Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Tears of the Desert by Halima Bashir

I recently read the book Tears of the Desert for the Early Reviewers program on Library Thing. Halima Bashir's memoir touched my soul so deeply that I couldn't sit back any longer. I have also read The Translator by Daoud Hari for Library Thing. Both of these memoirs had me in tears and drained emotionally. How lucky for me that I am only reading about the horror. How lucky for me they are visions of the rape, torture, suffering, pain and genocide. It was gut wrenching to think, what about the real victims and witnesses of the crimes and tragedy being committed daily? They may escape the country, but as Bashir would tell you, sometimes she would have rather died than live. I can only imagine that they hold the atrocities they witnessed or submitted to, in some deep cavern of their soul forever.

Review of Tears of the Desert

by Halima Bashir is a poignant memoir capable of producing copious empathetic tears. During the first part of the book, the author recounts her childhood and family life growing up in a village in South Dafur. She establishes a beautiful picture of the Zaghawa tribe culture, her feelings, her aspirations and how she relates to all family members. An extended family surrounds her, most importantly, a father who adores her and her feisty Grandma Sumah, a traditionalist with an iron will. As the pleasant images of her upbringing unfold there are also some which are considered barbaric in other cultures. However, involving the reader in this way she makes you a captive caring companion to her feelings and ideas.

During the next part of the story, she shares the tragic atrocities that were inflicted upon her. She details her eyewitness account of horrors of death and suffering in her village and country. Several times during the retelling of her brutal beating and gang rape by the Sudanese Government supported army, Halima prays for death, prays for an end to her suffering. She would rather die than live. A Memoir of Survival in Darfur, the book’s subtitle really is her survival from despair, hopelessness, and the dark depths of depression. She now believes she survived to be a messenger, to be able to share her personal tragedy with the world community.

As the book concludes, you reflect on this story of survival, courage and tenacity of will few of us can even fathom. The atrocities she witnessed and the torture she endured are graphic and uncensored. This is a reality that every world citizen must face. Her hope is that her story will shed more light on the situation in Darfur so that the international community will help end the pain, suffering and genocide.

Readers will find the epilogue with the details of the history and causes for the current situation in Darfur informative. Organizations are listed for those looking for ways to assist the people of Darfur.

I was moved to tears by this memoir of Halima Bashir. There were difficult moments while reading where I just couldn’t even comprehend the sick savage inhumane treatment inflicted upon Ms. Bashir. I hope that she will find her family and continue to have the will to fight the fight as Grandma Sumah would have. Highly recommended.
Cross posted on Library Thing (loves2read)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Translator by Daoud Hari

Cross-posted from Library Thing

February 4, 2008

A disturbing, suspenseful, emotional success!!!!!! Prepare to stay in your seat when you begin this book. I received my Early Reviewer copy in the mail in the afternoon and couldn’t go to bed until I had finished this book. Daoud has written a masterful memoir about his homeland Darfur and what life, survival and death is like in his region of the Sudan. He takes you through his travels as a translator risking his life to get the story out. You feel his pain and suffering as he is a spectator to the sick senseless loss of family and friends. Often he is the unwilling bystander to the complete annihilation of villages and people. He will have you quickly turning pages as he describes the way of life for the villagers, their fears of looming death and the brutal sadistic torture they endure. Chills and trepidation abound as they face the thunderous approach of the ruthless rebels. He observes all the chaos and continues to risk his life to help his people. In the book he escapes one day from rebels and, you weep for him when he sees a little girl, waving goodbye. He knows she will not survive the day. He cannot save her. Then you also weep for the little girl and all the other pointless dead. I was not prepared for the contents of this book, but I am grateful to Daoud Hari. His memoir is a requisite read for the world toward gaining a better understanding of the plight of the people of Darfur.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Sunday Salon, Saye by Jeremy H. Walker

Debut Author

This week, it is with pleasure that I present to Sunday Salon, the review of a debut author and illustrator, who is not only a talented writer, but a gifted artist proficient in multimedia presentations. His book SAYE, is the first of five books in a series of science fiction, fantasy. He is currently looking for a literary agent who will represent him. Jeremy Walker is someone to watch!!!

SAYE, by Jeremy Walker

is a deeply rich debut fantasy novel by a young author whose name you will not want to forget. The story is brilliantly crafted with characters he has developed over many years from his early sketches. This refreshingly original book is futuristically visionary and captivating.

The story takes place on the planet Valiku near the constellation Cephues. The planet is inhabited by living beings of two races the kinth and the kolntas. The story is about a thirteen year old girl named Saye, who is abandoned after a long bloody battle. The war between the two races of Valiku,ended in the defeat of the kolntas. Saye has mixed heritage and has been adorned with the beauty from her kinth mother, and the symbol of the kolntas on her forehead from her father.

Saye is discovered by Hilonya, a messenger of the kinth who is riding by on her endelo. She spots Saye as she is running into a cave. With reluctance and trepidation Saye decides to follow Hilonya to Jayxen City, making the wise decision that she has no other choice. Saye is always guarded and doesn’t care much for Hilonya, especially when she tries to cover Saye’s head with a blanket before entering the city. What Saye doesn’t realize is the symbol on her forehead, is a tatoo that will draw attention to her difference. Although she looks kinth, she has the trait of a kolntas. Hilonya fears for the girls safety and wishes only to protect her from possible prejudice and hate from the people of Jayxen.

As the story continues the challenge for Saye is developing her sense of self having kinth/kolntas heritage, in a world composed of kinth people. The path is not easy for Saye and she is full of fury and foreboding.

Readers will relate to this story on so many levels. Saye is a timeless tale told with a sensitive heart. I'm anxiously awaiting Book 2, I couldn't put this one down. Highly recommended.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Read-a-thon, October 18, 2008

1st update:
I had unexpected surprise company this weekend, obviously my plans to participate in the read-a-thon changed. I will begin reading once my guest retires at least for a little while. The first book I plan to read is Drinkwater, by Eric Hopkins. I guess I'll have to call this a mini-marathon for my first time. Next event I hope it will be 24hours. I hope everyone is doing well so far. Please let me know how you are doing. Good luck.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Bookworm's Dinner Children, Oct. 13, 2008

Please visit my new blog for children's book reviews. Click here. I will be blogging about children's picture books, teen novels, and young adult on this site. I hope you will continue to share your comments on this site as well as Bookworm's Dinner. I am holding a raffle on the new site as a kick off, so please check it out. As always, Donna

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sunday Salon, October 12, 2008 Raffle Winner

Raffle Winner of Gap Creek

Congratulations to Lesa from Lesa's Book Critiques. The winner of Gap Creek.
Lesa please send me your snail mail address to my email so that I can send the book out.

This week's excitement

...Thursday I had a day off which was great. I had hoped to spend the day reading, but an appraiser and appointments interrupted that plan. Oh well, the house looks great anyway. A friend is visiting from Vermont and we managed a long visit at the Hickory Stick Bookshop in Washington Depot, CT yesterday. This is a fabulous independent bookstore in the heart of the Litchfield Hills. The bucolic setting, the weather, and the idyllic ride in the country was perfect. Several books later my friend and I left the shop and walked around the town. I bought the best hat and my friend bought an awesome jacket. We topped it off with a couple of lattes and headed on to another venue. It's great to have the kind of friend that can be comfortable for hours in a bookstore.
Ok..I haven't bought any books in a long, long, time. I couldn't contain myself yesterday. I purchased:

Blood River by Tim Butcher
Angel of Grozny,Orphans of a Forgotten War by Asne Seierstad

Asne Seierstad is the author of Bookseller of Kabel, a book I really enjoyed.
My comments on Library Thing were noted: Well done!!! What a fantastic view of the life of a family in Kabul, Afghanistan as they live. Seierstad, a journalist convinces Sultan Kahn to live with his family and write about their daily life. This is not a journal or diary as you may expect. The author crafts this book to read like a novel and you are there as a member of this family. Surprisingly, she does not seem to hold back in her portrayal of the male role in the family especially Sultan (father) and eldest son (Mansur). I highly recommend this for anyone looking to experience as the author did, "life behind the burka."

Currently Reading

Drinkwater by Eric Hopkins
The Last Undercover by Bob Hamer

Have a great Sunday. See you next week. The dogs are getting hungry and won't let me write until I feed them.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Sunday Salon October 5, 2008

Murderers in Mausoleum, Riding the Back Roads of Empire Between Moscow and Beijing

by Jeffrey Tayler
Publishing Date Jan. 27, 2009

Reading Murderers in Mausoleums, you will gain a vital understanding of Russia and China; their culture, their ideals, their fears, their struggles as our global neighbors. Jeffrey Tayler, is a correspondent whose purpose in writing the book is to find out for himself how the people who were once the oppressed are now viewing a renaissance taking place in their countries. He also wants to talk with the people deep within the country, to get a sense of how they feel about the West, especially the United States. What he hears will astonish you.

The book is a journal of his 7,200 mile trip that begins in Red Square and ends in Tiananmen Square. Travel is undeniably a hardship with many obstacles to overcome. Schedules are not always followed. Passports are checked with no consistency. The ubiquitous guards perusing papers will often hold Tayler for a payoff, or just to be officious and obnoxious. He endures extreme hostile climatic conditions, stress from potential threats to his life and difficult barriers that others would not have crossed. I applaud with my deepest respect his valiant pursuit to achieve his goal. Some areas he visited he claims no westerner has ever seen. Amazing!

Tayler uncovers spectacular lies told and perpetuated throughout Russian history. Tayler pays close attention as a citizen of Karaganda, ( the second largest city in Kazakhstan) discusses when coal was discovered in his town during Stalin’s reign. The story of Karaganda is a sorrowful one and amazingly a work camp called Karlag, created by Stalin did not close until 1958. This cover-up speaks to the cruelty and prejudice of Stalin’s nature which is an astonishing story to read.

Murderers in Mausoleums a reference to the leaders who we know now were murderers, not rulers, has the excitement of a novel. At the same time it contains a valuable visual and oral history. This plurality creates a harmonious balance that should capture the attention of those readers who shun history books. Jeffrey Tayler the transcontinental traveler who stops at nothing to get an interview offers a rare insiders look from so far away. Shocking and alluring, this book offers both. Highly recommended.

In the notebook...

1.If you like Children's Literature see Saturday's Blog for seasonal selections.
2.Don't forget to enter a comment so that you will be entered in the raffle for Gap Creek, Drawing to take place October 8th midnight..

New Children's Books,Saturday Oct. 4th 2008


Homemade Halloween by Fox Chapel Publishing (Author), 2008, $14.95, 79pp. ISBN 978-1-56523-382-9

Just in time for family fun without too much fright this colorful comprehensive manual of easy, quick ideas to decorate for Halloween is here. The book is segmented into four parts. Under Dandy Disguises, you will find step by step, how to instructions including the materials needed to make great costumes for kids. Ghoulish Gatherings, as you can imagine will give you the best recipes and games for a paranormal party with panache. The Haunted House section includes just what you need to change your home into a spooky surprise. All this is can be accomplished by using the patterns and cutout in the last section of ten pages at the back of the book. The photographs are in color showing detailed angles to support your successful finished product. The publisher used real models and photos are of the real objects. Highly recommended.

Little Dragon and the Haunted House by Anni Axworthy, September 1, 2008, $9.95, 32pp., 978-1840894776.

Adorable and fun Halloween story of Little Dragon who dreams of owning his own haunted house. He could do this because he is a very special dragon. No one fears him. He can't blow flames. He can't even fly and he is a brilliant bright blue. However, he has lots of money because something strange happens when Little Dragon cries. His tears turn to pure gold. He lives with his friend Jago and Jago's family in a very small house. After watching a television movie on day Little Dragon decides to buy a haunted house. When Little Dragon finally finds a haunted house he likes, he buys it and they all move in. He begins to frighten the previous occupants of the house and he surprises you with his cleverness. Highly recommended for ages 4-8.

Anni Axworthy has also written another story of Little Dragon called, The Dragon Who Couldn't Do Dragony Things