Monday, February 28, 2011
of Jewish refugees from Moslem lands. The book is "In Ishmael's House" by Sir Martin Gilbert. It tells the history of the Jews in Moslem, mostly Arab lands and how they were treated. Sometimes they thrived but often they were persecuted. It's no wonder they wanted a country of their own where they wouldn't be treated as second class citizens and at the mercy of others. He ends by saying that peace in the Middle East while recognizing the rights of Palestinian refugees must also recognize the rights of Jewish refugees from Arab lands....some 850,000 of them in the years after the 1948 Israeli war. It's a sad story.
Friday, February 18, 2011
wanted to read but didn't know existed until recently..."The Great Ideas (how to think about), by Mortimer Adler. He tackles all the big questions of society and starts with the difference between knowledge and opinion and goes on to discuss democracy: "When the majority tries to settle controversial issues by using pressures and propoganda instead of resorting to rational persuasion, then the weight of numbers is as bad as the force of guns and bombs." That answers a question I had: "How is majority rule different from dictatorship, especially when the majority is wrong?" I'm looking forward to the rest where he discusses among other things: the different kinds of love, art, beauty, how to read a book!, work, leisure, law. He has the ability to clear the confusion and explain things simply. Excellent.
Sunday, February 13, 2011
I've just finished reading "The Golden Spruce" by John Vaillant. It's a story of the Pacific northwest forests, Haida Gwai - the Queen Charlotte Islands - the native people and the logging industry. The first chapter is a description of the mysterious, mist shrouded forests of the BC and Alaska coastlines. We saw these first hand on our cruise in September 2009, how beautiful they are. Vaillancourt's book speaks of the devastation the logging industry has caused to this region and across North America, though he's not unsympathetic to the loggers. He speaks about the impact of the industry and the results of contact with Europeans on the Haida people of the Queen Charlottes, and he writes well. This book is a national bestseller and has won the Governer General's Award for non fiction. It's not an easy read, I was tempted to give up half way through but I'm glad I persevered.
Thursday, February 3, 2011
.....Shakespeare. Loving "A Midsummer Night's Dream". It's a charming tale full of Elizabethan fun, it must have taken the minds of the people off of the events happening at the time. Is Shakespeare making a mock of how romantic love can make fools of us all? the plot is cleverly woven and the dialogue delightful. Why have I waited all this time to re read it?? On Saturday I'm going to watch the DVD... a BBC production with Helen Mirren and other actors that I recognize....looking forward to it.