Sunday, September 1, 2019

First Lines: August 2019 edition

Younger Daughter, preteen, reading a book
 while seated in a pile of leaves
November 2011

Here are the first lines of the four books I finished reading in August.  Here is where I must admit that all I want to do is retreat to a cave and read my books.

Book 1
It’s our bad luck to have teachers in this world, but since we’re stuck with them, the best we can do is hope to get a brand-new one instead of a mean old fart.

Book 2
I do not know where I will be when you read this book.
            As I write this, a set of creased and folded papers sits on my desk, ten pages in all, issued to me by the Department of Homeland Security.  “Warrant for Arrest of Alien,” reads the top right corner of the first page.

Book 3
On a sunny Saturday afternoon in Silicon Valley, two proud fathers stood on the sidelines of a soccer field. They were watching their young daughters play together, and it was only a matter of time before they struck up a conversation about work.

Book 4
It was not complicated, and, as my mother pointed out, not even personal: They had a hotel; they didn’t want Jews; we were Jews.

The titles and authors revealed:

Book 1
Because of Mr. Terupt, by Rob Buyea.  © 2011.  Young Adult fiction. 
A very cool teacher.  Rather a saint, in fact.

Book 2
Dear America, Notes of an Undocumented Citizen, by Jose Antonio Vargas.  © 2018.
An eye-opening book.  I highly recommend it, and it’s a quick read.  Ask yourself what you have done to earn your citizenship.  How do you define ‘citizenship’?

A few quotes:
The first peoples who populated this land, Native Americans, were not considered United States citizens until 1924, when the Indian Citizenship Act was passed.
- page 74

How the push-and-pull factors of our migration are way more complicated than the need to take a picture at the foot of the Statue of Liberty.  How the largest groups of people who migrate to the U.S.A. – voluntarily, forcibly, unknowingly, like them – do so because of what the U.S. government has done to their countries. 
                                                            - page 205

[About immigration legislation which changed markedly in 1996]
Taken together, these bills not only expanded the criteria for who can get detained and deported, they also expanded the population of immigrants who couldn’t adjust their status, leading them to fear detention and deportation at any point.  It’s a government-created, taxpayer-funded catch-22, and we’re all tied up in it like a Gordian knot.  If I chose to leave and go back to the Philippines, then I’d face a ten-year ban on reentry into the U.S., since I’ve been living illegally in the U.S. for twenty-five years.  And even if I returned to my country of birth, there’s no guarantee I’d ever be allowed back to the country I call my home.  Put simply, for the government, keeping people “illegal” is much easier than allowing them to get “legal.”  Perhaps it’s no accident that the ITIN, which allows undocumented workers to pay federal taxes, was created in 1996.
                                                            - page 210

Librarians thought of this!
Librarians are some of my
favorite people.

Book 3
Give and Take: Why Helping Others Drives Our Success by Adam M. Grant Ph.D.   © 2013. 
I found this book unsettling.  I think it ignored some of the non-personality things that stand in the way of a career, such as sexism and racism, or just plain bad luck.   And the notion of writing a book that says that the way to get ahead in business is by giving of yourself, but it only works if you are not doing it for the purpose of getting ahead in business – oy.  It also seemed to me that in order to have space to be a giver you have to already be in a place of privilege, with some savings stored up while you are waiting for giving to pay off (but it only works if you are not doing it in order to get a payoff).  What would Jesus do?

Book 4
The Inn at Lake Devine by Elinor Lipman  © 1998. 
My second reading.  Read for book club.  I love the witty, snarky writing of Elinor Lipman.  The book club was going to pick Solzhenitsyn’s One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, but then we decided couldn’t handle reading about a Soviet labor camp right now.  We needed something lighter.  This fit the bill and brought on some joyful reminiscences.

A staff unfavorite, and a rebuttal

A staff unfavorite

Dear reader, what books are lined up in your reading cave, for your next great read?

An update from my last post  -
For Andrea:  the cake in that post came from a bakery.  Alas, I do not have the recipe.
For everyone:  the Common Household Husband is doing just fine.