Thursday, February 26, 2015

Refuge: An Unnatural History of Family and PlaceRefuge: An Unnatural History of Family and Place by Terry Tempest Williams
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Refuge – what an excellent book to bring one up short about prejudices. I knew of this book for years but feared the theme was too religious and nature study for my taste. I knew the author was Mormon and lived in Utah and the book had to do with birds. As soon as I read a few pages, I was awed by the beauty of the writing, the themes of refuge and grief undertaken by the writer, a naturalist. I even became interested in the different birds described in each chapter and read the book with a Peterson’s Guide to Birds on my lap. The interesting thing about the story is that Refuge might be described by some as a book about losing one’s mother to cancer and seeking a way through grief and loss while others might say it is a book about nature and the birds losing their habitat due to climate changes and pollution. It’s both and richer for it. I can’t recommend it highly enough to both memoir readers and nature lovers and any thoughtful reader.

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Kindred by Octavia Butler

KindredKindred by Octavia E. Butler
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Although I was not enthusiastic about this book club choice, I am glad to have read it. It generated a lively discussion about the themes of slavery and oppression which arise when a modern (1976) African American woman finds herself travelling back in time to 1819 on a Maryland farm, forced to rescue an ancestor to assure his and her own survival, and she must live as a slave in doing so. The writing struck me as clear but not lyrical. There was almost too much dialog at times but the story is a good one and trundled me along to its unsatisfactory ending. The protagonist and her husband do a little historical research but never really resolve this strange occurrence and how it permanently changed their lives.

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