as a young New Zealander adapting to living in a very different culture.
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(5 of 10 readers found this comment helpful)



The Year of the Flood by Margaret Atwood
The Year of the Flood

Shoshana, May 31, 2010

A dystopian "sidequel" to Oryx and Crake; that is, it recounts others' lives and actions that are parallel to (or intersect with) those of Snowman and Crake. While not as lyrical as the first book, it's still engaging, with vivid descriptions and lively characters. It takes the reader to the point at which Oryx and Crake ended, and a little farther. Although I found Snowman to be a frightened, passive schmuck in the first book, this was important to the joke of the narrative, to the extent that the climax could be a joke. Here, Snowman seems simply pathetic and confused, though arguably this is due to his delirium. The protagonists' stories are more intimate but seem less important and I found the book overall to be less engaging. This troubles me given that the first book was the men's experiences, while this one was the women's. Overall, the narrative seemed to fill in more details rather than add new, significant plot elements.

Reviews by Jeanette Winterson and Ursula Le Guin that were published in major newspapers included surprisingly big errors or misunderstandings of Atwood's plots. If these were poor writers or reviewers not familiar with speculative fiction I'd leave it alone, but with such luminaries behind the misrepresentations, I was troubled.
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(4 of 7 readers found this comment helpful)



Syren: Septimus Heap, Book Five (Septimus Heap #05) by Angie Sage
Syren: Septimus Heap, Book Five (Septimus Heap #05)

Shoshana, May 31, 2010

As the characters mature, they gain in power and have more complex relationships. I'm sad to say that I found this installment rather wearying. I wondered where the story was going, and also had a hard time caring. This made for a more passive reading experience. I found myself wondering what this book contributed to the series story arc, or whether it was more picaresque than anything else. I hope not; I want these details gathered up and nicely integrated in the remaining two books.
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(6 of 11 readers found this comment helpful)



Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance by Barack Obama
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance

Shoshana, May 31, 2010

Obama's autobiography to 1995. It's a little dry at times, though all of the content is interesting. Since he wrote it before his presidential bid, it's much less guarded/sanitized than it could have been if written later. He describes a lot of the phenomena associated with being black or multiracial in the U.S., and some of the ways that colonialism affected Africans. I could see teaching with it in a graduate diversity course.
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(4 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)



Rick Steves' Travel as a Political Act by Rick Steves
Rick Steves' Travel as a Political Act

Shoshana, May 31, 2010

This is a series of chapter-long travelogues on the themes of getting to know people of different cultures. Steves's suggestions are what you'd expect if you've watched his show--talk with people in the places you're traveling, stop and sit awhile at a little restaurant or cafe, try to learn about a country from the people who live there. Steves does a pretty good job of articulating some of his dilemmas while traveling--the difficulty of reconciling national security with an appreciate for others' autonomy, for example. The photos are plentiful and the book, printed on heavy stock, feels substantial. What it's not is a manifesto; rather, it's a set of related narratives.
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(3 of 5 readers found this comment helpful)



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