Thursday, March 01, 2018

March - Read Across America month

I have read two somewhat heavy books and a fun one so far this year. I began the year with Charles Dickens' Great Expectations. I love the story, the writing, the book. I immediately followed this with The Autobiography of Malcolm X, as told to Alex Haley. What a book that is. Having lived in the USA for over twenty five years, and have put a son through the school system (college next year), and have a daughter who is in middle school i find it hard to believe that the latter of these two books are not required reading, or at least parts of it. The book, when it began to be put together, was to be about the life of Malcolm X, but during the process of completing the book his life changed.
Malcolm X (Madam Tussauds), Simon Brooks 2018
Everyone's life changes, but to see it (as it were) as it happens is incredible. The book of Malcolm Little's life was mostly about his life of crime, and redemption when he found The Nation of Islam. But this changed when Malcolm X discovered cover-ups in the Nation of Islam, and decided to visit the Middle East and Africa. He went to discover true Islam (I am no expert), but this changed his view point to hating the White Devil, to understanding that not all white men are devils. This shift in his life is captured as it happened, along with threats from the Nation of Islam. An urgency comes to the book as Malcolm X tells Haley about these death threats, and about his work with other nations and his diplomatic meetings with heads of state in the Middle East and in some African countries. He seems to be gathering his thoughts, formulating a way to peace, a way to truly bring equality to the USA. There are also hints that he and Martin Luther King Jr. might end up working together, but of course both great men were shot to death. I have to wonder how different America would be today if they were both alive. I think we would be living in a very different world, but of course this is all conjecture!

Revisiting Led Zeppelin's 'Physical Graffiti' LP cover, NYC, 2018
I finished reading the Autobiography on the day of Malcolm's murder, in 1965. Then this week in New York City, I went to the Natural History Museum. One of the exhibits I like is the Egyptian exhibit. Malcolm X talks about the art he finds in Egypt and other African countries, and he describes the real art of these people which came from 2,500 B.C.E. while Europe was still 'rubbing sticks together'. The art in the Egyptian exhibit is a small sample of the remarkable work done by artisans 5,000 and more years ago. Yet there were people not that long ago who said Africans could not have made such amazing art. Human beings are a strange race. The stories we can tell each other are sometimes remarkable.

The other book I read was in preparation to recording it - Tangled Magick by Jennifer Carson. This is the sequel to  Hapenny Magick, the first audio book I recorded. I am looking forward to revisiting some of the characters and bringing them back to life in this new story. I will keep you posted. Jenn is also pretty exited about it!

The next book I am diving into is Giovanni Boccaccio's 1300's masterpiece, The Decameron. I am very much looking forward to this. Not sure I will get across America with this book, but who knows!

What are you reading this month? What have you read so far this year? I would love to hear from you.

Be the change, be a positive force in the lives of those around you.

Your storyteller,
Simon Brooks

We are responsible for the world in which we find ourselves, if only because we are the only sentient force which can change it. - James Baldwin

3 comments:

Tony Toledo said...

Hey Simon,

I stumbled on Dare to Sketch: A Guide to Drawing on the Go by Felix Scheinberger. Very inspiring with lots of good artistic tips on drawing what I see. Tony Toledo

Barbara Aliprantis said...

Oh Simon, thank you for this powerful blog entry. Your blogs always inspire me and this one is no different. I am currently re-reading "Journey Into The Mind's Eye" by Lesley Blanch. The following quote from the book is the way I am beginning my long overdue blog post. It is always a challenge for me to place my words on paper...Thank you dear Simon... xox Barbara

“There are moments in all our lives, most often, alas, during childhood when we possess the mystic gift of consecration, of steeping things in our essence, and making them thereby different from all others, forever sovereign and sacred to us.”

- The Sentimental Traveler, Vernon Lee, Book of Essays

Papa Joe Gaudet said...

Here Beginneth the First Day of the Decameron Wherein (After Demonstration Made by the Author of the Manner in Which it Came to Pass That the Persons Who Are Hereinafter Presented Foregathered for the Purpose of Devising Together) Under the Governance of Pampinea Is Discoursed of That Which Is Most Agreeable Unto Each