Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Books With Impact: Final Installment

I think that I will have to so another edition to this themed post in the future but for now this is the final installment of my Books With Impact themed postings.

Title: I Heard The Owl Call My Name
Author: Margaret Craven
Publisher: Fitzhenry & Whiteside

From the Publisher:

In a world that knows too well the anguish inherent in the clash of old ways and new lifestyles, Margaret Craven's classic and timeless story of a young man's journey into the Pacific Northwest is as relevant today as ever. Here amid the grandeur of British Columbia stands the village of Kingcome, a place of salmon runs and ancient totems - a village so steeped in time that, according to Kwakiutl legend, it was founded by two brothers left on earth after the great flood. Yet in this Eden of such natural beauty and richness, the old culture of totems and potlaches is under attack - slowly being replaced by a new culture of prefab houses and alcoholism. Into this world, where an entire generation of young people has become disenchanted and alienated from their heritage, Craven introduces Mark Brian, a young vicar sent to the small isolated parish by his church. This is Mark's journey of discovery - a journey that will teach him about life, death, and the transforming power of love. It is a journey that will resonate in the mind of readers long after the book is done.

This is one of my favorite novels of all time but it is also one I am hesitant to ever read again because I cried a significant amount throughout the book.  I don't usually connect well with male protagonists however I felt as though I was tethered to Mark throughout his journey.  Although I am not Native I worked for a local Native organization as a Coordinator for Pre Natal services.  I can't tell you how many stories I listened to regarding the impact of residential schooling on the Native people.  Their personal stories touched me deeply and provided me with a better understanding and appreciation for Native culture and history.  I found a quote from the book online at Goodreads,  

"'We are glad you have been ordained as the first priest of your people. Now you can help us with their problem.' Tagoona asked, 'What is a problem?' and the white man said, 'Tagoona, if I held you by your heels from a third-story window, you would have a problem.' Tagoona considered this long and carefully. Then he said, 'I do not think so. If you saved me, all would be well. If you dropped me, nothing would matter. It is you who would have the problem.'"

I found myself reading this quote over and over again as if it were a riddle I needed to solve.  I am so interested in how other people and other cultures think especially when their was of thinking is so foreign to me.  Once I thought about it enough.....I can't explain it....it was as though my own perception has changed.  It was like a light bulb went off and I had an "ah ha" moment of understanding and clarity.  I love when that happens, don't you?

I highly recommend reading this book.  It is an incredibly well written, insightful novel, that paints a picture of a different way of life so clear that when I put the book down and realized I was not in fact in a remote Native village I was momentarily surprised. 

Title: Where the Red Fern Grows
Author: Wilson Rawls
Publisher: Random House Children's Books
From the Publisher: 

Billy, Old Dan and Little Ann -- a Boy and His Two Dogs...

A loving threesome, they ranged the dark hills and river bottoms of Cherokee country. Old Dan had the brawn, Little Ann had the brains -- and Billy had the will to train them to be the finest hunting team in the valley. Glory and victory were coming to them, but sadness waited too. And close by was the strange and wonderful power that''s only found...

An exciting tale of love and adventure you''ll never forget. 

This synopsis does not do justice to this incredible childhood favorite of mine.  I would recommend anyone to read this novel but it is one that is often recommended for parents or teachers to read to their children or students.  This novel takes you on such a wonderful, heart warming, and heart wrenching journey with the main character, Billy.  I will warn you now I have never met anyone, myself included who wasn't reduced to tears by the end of this novel (and by tears I mean sobbing/doing the ugly cry).  Although it is an unforgettable read this book has more impact with children then adults.  It provides children with lessons in hard work, family, love, and loss all wrapped up in an exciting story.

I knew there was a film made a long time ago (1974 to be exact) but I didn't realize Disney made this into a movie in 2003.  I recommend books over movies any day but since you may be interested check out the trailer for the movie!

Title: Night
Author: Elie Wiesel

From the Publisher:

A New Translation From The French By Marion Wiesel
"Night" is Elie Wiesel''s masterpiece, a candid, horrific, and deeply poignant autobiographical account of his survival as a teenager in the Nazi death camps. This new translation by Marion Wiesel, Elie''s wife and frequent translator, presents this seminal memoir in the language and spirit truest to the author''s original intent. And in a substantive new preface, Elie reflects on the enduring importance of Night and his lifelong, passionate dedication to ensuring that the world never forgets man''s capacity for inhumanity to man.

"Night" offers much more than a litany of the daily terrors, everyday perversions, and rampant sadism at Auschwitz and Buchenwald; it also eloquently addresses many of the philosophical as well as personal questions implicit in any serious consideration of what the Holocaust was, what it meant, and what its legacy is and will be.

I have sat here for a good ten minutes thinking about what to write regarding this novel.  It is a book that shredded a piece of my heart still reserved for naive conceptions about the world.  I don't think my heart has ever been more broken by a book then this one and yet at the same time uplifted by the resilience, courage, and strength that Elie had.  What he and so many others endured can not be grasped or understood, we can only listen to the stories, pass them on to future generations and hopefully...hopefully learn from our mistakes.

Of all my books that I have recommended in this three part post, this is the one that stands out above all others.  It left me breathless, angry, frustrated, and unable to speak for at least an hour.  If you have read it you will likely understand.  If you haven't read it take some time and do so.

Thanks everyone for all your comments on this three part themed post.  I'll be making this a frequent thing so keep checking back for my next post!!!!!


Allison said...

Night is definitely a book with impact for me too. Great post!

Lindsey said...


Lily Child said...

Hey darlin' just wanted to let you know that I have an award for you on my blog! :)

tweezle said...

Where the Red Fern Grows... I loved that book as a young teen. Oh did I cry!

Great post!!!

tweezle from Just One More Paragraph

Lindsey said...

Lily - YAY thanks so much!!!

Tweezle - :( it was a good cry. So sad but so beautiful :)

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