Summer Media

August 18th

August Media

I’ve been reading gobs lately. I go through phases where all I want to do is read and then a month will pass without the desire to pick up a book. Summer is the perfect season for reading in Phoenix namely because it is so darned hot during most of the day to do much else outside. Plus, if you want to head out to the pool to lounge for an hour, why not grab a great book or a stack of magazines?
When A Crocodile Eats the Sun” is a heart-wrenching memoir of a Zimbabwean journalist who is struggling living abroad while his aging parents try to maneuver life in the current political nightmare dictator Robert Mugabe has created. This book puts the day-to-day struggle of White Zimbabweans into focus. It is an excellent read and if nothing else, it brings more due attention to a political and humanitarian crisis that has been mostly ignored outside of southern Africa. (I can guarantee if White Africans were doing this to Black Africans today, the world would be responding differently. And yes, I’m bias. I have Zimbabwean friends who have lost everything thanks to Mugabe’s terror — folks who had to flee in the night with nothing but their lives to watch their homeland crumble from abroad. It is disgusting what Mugabe has been able to destroy.)

An excerpt that sums this up nicely:
“It is sometimes said the worst thing to happen to Africa was the arrival of the white man. And the second worst was his departure. Colonialism lasted just long enough to destroy much of Africa’s indigenous cultures and traditions, but not long enough to leave behind a durable replacement. There is a paradox at the heart of Africa: it is mankind’s crucible, the motherland, the place where early hominids evolved and, presumably therefore, the environment originally most hospitable to man, yet Africa is not the economic laggard, the Cinderella continent, a byword for poverty, disease and underdevelopment; the Third World’s Third World. In 1963, Zimbabwe had the same gross domestic product as South Korea. Now South Korea’s economy is 120 times the size of Zimbabwe’s. Africa accounts for more than 11 percent of the world’s population and less than 2 percent of its trade.”

Four out of five bananas, absoloodle.

As for the others in the stack:
Lucky” made me cry and wince. It is another memoir, although this time it is the brutal story of a rape victim and how she survives and eventually thrives. Beautifully honest writing and Alice Sebold continues to be one of my favorite authors. Three out of five bananas.

The Shack,” has shot to the top of the best-seller list and you probably know the plot. Without giving anything away, I’ll just say God is a main character and she is an African American woman with an attitude. I am 150 pages in and truly enjoying the tale. Four out of five bananas.

Shop Girl” continues my love affair with Steve Martin. This movie is thoughtful and I love that he stars in the novella he wrote. I wonder if he imagined himself as this character? Clare Daines is pretty darn good too. Three out of five.

Gone Baby Gone” slugged me in the gut. It is a twisted plot that makes you question if there are ever really right and wrongs and if justice exists. If nothing else, it was a great introduction to the cuteness that is Casey Affleck. Three out of five.

Gabbeh” is a low-budget Iranian flim that I tried watching but kept falling asleep. You can’t close your eyes to movies with subtitles, so I missed about 80%. That said, the scenery is interesting and I’m not sure I’ve ever before seen a movie set in Iran. The countryside is quite pretty.

I am sad there haven’t been more great flicks at our local independent movie theater. Can you believe in Phoenix, a city with more than 3 million people, there is one tiny theater in Scottsdale showing independent movies? Maybe this week there will be a new crop and something will catch my eye.

~K

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Goals, Journal, Media
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9 Responses

  1. I am still reading When A Crocodolie Eats the Sun. (Well, I lie. I read one night–two weeks ago. I’ve just been busy. Am soooo curious about the story!) I’m behind in my reading!!!! ~D

  2. I loved Shop Girl!

  3. “Children of Heaven” is an Iranian film that definitely won’t let you go to sleep. Just beautiful. Check it out.

    (And have you read “History of Love” yet?)

  4. I just finished reading Shop Girl last week and the movie is next in my Netflix queue. I’m curious to see if the character development comes through on screen.

    Have you read the book as well?

  5. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun looks like a good book. The situation in Zimbabwe is so sad – not just for the whites, but for everyone – so many people who can’t afford what little food there is, let alone education. They are surviving by sending family members out of the country to work. One of my empregadas has an 18-mo-old girl in Zimbabwe with her grandma – I can’t imagine leaving my baby behind with someone else so I can provide food for her to eat.

  6. ali la loca August 19, 2008

    Makes me want to read more! I seem to only read while I am on airplanes or in airports these days – I end up reading so much for my job it sort of sucks the will to hold a page comletely out of me until I’m in travel mode.

    Hope the new job is going well!

  7. I see here there are quite a few books and movies I need to add to my list! Thanks for your thoughts Kelli. Helps me in choosing what comes next in my reading and watching.

  8. I always appreciate it when you share the books you’re reading as I learn so much from it. Thanks, Kelli!

  9. When a Crocodile Eats the Sun is heart-wrenching. I can’t read it – my parents still live there. Another book you might like to read is Alexandra Fuller’s Don’t Let’s Go to the Dogs Tonight and one I’ve just been recommended (also set in Zimbabwe) is The Voluptuous Delights of Peanut Butter and Jam.

    Watch out too for the book I am writing about Africa (one day) and also the one Charlotte Otter is writing (and excerpts on her blog) – http://www.charlotteotter.wordpress.com🙂

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