Friday, March 1, 2019

So much that I am still figuring out

March 1, 2019
It feels sometimes  like a slap across the face how much I really don't know about a lot of things, especially involving race and racism. I am a white woman in a society that values whiteness over diversity. Yes, things have changed significantly, but racism still is a challenge faced by many, many fellow Americans. I have spent a great deal of time over my sabbatical this year reading with one of my goals being to read more about experiences of non-white people. The latest book I've read is Americanah by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie. This book was on my list of reads for a really long time. The author is descriptive and at times with heart wrenching detail challenges facing Africans who live in America. It is also a tender story of love along with race and of course identity as well.  I agree with the author when she speaks about whites who say racism is over.  On page 429 there is an excerpt from a "blog" that is targeted to whites: "race is it really exist for you because it has never been a barrier. Black folks don't have that choice."  Racism is not over in fact I don't know really if it ever will be. I felt so white and privileged when I read this book and so out of touch with so many people who face difficulties every day. 

Monday, January 14, 2019

A couple of more reads

I read two new books in the last few weeks:
Up From Slavery by Booker T Washington: One of the most powerful and poignant books I have read. His ability to compassionately and eloquently bring differing people together to build Tuskegee University is aspiring for our current times. He understood the importance of education, including vocational education, for everyone, including African-Americans. It is an uplifting and important read. Made me understood how little I know.

Here are a few quotes I found particularly relevant and moving:
That any man, regardless of color, will be recognized and rewarded just in proportion as he learns to do something well-learns to do it better than anyone else-however humble the thing might be. p. 280

When I can leave my office in time so that I can spend 30 or 40 minutes in spading the ground, in planting seeds, in digging about the plants, I feel that I am contact with something that is giving me strength for the many duties and hard places that await me out in the big world. p. 265

Nothing ever comes to one, that is worth having, except as a result of hard work. p. 188

I learned the lesson that great men cultivate love, and that only little men cherish a spirit of hatred. p. 165

Time and again he said to me [his mentor General Armstrong]hat it was not only the duty of the country to assist in elevating the Negro, but the poor white man as well. p. 294

Camino Island by John Grisham is another quick romp. More detective plot than the usual law or court that he writes about.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Catching up

My reading has slowed down some in the last few weeks, but I still have 4 more books to add to the list. I have been captivated by John Grisham novels in the last few weeks. I read his work with earnest many years ago but had to set real reading for pleasure aside because of my professional work. And it’s been just a delight to get lost in those novels.

Sycamore Row is a legal thriller medicine it’s in the same town as one of the first books that he wrote a time to kill. Racism is at the heart of the book.

Rooster Bar is about third year law school students who leave a for profit law school in order to uncover the scam related to financing law school for students who might not really be qualified. The characters didn’t really seem to have a moral compass and make laws left and right but do uncover financial scams.

Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders is a book of the Bill Gates book list. It is a fascinating book that unfolds in a very unique way. The entire book takes place in a graveyard after the death of Willie Lincoln. Saunders tells the story through a chorus of voices who are in purgatory in about a 24-hour period. Enchanting.

Sunday, September 16, 2018

Incremental Musings for Today

Because I have the gift of sabbatical I am committing every day to doing  somethings that I really enjoy doing and not focus solely on work and research. During sabbatical I hope to read at least 40 books that are not related to my research or my writing and represent literature of the world, both fiction and nonfiction.  I will use this blog to  log the books that I read during my year of sabbatical. I begin today with a couple of books I picked up at a free little library and also one by John Grisham from the Public Library. 

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham: Captivating Story of a lawyer to take some really interesting, bizzarre and dangerous cases. Relevant commentary on police brutality and other shenanigans of politicians and our judicial system.

The Whistler by John Grisham: This is a very entertaining story and quick read about an investigation into a  corrupt judge, organized crime, thugs and other colorful characters. In typical Grisham style, the book delves into  the nuances of the legal system and judicial practices. 

State of Wonder: Anne Patchett: First book that I read by Anne Patchett.  The book is a complicated scenario about medical and genetic research in the Amazon with a pharmaceutical company. I found the description of the Amazon interesting and exhausting at times. Does give some interesting character analysis and plot  given the times and what we read in the press, seems credible most of the time.  Did not care for the ending of this book and felt it was not true to the scope of the character analysis.

I am Malala: Malala Yousafzai: like many I have been intrigued by the incredible work of this young human being Malala. I can see why this book was it that a bestseller. The beginning of the book is a lengthy description of the history of the area where she is from in Pakistan called Swat. Her account of being shot by the Taliban  and her inspirational recovery and determination to continue to advocate for education for women and girls makes this an incredibly compelling read.

Friday, August 31, 2018


This is a blog of my ruminations of an incremental nature. It has already been several years since I posted on this blog, I intend to remedy that over the next year while I am on Academic sabbatical. I find it helpful to journal and reflect  of the nuances of my own being and living.  This year I hope to take a pause and really work on my own well-being not just the physical part but the  other aspects of a healthy being including social, emotional and resiliency well-being.  I have devoted way too much of the past forty years to work.  I am eager to start to figure out what might be next for me  as my workdays start to wann.

My body is also telling me that it is time to slow down and rest.  I have a very stubborn dejuvarex tenosintovitis.  That is a type of tendinitis that I have in my right wrist caused by overuse over many years of doing work and very intense work on a laptop.  It has flared up again so that now I am in a cast.  Purple cast.  I also  experienced a long summer of digestive malaise and discomfort.  All of my tests and even a CAT scan came back as normal,  which is it course and enormous relief. I feel the universe  within my body is speaking loudly that I’m overdoing it and I need to stop and really dig in to some respite.  Thus with the help of audio to text, I hope to do a little documentation of what I try to do to slow down and really put a period for now behind my internal mental to do list.