Random Middle of the Night Thoughts

Simone Biles is still in a class of her own, and she has earned the right to call the shots on her career and her participation, especially when people change the rules on her midway. I admire this girl so much.

Abby the Spoon Lady is rocking my night.https://youtu.be/_nLmM9kcBKs
Here she is with some other gals doing on eof my favourites- Shady Grave- https://youtu.be/2sa3Qg-l82g

I have good days and bad, sometimes good days and bad weeks. Yes still. One does not recover from 37 years of gas-lighting in 2 years of separation while the gas-lighting is still being attempted (successfully with a number of others from what I can see). It’s weird. I am not trying to think of these things but out of nowhere *still* some memory will pop up out of nowhere and I realize another instance where I was just blatantly lied to. It’s not just about the adultery and infidelity and porn. There are financial irregularities (read- theft and dishonesty), and manipulations about all kinds of stuff. I think I will start writing these down when they pop up.

A woman a lot of people admire asked me the first week the garbage started coming out why I was still searching through his phone, hadn’t I learned enough. No. No I hadn’t. That doesn’t even make sense to me. By searching the phone I found other things that had not been confessed to, which meant the apologies and requests for forgiveness were fake af (as foretold. Read AF as ‘As Foretold)- basically I was being told “I’ve done a lot of crap and I’m sorry and I wnant you to forgive me without every knowing what exactly you are forgiving.” That’s rubbish, this is. That’s further manipulative trash.

Here’s John the Revelator from Abby the Spoon Lady. Because she makes me smile. https://youtu.be/ooeRJ95cXoU

I put my old beat up couch up for free on market place. It’s been well used, it’s very, very heavy. I made this very clear in my ad, to the point of rudeness. “This couch is free. It’s extremely heavy and you will need help to pick it up. I cannot help you at all. You will need a truck.”
First lady to text me wanted to know if I would hold it for her because her kid with a truck was camping and would be back at the end of the weekend. I said no. She said well, she had no furniture in her living room. I said I was really sorry about that, but the best I coudl do is text her if someody else came and got it first. About six people asked about it. Only one was serious. But she thought she could come get it by herself. First she said she’d be right out Then I reminded her it was very, very heavy, and I would not be able to help at all (I can’t even lift it three inches off the floor to pull a kid’s toy out from underneath, because my muscles are like spaghetti noodles). She said she’d look for help and if it was still there the next day let her know. It was. I did. The couch is still here. And then… the lady who asked me hold it for her because she had no furniure in her living room and her son had the truck… she texted me at 3 in the morning to ask if by any chance I had a truck. Um, nope.

Potato salad with roasted peanuts is one of my favourite snacks at the moment. All those carbs. mmm.

Abby the Soon Lady again: https://youtu.be/sFGxoYZTLiA

One of the younger grandchildren is particularly adorable- they all are, but thing is this one is Smol bean, and she likes to cuddle, which melts grownup hearts. She is also, says her youngest uncle, a Menace to Society and she was born on the FBI watch list. She is the wee tot about whom one of her cousins told me two years ago that she was very, very cute, but it was a trap. So picture a tiny, petite, elfin Shirley Temple listening earnestly to a parental explanation of why wear gloves when handling raw meat and other things in the kitchen, and then cheerfully agreeing that yes, we wears duvs to keep da germs away and also we should wear duvs before touching dead bodies, like when peoples kill peoples. She didn’t even flinch. Possibly she was not as sound asleep as believed when a few episodes of Bones or something similar were being watched.

Speaking of airing things and viewing, I really liked the Korean drama Imitation and the spotlight on the idol industry, while managing not to be too heavy.
I binge watched a show from a couple years back called Lie after Lie, or something like that. Ordinarily not my thing unless there’s something extra about it. Very makjang, and for some reason the lead actor spoke almost all his lines in an intense whisper which was frustrating. But there were redeeming elements. For once, there is a happy adoption story- as in, all the relatives of the adopted child simply don’t even care that she’s adopted, they just adore her to bits. That seldom happens in a K-Drama.
Lots of revenge and spiteful, crazed mother-in-law action, some odd direcorial jumps, and a few incomprehensible decisions by varioius characters. But I enjoyed it. I enjoyed it for the form- makjang has its rules and traditions, and this was an interesting story within those rules and traditions. But it definitely isn’t my usual sort of thing.

I’m still very much in the who am I and what do I want and what do I really thing stage of this new life- and all the answers have to include ‘while being the single parent around teh clock five days a week and the occasional weekend with a severely handicapped adult in tow as my constant companioin. I cringe when people ask for my advice because what on earth do I even know? Everything I thought I knew was wrong. Well, not everything, but lots of it.

It’s 3 in the morning and I might be having company in 7 hours, definitely in 7-10 hours and I haven’t washed dishes in 3 days and there are bags of groceries on the floor, and a load in teh washing machine that has now been washed three times.

I have Captain Crunch cereal with peanut butter for breakfast. I have songs to sing and some stuff to write and books to read, and a new-t0-me couch in my living room that makes me happy to look at. I went back to vist it repeatedly at the local second hand store. They marked it down three times and then I bought it on a 25% for people with military ID, which I have, day. I paid a young friend to have her and her huband pick it upa nd bring it to me in their truck. That was after I found out oth the sonsinlaw I thought would be able to help out had sold their trucks- one of them the day before. So I had an anxioius day or so trying to figure out what to do. And then the path cleared and I was glad. It’s an odd couch. To me it was a bit of an Asian feelt. There’s a busy, exotic pattern and it sits about 8 inches off the ground with simple, basic retangular legs, so dust bunnies and soot sprites and versous detritus cannot wash up under there and become its own ecosystem.

I’m reading a biography of King Sejong the Great, Outlaws of the Marsh, one of the Chinese Classics, and a couple others I can’t recall right now. I am playing Wordscapes on my phone like an addict. Or as an addict. Depends who we ask.

And I really need to go grab a bit of sleep.

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War With Korea, 1871, Part VII

Previously

 

On the tenth of June, 1871, at 10 a.m. the expedition of retaliation began.  The Americans had decided to pursue a humane policy of attacking only the forts, not the civilian population or sites.

They moved on, an expedition of two steamlaunches, several ships, 22 boats, several hundred men,  and an array of artillery that included seven howitzers which were landed along with over six-hundred men (105 of them marines).
They shelled the first fort and so withering was the fire that the defenders fled.  When the Americans landed, they discovered:

“The character  of the  shore… proved   to be most unfavorable for  our purpose.  Between  the water  and the  firm  land a broad belt of soft mud, traversed by deep  gullies, had to be passed. The men stepping from the  boats, sank to their  knees, and so tenacious  was the clay,  that  in many   cases they lost   gaiters and  shoes, and   even trowsers’ legs. The guns  sank above the axles  of their carriages, and  it required the strenuous exertions of many men to get them through.”
They reached the largely empty fort and continued its destruction, throwing most of the guns they found in the river, spiking the larger cannons,      knocking over the walls and burning all the clothes and provisions they found. They were so worn out by the time this was done (mostly from the slog through the knee deep mud) that they camped that night, rebuffed a lackluster midnight attack, and in the morning continued to the next fort.

 

It was also abandoned by the time they arrived. They dismantled it as they had the previous one, and continued marching, over steep hills divided by deep ravines, exhausting to foot soldiers, an even more difficult passage with great guns.  Sometimes they had to widen paths (‘where there were paths.’).  Other times they filled up gullies to drag the guns over, or lowered them by ropes from the steep hillsides. They had several skirmishes with Korean soldiers, but the superior firepower of the Americans mean the Koreans couldn’t get close enough for their own weapons to have much effect.  More Americans were prostrated by heat stroke.

The next fort would have been nearly impossible to reach, perched as it was on a sheer hillside with sheer walls.  But the American ships had been shelling from the river, so the walls and hillside were no longer sheer, but liberally scattered with freshly made hand and foot holds.

The Americans came on so fast that the Koreans had no time to reload their guns and defended their position by hurling rocks at the invaders,  and though their weapons were inferior, the soldiers were not.  Even in this ridiculously uneven fire fight the Korean soldiers continued “fighting’ acknowledged Rodgers, “with the greatest fury.”

 

The walls were breached. Americans rushed over  the parapet. Rodgers says, “The fighting inside the fort was desperate.  The resolution of the Coreans  was  unyielding;   they apparently   expected  no   quarter, and probably would  have given  none. They  fought to  the death,  and only when the last man fell did the conflict cease.”

 

In total, Rodgers reported that they had captured   and destroyed  five  forts. Fifty   flags were  taken, and several hundred ordinance.

 

“Two hundred and forty-three  dead Coreans were  counted in the works.  Few prisoners were  taken, not  above twenty,  and some of  these were wounded. Thus was a treacherous attack upon our people and an insult to our flag redressed,” said Rodgers.

Rodgers believed what he said, but again, it was a complete cross cultural fiasco.  There had been no treachery and the Koreans believed the insult was to them- the Americans were in violation of Korean law and the Korean forts had always had orders to fire on any foreign ships that crossed into the Han river because from the Han River, ships could fire directly on Korea’s capital city.  Rodgers didn’t know that, and he didn’t realize that he had been denied permission to sail on the Han River because he didn’t know that in Korea, silence was a strong denial.

It’s fascination to read the account of the battle of Ganghwa Island on Wikipedia, because it’s clearly written from the American PoV.

TBC

Previous posts on this event in history:

How a cultural misunderstanding started a war, part 1

Korean war of 1871

1871, An America War in Korea, part II

1871, American War in Korea, part III

The 1871 War with Korea, part V

War with Korea in 1871, Part VI

 

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War with Korea in 1871, Part VI

Mr. Low and Rear Admiral Rodgers decided the Koreans had “declared the attitude they intend to take toward us, and that it becomes us to reply to them as frankly in the same way.”
They believed failure to retaliate firmly would cause a ‘loss of prestige’ to all westerners in the East, and would cause Korea to view westerners with contempt and place westerners in greater danger in the future as the Koreans might feel they could continue to attack western travellers with impunity.   Rodgers at first wanted a full war, including the capture of the Korean chronicle, but he seems to have decided not to request that. Instead he gathered supplies and captured and destroyed several Korean forts along the river to make his point.  This is from his report on those attacks: (I wish I could give you the Korean side, but I don’t know it)

 

Rodgers gave the Koreans ten days to apologize, although that was a bit coy of him.  I don’t know if he honestly expected he might get an apology.  He did need that ten day grace period for his own purposes.  He needed the ten days to repair one of his ships that had been fired on and gotten a hole when it floundered on a rock, and to wait for more advantageous tides for his men to launch an attack.  The Koreans did not apologize, as they didn’t believe they had done anything wrong.  Rear Admiral Rodgers write that “the ambushed  attempt to cut off and  destroy our whole   surveying party  was assumed by  the Corean  official  to  be  entirely  in  accordance  with  the  proprieties  of intercourse between civilized people,  their own civilization being,  as was somewhat   proudly  stated,   four  thousand   years   old.”

 

At the end of the ten days the Americans did receive a communication which one Captain McLane Tilton described in a letter to his wife:

, “Today we got a communication from the Head Man at the fort referred to, who stated that when Capt. Febinger of our Navy came up here, he did not make war on them, and didn’t see why we wanted to come so far to make a treaty.  They had been living 4000 years they said, without any treaty with us, and of course they couldn’t see why they shouldn’t continue to live as they do!” (Tyson 1966).

 

I do see their point of view.  But on the other hand, a lot of things can change in 4,000 years, and that upstart, brash, young nation did have some technology, ideas, and skills that Korea could have used.  Among the most the historians I have read on this period in Korea’s history, the consensus is that had both sides understood each other better and been more flexible and culturally aware, it’s unlikely that Korea would have ended up under the heavy handed Japanese control just a dozen years or so later.   But hindsight, we all know the rest.  History is full of might have beens and it’s a hard and not altogether just thing to judge the actions of the people at the time based on what we know now. Korea had seen nations come and go and there were no reasons for it to have been obvious to them that they were viewing the last days of their form of government and the rise of democracies.  They had no way of knowing for certain they were at a crossroads, and even if they had, it’s not clear America would have been that helpful to themlater, based on the west responded for Korea’s warnings about Japan later.

TBC

Series of Posts:

How a cultural misunderstanding started a war, part 1

Korean war of 1871, Part 2

1871, An America War in Korea, part III

1871, American War in Korea, part IV

The 1871 War with Korea, part V

War with Korea in 1871, Part VI

War With Korea, 1871, Part VII

 

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The 1871 War with Korea, part V

It has been a while since I last posted about this story.  Nobody asked me about it and I figured that meant nobody was interested, and this is probably true.  But I was discussing this with a friend recently and she was interested and wanted a written copy to share with another friend who would be interested so I decided to finish it up.  I find it endlessly fascinating.

Previously: In 1871 we had a little war with Korea when we sent a small fleet of ships to map the area and ask for official recognitio and trade relations.  A collosal misunderstanding ensued because neither side could understand the cultural norms of the other- and I do think America was most to blame.  If  you are going to another contry to ask for favours, it behoves you to know their culture. But then, cultural differences were not deeply understood at the time.

 

So, under the mistaken impression that they had permission…

The fleet continued to travel, to map the channel and surrounding shores and bodies of water for about a week , when a Korean junk approached them and a small body of men on board indicated they wished to board. Rodgers had them conveyed to his ship:
” They were the bearers of a letter which stated that from our former communication it had been learned that we were Americans, and announced that three envoys had been appointed by the Sovereign to confer with us.

These messengers were persons of inferior grade, and came merely to announce the approach of the superior officials.  They were assured of our desire to preserve peaceful relations, and our purpose not to commit any acts of violence unless we are first attacked.  This assurance was received with great apparent satisfaction.

The next afternoon, May 31, the envoys previously announced made their appearance.  The minister, deeming it proper not to receive them in person until their positions and powers were ascertained to be such that he could do so without derogation to the dignity of his own rank as minister plenipotentiary, deputed Mr. Drew, his acting secretary, to conduct the interview.  Mr. Drew conversed with the envoys in the Peking dialect.  The conversation elicited the fact that the Coreans were officials of the third and fifth rank, and that they brought with them no credential letters, and, so far as could be ascertained, that they were not intrusted with any authority to initiate negotiations.      Under these circumstances, Mr. Low determined not to see the envoys, and they were informed that only officials of the first rank, who were empowered to conduct negotiations, could be received; and to such alone could a full announcement of the objects of our coming be made.
This next sentence is tragi-comedy.  Rodgers neatly summarizes Korean manners and diplomacy at the time:“

Their object appeared to be to learn all they could of our purposes and intentions, without committing themselves by the direct expression of assent or dissent to what was said to them; but their manner of non-objection conveyed the impression of actual compliance with our wishes.”

 

It’s nearly maddening to read this 150 years later.  Rodgers observed clearly and precisely, but his deductions were entirely wrong.  He had not the wit, imagination, experience, background knowledge or cultural understanding to make sense of his observations.  He sees all but knows nothing. He clinically describes observation without ever realizing he has a key here to mutual understanding and friendship if he only knew it. But he does not.  “Their manner of nonobjection” only conveyed the impression of compliance to somebody with no knowledge of eastern culture, to somebody with an inborn expectation that nonobjection is consent. But in Korea, especially then, ‘nonobjection’ was the very opposition of consent or compliance.  It was as firm a refusal as the envoy could politely give, but neither group understood the other at all.
“They were assured of our non-aggressive disposition, and were distinctly told that only to resent assault should we resort to arms.  They were informed that we wished to take soundings of their waters, and to make surveys of the shores.  To this they made no objection.  We expressed the hope that no molestation would be offered to our parties in landing or passing up the river, and requested that word be sent to their people that they might preserve the friendly relations which were desired.  It was further stated that twenty-four hours would be given to make this announcement to people along the river, before any movement was made.  To all this they made no reply which could indicate dissent.  So, believing that we might continue our surveys while further diplomatic negotiations were pending, an expedition was sent to examine and survey the Salee River, which empties into this bay, and leads into the River Seoul, which passes near the city of Seoul, the capital and residence of the Sovereign.”

My very first impression on reading the above was that the Koreans were, in fact, indicating dissent by not giving express permission.  It was as clear as day to me they were saying no in a manner that would have been perfectly clear to representativesfrom any other eastern country- and it was only eastern countries with which they had any official and welcome dealings.  They expected that by not giving express permission, it was understood that no permission had been given. If the Admiral had been Chinese or Korean, he would have known that. .

 

Later I found this account by somebody who has lived in Korea and made a study of Korea’s military history:

 

“The simple, but very serious miscommunication was that the Americans took the Koreans’ silence for compliance, while it was actually disagreement.  To Koreans, unless specific permission is given to do something, it is not allowed.  Specifically, in regards to the Kanghwa Straits, even Korean vessels were not allowed to sail it without written permission by Korean authorities.  Also, “the Korean laws prohibited foreigners to pass a barrier of defense” (Paullin 1910, as quoted in W.M. Kim, 445).  Captain McLane Tilton wrote to his wife, “Indeed the people we have communicated with, altho’ they did not say they would not fire upon us, should we continue up the River, let us infer they wouldn’t, and we were obliged to return their fire to maintain a dignified position” (Tyson Amphibious Landing in Korea, 1871 1966).

 

And seriously, why on earth would any nation permit a foreign fleet, armed, clearly used at times for war, to come explore its coasts and water bodies, sounding them for depth, all the way up to the seat of its government?

 

”  Korea certainly didn’t.  Rodgers indignantly reported that:

“ at the forts which defend a short bend in the river, not far from its mouth, the Coreans unmasked batteries, and, without any previous intimation of their objection to our approach, or warning of their intention, opened a heavy fire upon our boats and ships.  treacherous assault was not expected by our people, but they promptly resented it.

They resented it with gunfire, and the rest is TBC.

Series of Posts:

How a cultural misunderstanding started a war, part 1

Korean war of 1871, Part 2

1871, An America War in Korea, part III

1871, American War in Korea, part IV

The 1871 War with Korea, part V

War with Korea in 1871, Part VI

War With Korea, 1871, Part VII

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Books Read in May

  1. Singularity Sunrise 1: Edenet: A Post-Cyberpunk Espionage Thriller
    by Kit Sun Cheah, an author from Singapore, nominated for both Hugo and Dragon awards. This is sci-fi, cyberpunk, martial arts, cyborgs, AI, astral projection, clear head nod to the Lensmen series, space opera within a world of psychic warriors. Not my personal cuppa, but he does it well.
  2. Other Words for Home, by Jasmine Warga, message fiction, and the message drives the plot, the story,the whole reason the book exists. Sometimes the elements of the plot ddriven by the message feel very forced and contrived. Jude is a muslim immigrant from Syria, a high school girl who misses her brother and father back home and wants to be in the school play in America. Written in the first person in free verse, which is increasingly popular in today’s YA, but I wish it wasn’t.
  3. The Hostage Prince (The Seelie Wars, #1) by Jane Yolen, fantasy series, fun stuff, set in the fairy world where battle is brewing between the Seelies (the world of elves, brownies, trolls, etc, and the Unseelies, with human changlings in between. There are a couple messages- war is hell, class divisions are stupid, court etiquette is silly, stealing human babies is wrong, slavery is bad), but the message doesn’t drive the story, and are not allowed to get in the way of the story.
  4. The Singing Bowls, by Jamila Gavin- written in the sixties or seventies- 16 y.o. Ronnie, the child of a caucasian Brit mum and a dad who is half Indian, goes to India to search for his dad, who disappeared without a word when he was a small boy. I am going to spoil the plot here- he finds his dad, and leaves him again and the r waeader never really gets to meet the man. Dad left to become an guru, an eastern mystic, and it’s cool because that’s his purpose. Dad is joined by a traveling companion Ronnie met on the way, an American who also deserted his family and has been addicted to drugs because he was seeking a shortcut to enlightenment, but he gets off the drugs and becomes a disciple to Ronnie’s dad. I was so disappointed in this book because it was highly recommended to me by somebody whose book recs I won’t be listening to again.
  5. The Nebula Secret (Explorer Academy, #1)
    by Trudi Trueit * Light, fun, if a bit weak since we must check the diversity boxes in order to tell a story. Lead character is half white, half hispanic who has grown up in Hawaii and now has been accepted into a unique science program. Other kids in the program are from around the world and smart as whips. There is a mystery, a pretty serious one, that is solved with riak to life and limb. National Geographic is involved in this series, and the end includes a glossary and some info about which of the science bits in the story are true, which might be in development, and which are pure sciefi. It’s a fun, light way your kids could incorporate some geography and science learning. Good literature it isn’t, but I thought it better written than the Treehouse mystery series.
  6. The Passion of the Holy Martyrs Perpetua and Felicity
    by Tertullian, probably the best thing I read this month besides the New TEstament.
  7. Zet and the Egyptian Amulet Mystery (Zet Series Book 2)
    by Scott Peters, fun for young readers. Lightweight, some of the environment and terrain of ancient Egypt but the characters do not feel historically accurate.
  8. Conrad’s Fate (Chrestomanci, #5)
    by Diana Wynne Jones, fantasy, some of which was hit or miss for me. This was enjoyable.
  9. Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods (Underland Chronicles, #3)
    by Suzanne Collins, I like this series. If you want diversity in your kid fiction, you might like to know that if read closely, it’s clear in the first book that you are supposed to see Gregor as a person of colour, probably black.
  10. The Chronicles of Chrestomanci, Vol. 2 (Chrestomanci #3-4)
    by Diana Wynne Jones, fun stuff.
  11. The Lives of Christopher Chant (Chrestomanci, #2)
    by Diana Wynne Jones
  12. Charmed Life (Chrestomanci, #1)
    by Diana Wynne Jones
  13. Race to Witch Mountain: The Junior Novel
    by James Ponti – Meh.
  14. City Spies (City Spies, #1)
    by James Ponti – Okay. Kind of fun. Not riveting. Not living. But light fun.
  15. All the Days Past, All the Days to Come
    by Mildred D. Taylor, for teens and up, IMO. Mildred Taylor always delivers with her Logan family books. This is Cassie, all grown up. Falling in love, crazy, passionate, oddly in love. Miscarrage. Widowhood. Civil Rights Movement.
  16. Lily Quench and the Treasure of Mote Ely (Lily Quench, #3)
    Lily Quench and the Black Mountains (Lily Quench, #2) I have also read the first one. Good for young readers just working on chapter books, or comfortable but still needing some handholding. Fun stuff. Well written. The church and its preacher are an important, and natural, parts of the community. I liked that.
  17. The Serpent and the Stallion
    by Becky Rodgers Boyette, fantasy, sci-fi, mostly fantasy. I found it draggy in parts and I was dissatisfied by the ending, but I’m not the target audience. Horses who communicate telepathically with their riders, who bond with them from youth. This has been used in other stories, usualy with dragons.
  18. The Unteachables
    by Gordon Korman, I don’t know how Korman is as prolific as he is while also producing solid reads squarely in the good department. He doesn’t really ever rise to living books, but he doesn’t seem to phone it in, either, and that’s a gift.
  19. Mystery of the Egyptian Scroll (Zet and the Egyptian Mystery Cases #1)
    by Scott Peters Kids mystery series set in Ancient Egypt. Not so scientific as Encyclopedia Brown but probably around that level.
  20. A Most Beautiful Thing
    by Arshay Cooper, Memoir about the first all black boys rowing team in a high school in America. Also about how the boys bonded, used rowing and the things it taught them to get out of the dead end story fated for black boys from the hood. Motivational. Rough around some edges, some swearing, some boy/girl stuff. I enjoyed this story. There’s a documentary, too, but I haven’t seen it yet.
  21. 12 Brown Boys
    by Omar Tyree- disappointing. 12 morality tales for middle readers. I don’t love morality tales. These are competently written morality tales of the sort that used to be part of Sunday School take home papers.
  22. Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1)ATilly and the Bookwanderers (Pages & Co. #1)
    by Anna James Fun read. Book references were fun. Some people can travel in books under special circumstances. Tilly is one of them. Her best friend, the neighbourhood baker’s son, might also be able to do this, but he is clearly only in this book for the sake of diversity. He says and does very little of importance except to be Tilly’s black friend (or Indian, it wasn’t clear). Maybe this is better in the later books.
  23. The Midnight Folk (Kay Harker, #1)
    by John Masefield, yes, that Masefield, the longlived poet. He wrote two books about Kay Harker. This is one of them. Fantasy, slightly scary, fun and very erudite Victorian adventure tale. I wish I know Latin.
  24. The Adventures of Obi and Titi: The Hidden Temple of Ogiso (Book1)
    by Oyehmi Begho Early chapter book for grade school readers. Set in Ancient Africa. I found it disappointing.
  25. Facing the Lion: Growing Up Maasai on the African Savanna
    by Joseph Lemasolai Lekuton, I loved this. Bio/memoir
  26. The Soul Brothers and Sister Lou
    by Kristin Hunter Lattany, written and set in the seventies. Hard stuff about police brutality and one of the hardest things is reading about it as it was back then and knowing how some things have not changed or have only gotten worse. I liked the book a lot, but I would read it with my middle grade or older child to discuss. There is an attempted rape, and the female victim blames herself, efuses to tell anybody, and lets him off, even trying to find other ways to build him up and make him feel better about himself.
  27. Mythos: The Greek Myths Retold (Stephen Fry’s Great Mythology, #1)
    by Stephen Fry, I listened via Audio. This is good, funny, rich, you will learn so much and it’s a great retelling. It’s also gory, at times vulgar, Fry really wants you to know how comfortable the Greeks were with homosexuality (he kind of glides over man-boy love), and the description of Chronos castrating is father nearly made me puke. It was lunch time and I was on my way to pick up some french fries and ketchup, which I decided to forego. But I still love it.
  28. Crown of Thunder, also Beasts of Night, by by Tochi Onyebuchi. A fantasy world set in a place much like ancient Nigeria or some other Caliphate territory. You can expiate your sins by having a mage calle a sin-eater. Your sins take on forms like shadow beasts, which the sin-eater will fight until they dissolve into a kind of inky, liquid shadow which the sin-eater swallows. He thing gets the mark of your sin in the form of a tattoo of the best on his body. Sin=eaters are badly paid, low caste, and they die young, when they can no longer bear the weight of the guilt of other people’s sins. I thought it was interesting, and I was intrigud by the world building. Then in the second book we had a secondary storyline of a lesbian couple and I lost interest. They didn’t feel real, just obligatory.
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