Our September program included a book giveaway -- congratulations to LaDonna of Gulfport -- a discussion of all the attention (laudatory and otherwise) surrounding Jonathan Franzen's "Freedom," and fall picks. Here are the titles mentioned on the show (now archived at wmnf.org):
"To the End of the Land," by David Grossman
Excerpted in The New York Review of Books, "To the End of the Land" is my favorite novel for 2010, a more resonant read than the much-touted "Freedom." Ora, mother of a young Israeli soldier, is waiting for her younger son to return from his mandatory military service. When he tells her he has volunteered for one more mission, she is so distraught that literally runs for the hills. This is a books about the nature of war and violence set in the context of the Palestine-Israeli conflict.
Trilogy beginning with "The Hunger Games," by Suzanne Collins
Similar themes are addressed in this YA series featuring a government that looks very like our own in lockdown, dictatorship mode. Teenagers convene each year to offer a reality spectacle in which they fight to be the last one standing. Collins updates the notion of bread and circuses in the age of modern technology and reality TV shows in a story that's much more sophisticated than the Twilight vampire series.
"The Warmth of Other Suns: The Epic Story of America's Great Migration," by Isabel Wilkerson
Interviewing 1,200 out of the six million African Americans who moved from Jim Crow South to the North and West during the Thirties, Forties, and Fifties, in this 600-page history Wilkerson focuses on the stories of three. She chose well. The moving tales of a sharecropper's wife who moved from Mississippi to Milwaukee in the wake of violence, a Florida citrus worker who fled to Harlem to avoid a lynching and a Louisiana surgeon who headed for California to pursue his profession give a human face to an exodus born of suffering and injustice. The book's title comes from Richard Wright's comment in "Black Boy: A Record of Childhood and Youth" about taking a clump of Southern soil with him when he made his own migration to the North: "I was taking a part of the South to transplant in alien soil, to see if it could grow differently, if it could drink of new and cool rains, bend in strange winds, respond to the warmth of other suns, and, perhaps, to bloom."
"At the Dark End of the Street: Resistance -- A New History of the Civil Rights Movement from Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power," by Danielle L. McGuire
McGuire tells the story of the Civil Rights Movement from the front lines, i.e., from the point of view of black woman and their fight against white male sexual aggression. Her approach is worth reading for its portrayal of Rosa Parks alone. Instead of the "sweet and reticent old woman, whose tired feet caused her to defy Jim Crow on Montgomery's city buses," Parks is presented as the militant race woman that she was, "a sharp detective and anti-rapist activist."