WE WERE EIGHT YEARS IN POWER: AN AMERICAN TRAGEDY BY TA-NEHISI COATES

We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy

This was a difficult book to review. It was also difficult to read and to know that what I was reading was truth. If you don’t know it as truth, you need to go way back and look at how we became America and who the people were that made up the rules that some people, based on their sex or skin color, were considered less than.

I’ve studied slavery and the Civil War for a long time. I worked with the Middle Passage Museum and met John Lewis, Coretta Scott King, and many other leaders of the rights movement and survivors of the what is still a racist South and North. Some people are just more blatant about it.

I along with a lot of other people expected Obama to stand up for race inequalities. But as it turned out he wasn’t going to rock the boat either way.

This journalist does. Here you get the unvarnished truth about all sides. In my humble opinion this should be a must read for all high school students. Especially places like Mississippi which in some towns have only in recent years, or make that year, have been forced to stop segregating blacks to the other side of the track schools.

There is no such thing as white supremacy. There are just insecure people who need to have someone to be better than so they aren’t the ones on the bottom.

Thank you for this book Netgalley and Random House! Due to release October 3, 2017

DEMOCRACY IN CHAINS: THE DEEP HISTORY OF THE RADICAL RIGHTS STEALTH PLAN FOR AMERICA BY NANCY MacLean

Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America

Behind today’s headlines of billionaires taking over our government is a secretive political establishment with long, deep, and troubling roots. The capitalist radical right has been working not simply to change who rules, but to fundamentally alter the rules of democratic governance. But billionaires did not launch this movement; a white intellectual in the embattled Jim Crow South did. Democracy in Chains names its true architect—the Nobel Prize-winning political economist James McGill Buchanan—and dissects the operation he and his colleagues designed over six decades to alter every branch of government to disempower the majority.

In a brilliant and engrossing narrative, Nancy MacLean shows how Buchanan forged his ideas about government in a last gasp attempt to preserve the white elite’s power in the wake of Brown v. Board of Education. In response to the widening of American democracy, he developed a brilliant, if diabolical, plan to undermine the ability of the majority to use its numbers to level the playing field between the rich and powerful and the rest of us.

Corporate donors and their right-wing foundations were only too eager to support Buchanan’s work in teaching others how to divide America into “makers” and “takers.” And when a multibillionaire on a messianic mission to rewrite the social contract of the modern world, Charles Koch, discovered Buchanan, he created a vast, relentless, and multi-armed machine to carry out Buchanan’s strategy.

Without Buchanan’s ideas and Koch’s money, the libertarian right would not have succeeded in its stealth takeover of the Republican Party as a delivery mechanism. Now, with Mike Pence as Vice President, the cause has a longtime loyalist in the White House, not to mention a phalanx of Republicans in the House, the Senate, a majority of state governments, and the courts, all carrying out the plan. That plan includes harsher laws to undermine unions, privatizing everything from schools to health care and Social Security, and keeping as many of us as possible from voting. Based on ten years of unique research, Democracy in Chains tells a chilling story of right-wing academics and big money run amok. This revelatory work of scholarship is also a call to arms to protect the achievements of twentieth-century American self-government.

This book came out this summer and it was to mixed reviews and comments. As always there were the trolls coming for anyone political but also some learned scholars.

I appreciated the history of the book. The author is an excellent writer. How did we get to where we are today? How is it that corporations have rights? What did our founding fathers really intend for our nation to become?

Not for everyone but if you are a politics or history lover, you may want to give it a read!

xx Patricia

The Atheist Muslim: A Journey From Religion To Reason by Ali A. Rizvi

The Atheist Muslim: A Journey from Religion to ReasonStruggling to reconcile the Muslim society he was living in as a scientist and physician and the religion he was being raised in, Ali A. Rizvi eventually loses his faith. Discovering that he is not alone in his beliefs, he moves to North America and promises to use his new freedom of speech to represent the voices that are usually quashed before reaching the mainstream media―the Atheist Muslim.
In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

In The Atheist Muslim, we follow Rizvi as he finds himself caught between two narrative voices he cannot relate to: extreme Islam and anti-Muslim bigotry in a post-9/11 world. The Atheist Muslim recounts the journey that allows Rizvi to criticize Islam―as one should be able to criticize any set of ideas―without demonizing his entire people. Emotionally and intellectually compelling, his personal story outlines the challenges of modern Islam and the factors that could help lead it toward a substantive, progressive reformation.

To look at this book and to check the subject matter one may think this is an overwhelming read. It is not. It is so well written and documented that it was hard to take a break.

Along with his personal story, this was also an excellent history lesson. Are there some ideas we are born into and more that we grow into as individuals, becoming more aware of the differences and similarities between cultures and religions?

Church and State have long been connected in our world’s history. And that subject is dealt with thoroughly here. The author explains how our personal identity is all too often wrapped in our cultural identity.

I had specific questions going into this book and every one of them was answered. I am extremely glad to have read it and to recommend it.

Thank  you Netgalley for the opportunity.

Smooth Operator by Stuart Woods and Parnell Hall

A Teddy Fay Novel Featuring Stone Barrington

Smooth Operator (Teddy Fay, #1)

Stone’s presence is requested at the White House by President Kate Lee. A matter of urgency and secrecy. Of course, this is Washington D.C.

The House Speaker’s daughter has been kidnapped and the people who have her are threatening to kill her if a certain bill isn’t passed. Stone has the perfect guy for the job. Teddy Fay! Now working out in movie land with Stone’s son, Peter. CIA background scrubbed, new identity and no one has any idea who he really is.

With all of the killing going on my head was spinning. Is it a terrorist act? A home grown conspiracy?
Full of twists and turns all the way to the final page! This time we get to see almost all of our favorite characters. Holly, Kate, Anne, and of course Teddy! All time best bad ass!

I am hoping we see much more of Teddy! He is one of my favorite characters.

Where Did We Go Wrong???

beerandwine1

I don’t know what types of questions or bonds your particular state voted on last night, but I would love to hear!

You will all be pleased to know that that in exactly one year we will be able to buy full strength Beer and Wine at the Grocery Store. Then you won’t have to leave your children in the car anymore while you peruse the Liquor Stores where they can not go in.

We also passed the Death Penalty Question…basically saying Kill ’em anyway you want to.

What didn’t pass was the raise the teachers deserved. Why? Well first see above, then it was because it included an increase in the sales tax which would have made us the highest tax in the country. Which offset any raise for the teachers here. And Lord knows this state needs them!

We also passed 2 mental health initiatives bringing more funding and less putting folks in jail for minor drug offenses and using that money on mental health.

And thank goodness the Right To Farm Bill tanked. Really Oklahoma, I know you haven’t been a real state for long, but we’ve been farming for years. We don’t need your permission.

All I’ve seen is nastiness on Twitter. Thousands of people who just opened Egg accounts jut to tell Rosie O’Donnell to get the f**k out. I also noticed he got the most votes from under educated white men and women.

The only good thing I see is that not a darn one of us has to be Politically Correct anymore! And for all of you Rich White Guys, I also called ICE this morning and gave them your names and the names of your illegal workers. You voted for him….

You are Welcome…xxP (from the Caymans)

 

 

AN ISHMAEL OF SYRIA by Asaad Almohammad

An Ishmael of Syria

Book Blurb:

Adam is a tortured soul. Exiled from his homeland, forced to watch the horrors unfold from afar. His family, still living – or surviving – in war-torn Syria struggle daily to feed, clothe, and educate their children.
Adam tries to be a ‘global citizen’ and become a part of his new community in Malaysia, but is constantly faced with intolerance, bigotry, and plain old racism. Opportunities are few and Adam finds himself working long hours for poor pay so that he can help his family.
The increasingly distressing news bulletins, along with Adam’s haunting childhood memories, compel him to examine his own beliefs; in God, in humanity, in himself and his integrity as a reluctant bystander in the worst human catastrophe of the twenty-first century.

A personal story told in the voice of Adam. A Syrian, living in Malaysia. Unable to live in his own country due to civil war and upheaval.. The story goes back and forth from the present to the memories of childhood .All of the different parts and pieces that make us who we are and shape our ideas of who we are and where we belong are brought into question. I felt as if I was reading someone’s journal. The feelings of not belonging to any place and unable to go back home.were so heartbreaking. Trying to assimilate into a new country is not easy when you look like Adam and the intolerant and racist people he comes into contact with on a daily basis made me embarrassed as a human being.

As he says in the book “…to their ears, being a Syrian sounds like you’re unclean, shameful, indecent; it’s like you owe the world an apology for your very existence.”

I learned more about the Middle East and Syria in this one book than I have in all of the news shows and history lessons I’ve taken. I can’t imagine being judged solely on my skin color or ethnicity. That the author has tackled this in such straightforward and easy to read book is a gift to us all.

An extremely timely story written by an author I have the deepest respect for.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in the 80s, Asaad Almohammad was raised in Ar-Raqqa, Syria. A member of the International Society of Political Psychology and a research fellow, he has spent years coordinating and working on research projects across the Middle East and North Africa. To date he has addressed a number of psychological aspects of civil unrest, post-conflict reconciliation, and deradicalisation. In his spare time Asaad closely follows political affairs, especially humanitarian crises and electoral campaigns. He is especially interested in immigration issues.

Am I The Only One?

I have had a list of industry specific books to read and review lately and since they are not available to the public, I won’t put them on here. So instead I am just going to share my unsolicited opinion on some topics….waiting with bated breath, are you?

How about you just stay the hell off my page if you have a problem with what I post! Keep your opinion about my opinion I post on MY page to yourself! lol #DA #mindyourownfuckingbusiness #Yourethenarcissist:

I think I am probably one of the only people who routinely goes through their Twitter account and deletes followers. Why? First off it is hard to keep up with so many people and all of their people and on and on.  I am not interested in getting followers just for the sake of numbers. I really need for you to have something in common with me. Books, Art, Music, Humor, and say hello once in a while, send me things you think I would like. And I do the same. If I follow you and you immediately DM me with all of your other sites and places I can buy your_______ ( fill in the blank).  That is an instant Block!

hello

This weekend I did the same with my FB pages and accounts. Strictly because grown ass men and women that I grew up with and went from first grade to graduation with were jumping on 1. #boycottNFL bandwagon. Uh, no, I don’t think so. I don’t give a rat’s ass about what those players do as long as my Fantasy team kicks butt. And no one else seems to either. You should look up how many current players were convicted of felonies and are still playing most Sundays. And I waited way too long for football season. And 2. The Trump vs. Hillary topic. When you are calling the President’s mother and Hillary a whore, we have a problem. Unless being a whore is your profession, but this was used as a slur.

I don’t care where you stand on the political race, but name calling, especially calling women whores, is not okay. It makes me not like you and think way less of you than I already do. As my Momma would say, those people are ignorant and don’t have the vocabulary to express themselves in any other way.

I am fed up with it. We teach our children not to be bullies and name callers and yet we accept it and participate in it on television and in conversation. It’s embarrassing as a woman and as an American. I keep expecting the Queen to hop across the pond and put us all in a time out until we can get our shit together!

So to all of those people who live to do and say offensive things…mind your own business and if you can’t say something halfway intelligent, well then zip it.

As Nikki over at A Kinder Way says…be kind to everyone. hellokind

Thanks for listening and being kind!  xxP

Bury The Living (The Revolutionary Series Book 1) by Jodi McIssac

Bury the Living (The Revolutionary Series, #1)

The Book Blurb for Bury the Living:

Rebellion has always been in the O’Reilly family’s blood. So when faced with the tragic death of her brother during Northern Ireland’s infamous Troubles, a teenage Nora joined the IRA to fight for her country’s freedom. Now, more than a decade later, Nora is haunted by both her past and vivid dreams of a man she has never met.

When she is given a relic belonging to Brigid of Kildare, patron saint of Ireland, the mystical artifact transports her back eighty years—to the height of Ireland’s brutal civil war. Here she meets the alluring stranger from her dreams, who has his own secrets—and agenda. Taken out of her own time, Nora has the chance to alter the fortunes of Ireland and maybe even save the ones she loves. In this captivating and adventurous novel from Jodi McIsaac, history belongs to those with the courage to change it.

Our story begins in 1990 Belfast with a 15 year old Nora O’Reilly. The British may have pulled out but the war continues. A Civil War that has turned countryman against countryman. Trying to help her mother and brother, Nora agrees to do some shady things and gets in trouble with the wrong people. The same people who soon get her brother killed.

14 years later, we find Nora in Darfur,Sudan, working in a Refugee Camp. Planning a much needed bit of R & R. But she ends up back in Ireland. Having dreams of a man and an urgent need to find him. To do that she will have to suspend reality for a while. Will she find him? Can she really travel back in time and try to find this man and end the wars in her home country?

As a History buff, I enjoyed this book very much. The Irish Wars have always been a complicated subject, and difficult to understand what exactly happened and who is now fighting who.

One of my favorite types of stories are those that combine fact and fiction. There are plenty of facts and obviously some fiction, and it works wonderfully well.

Coming from an Irish family, I loved this book. Parts of it broke my heart. War is never easy to read about. But Nora is a girl after my own heart. Standing her ground and fighting for her country as well as any man.

Since this is book one in this series we know there will be more, which is a good thing.

I received an ARC of this book from Netgalley in return for an honest review.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:5826477

Jodi McIsaac is the author of the Irish contemporary fantasy series The Thin Veil (47North) the thriller A Cure for Madness (Thomas & Mercer) and the forthcoming historical Revolutionary series, starting with Bury the Living (47North).

She grew up in New Brunswick, on Canada’s east coast. After abandoning her Olympic speed skating dream, she wrote speeches for a politician, volunteered in a refugee camp, waited tables in Belfast, earned a couple of university degrees, and started a boutique copywriting agency. She loves geek culture, running, and whiskey.

Expected publication: September 6th 2016 by 47North

All The Presidents’ Gardens by Marta McDowell

All the Presidents' Gardens: Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses, How the White House Grounds Have Grown with America

Madison’s Cabbages to Kennedy’s Roses-How the White House grounds have grown with America.

Starting with the plant-obsessed George Washington and ending with Michelle Obama’s kitchen garden, All the Presidents’ Gardens is a rich and compelling narrative that masterfully reveals how the White House grounds reflect what is happening in the country.

The book is written in chronological order beginning with George and Martha Washington in the years 1789 to 1797, the original inhabitants of what was called Versailles on the Potomac.

Ms. McDowell takes us through the centuries and how those 18 acres surrounding the White House have been nurtured, designed, planted and re-planted, changing with the times as well as each of the families who lived there and contributed their own personal mark on the gardens.

The book is full of rich history of not only our Presidents, but the whys and hows each plant came to be in the garden. The stories are informative as well as entertaining.

Each horticulturist is mentioned as well as every shrub and plant growing in the garden, with information about every one. The book is full of lovely illustrations and photographs, along with quotes from our past Presidents and their families.

I found this book to be not only educational, but I will definitely keep it as a resource for my own garden. Ms. McDowell took on a huge task with this project and I for one am glad she did!

The Author:

Marta McDowell lives, gardens and writes in Chatham, New Jersey. She teaches garden history and horticulture at the New York Botanical Garden. where she studied landscape design. A popular lecturer, she speaks to gardening groups across the country. She is also the author of Beatrix Potter’s Gardening Life.

I received an ARC copy of this book from the publisher.

Children of Paradise The Struggle for the Soul of Iran by Laura Secor

 

Laura Secor has written about Iran for many major publications and has worked at The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The American Prospect and Lingua Franca. She has been a fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center and the American Academy in Berlin and has taught journalism at NYU and Princeton.

To say she is well versed in the subject matter would be an understatement. She tells this story of individuals, some famous, some not, caught up in the times, seizing and wielding ideas powerful enough to shift its course as they wrestle with Iran’s apparatus of violent repression in addition to its rich and often tragic history.

In 1979, almost overnight, Iran became the first revolutionary theocracy in modern times. Since that time, the country has largely been to the West, a sinister presence looming over the horizon.But inside the country, religious thinkers, poets, journalists, political activists have re-imagined what Iran is or is not.

Told in 4 parts: Revolution, Rebirth, Reform and Resistance

Ms. Secor has done her research and has been to Iran numerous times beginning in 2004. Her relationships with the people she interviews and write about are genuine and informative.

Our relationship with Iran is complicated and can be very hard to understand. I felt she did a wonderful job of telling this story so that everyone can understand the country, it’s religions and it’s politics.

This is a book I will read again and highly recommend it to anyone who wishes to be more informed and not just opinionated.