Friday Finds -- October 1, 2010

Friday, October 1, 2010


Friday FindsHosted by MizB at Should be reading, this meme asks you what great books did you hear about/discover this past week? Every week, I post three selections, and choose one among them as my pick to read, should I choose among the three books.

Welcome the scariest month of the year!

I love my choices this week! All three are titles I really want to read, so it's exciting to put them up today. Given a chance, I will read all three. My top pick is a book that I found thanks to Banned Books week. Gotta love this celebration of those books-that-shall-not-be-read.

The Freedom Writers Diary by Erin Gruwell

My top pick is this amazing book about a teacher and teens who want to change themselves and the world. I spotted this at Sheila's blog. Do you remember the book and movie, To Sir, With Love? I remember sitting through the movie in English class, and being absolutely bowled over by it that I ran to grab the book from the library. This book in so many ways reminded me of that book. Erin Gruwell is a new teacher given the reins of a class of students called the "unteachables". Doesn't it always bring a smile to your face when someone mentions how they were influenced by your good advice and fared better? I admit I will jump up in joy - both for that person and for my apparent "strong advisory" talents. I also love reading books about characters who go from the absolute bottoms to total character absolution. This book shows all the promise of being humanity-focused.
As an idealistic twenty-three-year-old English teacher at Wilson High School in Long beach, California, Erin Gruwell confronted a room of "unteachable, at-risk" students. One day she intercepted a note with an ugly racial caricature, and angrily declared that this was precisely the sort of thing that led to the Holocaust — only to be met by uncomprehending looks. So she and her students, using the treasured books Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl and Zlata’s Diary: A Child’s Life in Sarajevo as their guides, undertook a life-changing, eye-opening, spirit-raising odyssey against intolerance and misunderstanding. They learned to see the parallels in these books to their own lives, recording their thoughts and feelings in diaries and dubbing themselves the "Freedom Writers" in homage to the civil rights activists "The Freedom Riders".

Left Neglected by Lisa Genova

After reading and loving Still Alice (especially reading it from the perspective of a victim), I can't wait to see what Lisa Genova comes up with next.
Sarah Nickerson is like any other career-driven supermom in Welmont, the affluent Boston suburb where she leads a hectic but charmed life with her husband Bob, faithful nanny, and three children—Lucy, Charlie, and nine-month-old Linus. Between recruiting the best and brightest minds as the vice president of human resources at Berkley Consulting; shuttling the kids to soccer, day care, and piano lessons; convincing her son’s teacher that he may not, in fact, have ADD; and making it home in time for dinner, it’s a wonder this over-scheduled, over-achieving Harvard graduate has time to breathe. Until one fateful day, while driving to work and trying to make a phone call, she looks away from the road for one second too long. In the blink of an eye, all the rapidly moving parts of her jam-packed life come to a screeching halt.

A traumatic brain injury completely erases the left side of her world, and for once, Sarah relinquishes control to those around her, including her formerly absent mother. Without the ability to even floss her own teeth, she struggles to find answers about her past and her uncertain future. Now, as she wills herself to regain her independence and heal, Sarah must learn that her real destiny — her new, true life — may in fact lie far from the world of conference calls and spreadsheets. And that a happiness and peace greater than all the success in the world is close within reach, if only she slows down long enough to notice.
Panopticon by David Bajo

Unbridled Books has some awesome books in its catalog. I already have many others in my TBR, and to add to that, this one is also on the wishlist.
As the California borderland newspaper where they work prepares to close, three reporters are oddly given assignments to return to stories they've covered before - each one surprisingly personal. The first assignment takes reporter Aaron Klinsman and photographer Rita Valdez to an abandoned motel room where the mirrors are draped with towels, bits of black tape cover the doorknobs, and the perfect trace of a woman s body is imprinted on the bed sheets. From this sexually charged beginning on land his family used to own Klinsman, Rita, and their colleague, Oscar Medem understand that they are supposed to uncover something. They just don't know what.

Following the moonlit paths their assignments reveal through the bars, factories and complex streets of Tijuana and Otay, haunted by the femicides that have spread westward from Juarez, the reporters become more intimately entwined. Tracing the images they uncover, and those they cause and leave behind, they soon realize that every move they make is under surveillance. Beyond this, it seems their private lives and even their memories are being reconstructed by others. Panopticon is a novel of dreamlike appearances and almost supernatural memories, a world of hidden watchers that evokes the dark recognition of just how little we can protect even our most private moments. It is a shadowy, erotic novel only slightly speculative that opens into the world we all now occupy.

6 comments:

gautami tripathy said...

Some wonderful finds here!

Check out how Ifound a way through my reading lull!

Bibliophile By the Sea said...

The Lisa Genova January 2011 book is one I am really really looking forward to.

Have a great weekend.

Helen's Book Blog said...

The Freedom Writer's Diary is such a good book!

bermudaonion said...

Reading the synopsis of The Freedom Writer's Diary just gave me chills. I so admire teachers like that and have often wished I had the talent to move people the way they do.

Juju at Tales of Whimsy.com said...

Ooo Left Neglected sounds good and like it would make an awesome film.

Happy weekend darling!

Happy October 1st :)

Marce said...

Lisa Genova's new one I can't wait for either, Still Alice is an all time favourite.

Great finds Aths