Title: Something Fierce: Memoirs of a Revolutionary Daughter
Author: Carmen Aguirre
Length: 277 pgs
First line of the book: “As my mother bit into her Big Mac, her glasses caught the reflection of a purple neon light somewhere behind me.”
Summary: [From inside flaps] On September 11, 1973, a violent coup removed Salvador Allende, the democratically elected socialist president of Chile, from office. Thousands were rounded up, tortured and killed under General Augusto Pinochet’s brutal new regime… Dramatic, moving and darkly comic, Something Fierce takes the reader inside war-ridden Peru, dictatorship-run Bolivia, post-Malvinas Argentina and Pinochet’s Chile in the eventful decade between 1979 and 1989. With passion and remarkable candour, Carmen Aguirre offers a rare first-hand account of revolutionary life. This is a gripping story of love, war and resistance.
How you found the book: Bought at the CBC. This book is one of the five featured as part of Canada Reads.
Opinion: Aguirre’s tale is raw and honest. Page after page shattered the misconceptions I held about revolutionary actions. It is not only the guerilla warfare I’d imagined. Even banging pots and pans was a brave act of resistance. Several times I had to remind myself that this book is not fiction; that this was the reality for many brave men and women. Though I am not Chilean I feel like Aguirre was telling the story of my people. Her narrative invites readers to have conversations about South America and the Caribbean and the potential for an alternative to the status quo. I am so inspired by this story and her strength.
Recommend? YES! Get it now so you’ll be ready for the debates in February.
I’ve been slacking. But it is definitely still on the list. That list just happens to be long as hell… I’m done with exams now though so I should have more time. The next major thing I need to do web layout and design. Shouldn’t be too hard… I think. :P
I’m happy. I only have 3 more months of school (EVER!!!) and I know exactly what I want to do when I’m done. I’m slowly conquering my crippling fear of failure with my faith. God did not bring me this far only to let me fall.
My next steps are to keep moving forward and take every opportunity as it comes.
Your turn! How are you?
Genre: Historical Fiction
Length: 280 pgs
First line of the book: “Scarlet robes were the only sure way to achieve anonymity in public.”
Summary: [From back of the book] The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth follows the stories of Johannes Kepler—a German Lutheran and the first man to distill how stars and planets moved according to mathematical laws—and Galileo Galilei. An Italian Catholic, Galileo will try to claim Kepler’s success for his own Church, but he finds himself enmeshed in a web of intrigue originating from within the Vatican itself. Both men are trapped by human ignorance and irrational terror to the peril of their lives and those of their families in one of the darkest, yet also one of the most enlightening, periods of European history.
How I found the book: This book was sent to me as part of The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth blog tour
Opinion: The summary does the book a huge disservice. I was afraid it would be a painful anti-Catholic diatribe. Luckily, I was pleasantly surprised. Yes, church institutions play a huge part in the plot but it is set in the 17th century so that can’t be helped. Overall, the struggle between the Lutheran and Catholic Churches was more political than theological (which I loved) and there was enough diversity within each group to ensure that no sweeping generalizations could be made.
I always say that characterization can make or break a book and this one was no exception. Clark adds depth and dimension to astronomers who had simply been names in my science textbook. Kepler and Galileo were brilliant scientists, but Clark also portrays them as regular people with dreams and insecurities that any reader can relate to. As the their narratives wove together, I found myself saying, “Awwww! Poor Kepler,” (he always seems to draw the short straw) and “GAH! Galileo! Stop talking!” (he has this uncanny ability to make a bad situation worse). Emotional response? Check.
As an added bonus, the science was not intimidating at all. Clark cleverly had the astronomers use wonderful analogies to describe the complex theories to characters who were not scientists. And with the benefit of hindsight, I could even feel smarter than these mathematicians. I mean Tycho’s arrangement of the planets was just silly—not to mention it would have been a pain to make a model of it in grade school.
Recommend? Absolutely! To put it simply, I enjoyed The Sky’s Dark Labyrinth for the same reason I love Philippa Gregory’s Tudor Court novels: it’s got drama, politics, and yes, even a little sex appeal. ;)