Thursday, September 1, 2016

August Books

Time to do the obligatory monthly reading post. I feel like I might be missing something, but anyway here are the books I remember reading in the last few weeks. 

I've been wanting to read this book for awhile. Elder Richard G. Hinckley came to my church ward when I was a young teenager and he quoted from this book in his talk, and since then, I've known I needed to read it. Don't know why it didn't happen til now. 

I think this is an absolutely beautiful book. It shows how Africans lived around the onset of apartheid in South Africa. The story of Stephen Kumalo's trip to Johannesburg to find his sister and his son, both who have turned to crime to support themselves in the city, discusses the issues surrounding urbanization, poverty, crime, tribal culture and the end of tribal culture, race, family dynamics and the importance of healthy family structures in society...there's just so much in here. Even though the book was about a preacher and societal issues, it never got "preachy." It just told a story about one family's sorrow in a way that was somehow simple and bare but also poetic. 

Mostly, though Cry, the Beloved Country is a story about forgiveness and compassion, and that's why it was beautiful. I thought the compassion demonstrated by the characters was all the more poignant because each and every character was presented as flawed, even very flawed. And I'm not talking about Absalom Kumalo, who committed murder. I'm talking about the heroes of the book. This  is just one of those stories that leaves me both thinking but also in peace. Even flawed people can commit great acts of charity, and even extremely flawed cultures can produce people who are capable of incredible love. Regardless of your opinion of how societal problems should be addressed, this book is an eye-opener. 

Okay, I've written too much already, so I'll just say, here are the other books I read: 

Some light comedy and some light economics. My favorite anecdote from the books above was about the social structure and economics of drug dealers in Chicago. DON'T DO DRUGS, JUST SAY NO. 

Public libraries are really some of my favorite places, and I mean that wholly without sarcasm. I have 6 or 7 books on hold at the library right now. It's nice to know I have good taste I guess...or at least the same taste as everyone else in Jacksonville? 

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