Stolen Lives: Twenty Years in a Desert Jail by Malika Oufkir with Michele Fitoussi

April 22nd 1987 while the rest of the world was going about its business, four siblings stumbled through the streets of Tangier, Morrocco looking for anyone, anyone at all to help them. Barefoot and starving they searched everywhere for succor. Strangers, former friends, even relatives turned them away. They had just escaped fifteen years of confinement, torture so deeply scarring mentally, emotionally and physically they could never recover.

April 22nd 1987 while the rest of the world was going about its business, four siblings stumbled through the streets of Tangier, Morrocco looking for anyone, anyone at all to help them. Barefoot and starving they searched everywhere for succor. Strangers, former friends, even relatives turned them away. They had just escaped fifteen years of confinement, torture so deeply scarring mentally, emotionally and physically they could never recover. Abdellatif, the youngest was 18. He had been incarcerated since he was three years old. Maria, one of the sisters weighed barely 66 pounds. Malika, the narrator and her siblings had dug for years with spoons, hiding the dirt at night like in some kind of Hollywood movie. Yet this was their life. What had they done to deserve this imprisonment and animalistic treatment? Nothing at all. Continue reading

The Help: by Kathryn Stockett

Slavery was outlawed in 1863 freeing several million people to have the right to choose their own path in life. Sadly though it’s no news that racial prejudices still exist. When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s I somewhat mistakenly thought that racism was extinct, not having much exposure up in Washington state. Life in the South however has been quite different and still is in many areas today. It has it’s own unique history from that moment the Civil War ended. The author herself was raised in Jackson, Mississippi in the 1960s which gave her a unique perspective. Many white children were nannied by black women who cradled them, sang to them, dressed them, watched over them; and yet had a much lower status as a person. This book examines the relationship between the employer and employed, between the maids and the children.

Slavery was outlawed in 1863 freeing several million people to have the right to choose their own path in life. Sadly though it’s no news that racial prejudices still exist. When I was growing up in the 80s and 90s I somewhat mistakenly thought that racism was extinct, not having much exposure up in Washington state. Life in the South however has been quite different and still is in many areas today. Continue reading

Catching Fire: by Suzanne Collins

Katniss and Peeta have won their lives, but at what cost? Katniss finds herself facing this very question from the moment book two of The Hunger Games series picks up, as she and Peeta head home to District 12. They are victors, heroes, celebrities, but Katniss does not feel relief, far from it. If it were up to her, she would try to forget the Games entirely and never speak of them, and no wonder, but the Capitol as the book says, has a way of keeping the horror fresh and immediate. Continue reading

The Hunger Games: by Suzanne Collins

In a post-apocalyptic world, twelve districts and the parasitic Capitol they serve are all that is left of America. The districts specialize in industry or agriculture in a peasant-like state while the Capitol resides in a geographically protected kind of bubble where all that is glitters is gold, wealth and extravagance.

In a post-apocalyptic world, twelve districts and the parasitic Capitol they serve are all that is left of America. The districts specialize in industry or agriculture in a peasant-like state while the Capitol resides in a geographically protected kind of bubble where all that is glitters is gold, wealth and extravagance.

We are immediately introduced to Katniss Everdeen a hardy, pragmatic girl of sixteen who finds both solace and survival from her grim hungry village life by hunting game in the woods outside District 12, with her best friend Gale. Continue reading

Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? (And Other Concerns): by Mindy Kaling

Mindy Kaling is the wonderchild triple-threat of the hit show The Office. She writes, co-stars and directs. I had yet to jump on the bandwagon for reading memoirs of people that haven’t even died yet! That just seems weird to me. You’re 30 and have a life story? I’d better get on doing some cool sh*t. In the introduction to her book Mindy says “This book will take you two days to read…If you’re reading this book every night for months, something is not right.” So right away you know this is not heavy material, no soul-searching, no wisdom or sayings that go onto inspirational posters. Continue reading

Official Book Club Selection: A Memoir According to Kathy Griffin

Everyone knows who Kathy Griffin is. She’s been clinging onto Hollywood for decades like barnacles on a boat. I watched the sitcom “Suddenly Susan” with Brooke Shields and Kathy Griffin and she was pretty funny. I watched “My Life on the D-List” a few times, and again she was pretty funny, but I always thought there was something abrasive about her humor, and something off-putting about what seems like a desperate desire to be cool. When I saw her book I thought it at least would be interesting. I got my money’s worth and more.

I’ve been in a memoir-reading mood lately. I just finished up Mindy Kaling’s book and read the beginning of Tina Fey’s book. Here’s the surprising part: Kathy’s book immediately came across much more heartfelt and interesting than Tina’s. I know! I dropped Tina Fey’s book (and I love Tina) and took up reading Kathy’s book immediately, and didn’t put it down until the wee hours. Continue reading