About Me

My photo

I'm a single Mormon Democrat, an NPR & BBC news junkie, a dog lover, opera buff, bookavore, migraineur, knows just enough about technology to be a danger to myself, fan of James Bond and Godzilla. 

Micah 6:8; D&C 11:20 

"do justly, walk humbly, judge righteously."

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Reading Around the World - Don't Ask Questions! It's a Dystopian Oakland!

With this book, I've moved south from Davis, California, to the city of my birth, Oakland.

The book is Gun,With Occasional Music by Jonathan Lethem and it's a very strange Oakland indeed. It takes place in an unspecified future in a dystopian Oakland. As I say in my review: "It's an Oakland where you need a license to ask other people questions. It's an Oakland where drugs are not only legal, but de rigeur. It's an Oakland were "evolution therapy" has made not only intelligent animals, but also intelligent toddlers, or "babyheads"." 

This is also a noir mystery that Chandler would be proud to call home. I really enjoyed it. 

My next book I will move across the bay to one of my favorite cities, San Francisco.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Wisdom from the Quakers

I discovered a short-lived mystery series by Irene Allen. It features the Clerk of a Meeting of Quakers in Cambridge, Massachusetts. I've always been attracted to the Quakers due to my family connection. I am descended from Lawrence and Cassandra Southwick who emigrated to Salem, MA, in 1637. 

They were persecuted by the Puritans - who, ironically, fled to America for freedom from persecution - because they were Quakers. 

Back to the books, the author prefaces each chapter with a quote from a historic Quaker and one of these quotes is by John Woolman (1754):

"To consider mankind as other than brethren, to think favours are peculiar to one nation and exclude others, plainly supposes a darkness in the understanding. For as God's love is universal, so where the mind is sufficiently influenced by it, it begets a likeness of itself and the heart is enlarged toward all men."

Truly a radical concept! No wonder they've been persecuted! Most faiths, sects, and churches want to consider themselves as set apart or, as the Mormons like to say, "a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:9). 

Also, it shows the truly evil concept that is "American exceptionalism". I've always disliked it because it seems that people, instead of being proud of the values and accomplishments of our great nation, instead use it to claim that they don't need to abide by the same treaties, agreements, and standards as other nations. 

Any thoughts out there? Please comment below!