Review: On the Road by Jack Kerouac

2552Okay, confession, I don’t even know what “beat lit” is….and if this is an example, I don’t want to know any more.

If I understood “beat lit” would it make me love this book? Appreciate it more? I don’t think so. I didn’t find it well written. I didn’t find it interesting. I didn’t find it anything except me glad to finish it. I saw lots of sex, some more sex, some sex with adults and minors, some drugs, some thieving, more sex, lies, disregard of promises and responsibilities….rinse and repeat…

Please don’t tell me it was the generation. Please don’t tell me it was a rebellion against society and the government. Please don’t tell me I don’t understand. It might have been different if all of what was portrayed was mutual and done with honesty between both parties…but to me it just stank of the selfishness of some parties on various levels….

If you’re more enlightened than me and you know it, feel free to bask in that knowledge whilst I bask in the knowledge that I didn’t enjoy any of this book…

Call if my own personal rebellion of the “American Classics and Beat Lit”…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now On the Road by Jack Kerouac

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Review (revisted): I Am Malala: The Girl Who Stood Up for Education and Was Shot by the Taliban by Malala Yousafzai, Christina Lamb

20131210-215528.jpgIf you live under a rock and don’t know who Malala is please read this book. If you know and have no interest because you don’t wish to hurdle into a group based on her religion or nationality, read this book. If you have little hope for the future of humanity, again, read this book. Finally, if you’re aware of who Malala is and commend her for all that she has done, if you think you grasp most of the facts, please, take a moment and at least read the epilogue. I learnt a lot from this read. I learnt more about the politics of Malala’s country then I have reading several more famous books. Every bit helps in my understanding of the complexity of these countries. Especially hard to do when you’re like me, and lucky to be born into a country that has a stable government. Where it is safe to walk the streets unescorted. Where a girl can walk without fear whilst holding a book in public. Where a woman can walk into any hospital unescorted and be treated for injuries. Malala and millions of other women have not been so lucky. However, Malala, even as young as she is, has a passion for politics and understands them…she is even, at times, able to manipulate those political unrests and bend them to her favour. She is also young enough to be frank about politics and to be sensible about them. She is not trying to bend or mould them into something to ensure her own political gain. It’s so much easier to see things when the speaker is not trying to manipulate the story to cover their own agendas. Malala is honest and upfront with her desires. A world where we are all equal, educated, and free to follow our own heart’s calling….

The epilogue is a true bright and shiny gem. It sums up the changes and challenges she and her family now face. It sums up her belief system and her love for her country. As well as why she can’t go back. But mostly, I hope that you can see the young woman who has sacrificed so much and asked for so little. Sacrifices I dare say that no one reading this review (myself included) would ever be brave enough to make…and she does it with such grace to make it look like it wasn’t a sacrifice at all, but an honour. She might be a noble peace prize winner…but first and foremost, she is a young girl, a daughter, a silly girl with silly friends, a student, a misfit, a nerd, a Muslim….first and foremost, she is just like any of us…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now I Am Malala

Review: American Sniper by Chris Kyle

11887020I could go all on about how America needs people like Chris Kyle. Yea, I reckon they do. Without people such as Kyle, the world wouldn’t go ’round. My little bit of experience with the military reinforces what I felt about this book. Certain individuals are born for military service and the military is quick to see who they are. They are also quick to *train* them further for their needs.

But, hey ho, I said I wasn’t going to go there….

Why did I hate this book? I, personally, didn’t believe a word Kyle said. Yes, I believe the stories. But I somehow doubt his genuine feelings for his family, his country, and most of all, his modesty. Every single time (okay, maybe only AFTER the first half-dozen times he stated it) he said it was luck and not skill that earned him the title, I felt like he was SCREAMING, “I have to say that, but we all know I’m the BEST.” I just found his entire attitude judgmental (whether or not it was about his wife, his fellow comrades, or the civilians he was sworn to help). I felt he thought his was the most important viewpoint and no one else’s was valid. Even when he spoke of past war combats, he stated that they really didn’t understand what it was like for him. This might be true…but nor does he understand what it was like for them. There could possibly be more than one way to win a war, and certainly more than one objective. Kyle was trained for one aspect of that, and trained well, and he did well at his job….However, that doesn’t mean he’s above those others that trained in different areas and did their absolute best to back him and to do their job, no matter how lacking the conditions might have proved to be for them…

I don’t think Kyle won the war all by himself, no matter how much he might think he did…

Again, sorry for those that loved the book…I might have felt different it was told by someone else…however, there just wasn’t room for any love for me in this one…his ego kept getting in the way…

Until next time…

Urania xx

Buy it now American Sniper by Chris Kyle

Review: Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina by Lisa Karlin

518K729yxgL._SX311_BO1,204,203,200_It’s been ten years since the unforgettable devastation known as Katrina came ashore. Ten years since families were displaced, homes were destroyed, lives were lost. Such a long time ago, but yet not so very long ago. And although I’ve read many different accounts of the tragedy, every new one that comes along immediately catches my eye.

In this newest telling, we are given an insider’s view of what one family encountered in the days leading up to the hurricane as well as their recovery process. This family is somewhat different from what most of us know from television accounts. They’re white, middle class (at least) and living comfortably. Mom is a nurse and dad is a surgeon. Kids one and two are enrolled in private school. They have a nice home in a nice neighborhood. And most importantly, they have the means to evacuate as Katrina bears down on the city.

I’ll admit, I had to sit on this one for a bit after finishing it. I knew that I wanted to write a review, but I wasn’t quite sure in which direction I wanted to go. The author does provide a very real, honest account of her family’s experiences. However, it’s hard to feel much sympathy for someone whose home escaped mostly intact while so many lost everything they owned. And how does a tree in a pool and rotten food compare with the loss of a loved one?

But the more I reflected on it, the more I appreciated this unique perspective on the Karlin family’s experience. Because who am I to determine what an authentic story is? And I give the author much credit for never minimizing the horror of what others went through. In fact, at several points throughout the story she makes a point of noting that so many others had it so much worse than her family did.

Mostly, I admire the hope and passion for New Orleans that is woven throughout this book. The author makes it clear that there’s no love lost for those who were in power ten years ago. Powerful people who, by the way, dropped the ball in a very big way. She also makes it very clear why she and her family made the decision to return to a city that many felt wasn’t deserving of rebuilding efforts. To quote a well-known phrase: “I’m not a native of New Orleans. Although I wasn’t born here, I got here as fast as I could.”

~Thalia

Buy It Now: Below the Water Line: Getting Out, Going Back, and Moving Forward in the Decade After Hurricane Katrina