A Book that blew my mind

Plus a few others

Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl, by Harriet Jacobs: This book blew my mind and changed how I look at our society.  What effect does it have that many (most?) African-Americans are products of rape that occurred generations ago?  What are the spiritual ramifications of that?

Like many conservative-leaning people, I puzzle over why race is still an issue in this country.  (Please don’t verbally stone me here, I know this is sensitive, contentious topic.)  I’m not a racist; you’re not a racist (I don’t think).  What’s the big deal?  I tend to attribute racial inequality to the breakdown of the black family, which I attribute to the sexual revolution, the welfare state, and certain aspects of the civil rights movement gone wrong.

I still think that but . . . for hundreds of years black people in our country never had a chance to have a normal family life.  Rape was an inevitable fact of life for many (most?) black women.  At least that’s the picture this book paints, and I’m inclined to believe it.  White slaveholders impregnated their slaves, fully intending to use and sell their own children as chattel, enriching themselves by adding more slaves to their stock.  How could we possibly be over that in 150 years?

So, I took a reading break after that little pick-me-up, but in the last two months I also managed to read

My Life In France, by Julia Child: This is charming.  I wrote a few more thoughts here.

The Soul of A Lion: A biography of Dietrich Von Hildebrand by his wife, Alice Von Hildebrand.  Von Hildebrand was both an influential Catholic philosopher and a brave opponent of Nazism during World War II.  I’m glad to have read about him, although the book could have been written better.

I’m hereby acknowledging that I’m Not Going To Finish a few books:

Kisses From Katie,  by Katie J. Davis and Beth Clark: How terrible is it that I wrote a blog post about this book before finishing it?  Katie’s is an amazing, inspiring story, but it isn’t written very well.  Read about Felicity White’s concept of how the book should have been written; she would title it In Uganda They Call Me Mommy.  I like it.

Boundaries by Henry Cloud and John Townsend: This book has a lot of important concepts, but by 75% of the way through it got repetitive.  (A few more thoughts on applying it to parenting here.)

Boundaries With Kids: I didn’t get very far here.  Again, great ideas but repetitive of the first book and of other parenting books I’ve read.

A few others are going on the To Finish Eventually shelf:

Shirt of Flame by Heather King, Seven Principles for Making Marriage Work, by John Gottman, and The Joy of the Gospel: Evangelii Gaudium by Pope Francis:  Someday, someday, starting with the latter.

What have you been reading?  What have you shelved?

I haven’t stayed within 140 characters per book; nonetheless, I’m linking up with Modern Mrs. Darcy for Twitterature.  Happy weekend!


12 thoughts on “A Book that blew my mind

  1. Wow, I would need a break after reading the Jacobs book, too. What important questions it asks. Also, it haunts me that I haven’t read any of our popes encyclicals/books, and our priest so encouraged us to read The Joy of the Gospel. I *did* read Pope Francis’s interview in America magazine. Does that count?? 😉 Thanks for the reviews!

  2. That is very interesting what you mention about the first book. It is no wonder many blacks still have a chip on their shoulder when engaging with whites (I’m sorry; it is often true) and seem so mistrusting of white people.
    I, too, need to read more of the pope’s writings!
    I recently read “The Boys in the Boat” by Daniel James Brown. Really good read about the men’s crew team from the 1936 Olympics. It gives you a great glimpse into what life was like during the years right before the war, plus what the sport of rowing entails. Definitely recommend it. (It is $2.99 on Kindle right now if you have one! ;))

  3. 1. Wow. Definitely going to check out the slavery book. I think you make some excellent points. Did you read the Atlantic’s “Case for Reparations” article? For a white girl like me, it was eye-opening.
    2. I’m all for quitting books that aren’t doing it for you–too many other great books out there!
    3. Parenting books are the WORST at being repetitive. I feel like pretty much all of them could be condensed into 5-10 pages. The rest is just filler and salesmanship about how their theory is the One True Way of Parenting. But for busy parents, I’d prefer the short, B.S.-free version! 🙂
    Thanks for your reviews!

  4. In college I was assigned to read Incidents in the Life of a Slave Girl along with Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglas, both of which should be required reading for high school students. You hit the nail on the head. I am so sick of hearing folks blame all of the black community’s problems on the sexual revolution, as if there were these happy intact families during slavery days. The reality was much more horrific than most of us realize. Douglas was blunt about his limited contact with his mother, and the fact that he was likely the product of rape, and that he never really knew who his siblings were. He grew up utterly disconnected from any sense of family. For women, like the protagonist in Life of a Slave Girl, life was even more traumatizing, and running away was much harder due to trying to save one’s children. I recommend reading Beloved as well if you’re interested in the long-lasting effects of slavery.

  5. If you like Gottman’s book, you should check out the #staymarried blog (staymarried.com).

    (In case anyone notices and wonders, yes, I’m black. I’m choosing not to comment on the Harriet Jacobs book because I don’t want to.)

  6. I love reading your book reviews! My two cents on the “Boundaries” book: From what i can tell, people with relatively healthy backgrounds seem to think the book is repetitive, whereas people from fundamentalist/cult situations swear by it because it provides much-needed guidance on the basics of healthy relationships. As for the other books you mentioned, I really want to read “My Life In France”.

  7. Pingback: Favorite Books of 2014 | This Felicitous Life

  8. Pingback: thoughts deep and heavy, like the snow . . . | This Felicitous Life

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