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dmard has commented on (31) products.

Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down by Rosecrans Baldwin
Paris, I Love You But You're Bringing Me Down

dmard, August 16, 2015

For those of you longing to chuck it all and move to Paris, this is your much less expensive reality check. Life is much the same where ever you live and every town, even Paris, has it's good and bad aspects.
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Go Set a Watchman by Harper Lee
Go Set a Watchman

dmard, August 9, 2015

Simply brilliant.

In my opinion, all of the speculation about why the book was so long in coming out is completely wrong. Harper Lee's message was simply before it's time.

Watchman is a beautiful rendition of both an inner journey and a societal journey that is still struggling to come to terms. Society has just now come far enough to make it the perfect time for Watchman to be published.

To Kill a Mockingbird was recognized as being a great book in large part for exposing in acceptable terms a great evil of the society for that time. The political and judicial systems were rigged against African Americans. Mockingbird succeeded in allowing much of white society to accept that simple fact. It was ground breaking and it helped to start some of the political changes that needed to happen in this country.

The issue of racism was a difficult conversation to have in American society at the time of Mockingbird. It pointed out that there was substantial reason to doubt our own government. Lee did so in a gentle and respectful manner. It delivered a message that many people were ready to hear. Society was certainly NOT ready for the message of Go Set a Watchman and it release then would certainly have set her reputation as an author on a far different trajectory.

Go Set a Watchman takes the polite message of To Kill a Mockingbird and blows it wide open. Lee strips off the southern etiquette of Mockingbird and proceeds to rip the bandaid off of the social discourse of racism. Watchman than lets it bleed freely allowing the wound to be throughly cleansed. Scout and Lee rage at injustices which no one else was willing to acknowledge. She would certainly have been blackballed by her own community and much of the country. Mockingbird would have been forgotten as the work of a once promising, but thoroughly exposed radical extremist.

Thank goodness they waited to publish Watchman. Holding it back until society was more prepared to grapple with the truths revealed there was necessary to allow the seed planted by Mockingbird to flourish. It also made it possible for Watchman to stand on the shoulders of Mockingbird as Lee's crowning societal statement. It's a statement whose time has come and will be more accepted in part due to the strength of Lee's reputation that was allowed to become part of our literary foundation.

Society is still grappling with major issues of racism and it still deeply uncomfortable with the conversation. Much of the conservative population continues to assert that racism doesn't exist. Black Lives Matter is a movement that attempted to bring to the collective consciousness the fact that African Americans are being incarcerated and killed by police officers at disproportionate and alarming rates. There are, in fact, MORE African Americans incarcerated now than were ENSLAVED in the South. Conservative factions not only deny this ongoing and despicable reality, they go even further to blame the victims.

In addition, the Voters Rights Act was recently weakened by the Supreme Court causing minorities to have more restricted access to the vote. In short, the rights of minorities in this country have been scaled back in recent years due to conservative influences. The current leaders of the Republican party are, even now, seeking to scale back the rights of minorities still more.

Our country is in a social crisis, due in large part to the fact that many people are simply not paying attention to what is happening in politics.

It is the perfect time for Scout to reappear and shine the light on the ugliness of conservative thought towards minorities and to bring us back to working towards JUSTICE FOR ALL in America.

I for one, applaud Lee's efforts
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The Privilege of the Sword by Ellen Kushner
The Privilege of the Sword

dmard, June 6, 2015

This is a very engaging concept of a girl being forced to dress as a boy and trained to be her odd uncle's protector. I really enjoyed grappling with the idea of a girl coming to terms with the strange reality forced upon her during a period when being able to see a woman's ankles or legs was scandalous. I could also appreciate that the girl was eventually able to feel a certain appreciation and even pride in herself in highly unusual circumstances. Unfortunately, as the main character's life goes from remarkable back to a completely ordinary life of a girl of her time, so goes the storyline. It could just have effectively been ended with, "and she lived happily ever after." It was a disappointing ending after having my expectations raised so high.
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Loving Frank: A Novel by Nancy Horan
Loving Frank: A Novel

dmard, April 30, 2015

What a wonderful way to learn about historical people! Horan has taken the dry facts of Frank Lloyd Wright and breathed life into him and his long time partner who was an early feminist. It acknowledges the very real complexity of their lives without judgement.
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Wave by Suzy Lee

dmard, April 25, 2015

Great book without words. It's simply a young kid's day at the coast complete with a flock of seagulls, the waves of the ocean and imagination.
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