Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver

Flight Behavior by Barbara Kingsolver parallels flights taken for preservation by juxtaposing a housewife's need to spread her wings with the migration of Monarch butterflies. Kingsolver demonstrates the feeling of not belonging in one's own life through Dellarobia's interactions and internal thoughts and the exploration of what would cause the Monarch butterfly to overwinter in an area that could cause its extinction rather than its usual habitat. My heart ached for Dellarobia as the lack of real communication combined with financial hardship complicates every part of her life. Kingsolver brings the consequences of changing environments to the forefront in this exploration of migration patterns, climate change, self-discovery, and life changes. Interspersed throughout Flight Behavior is the conflict between religious beliefs and science in both Dellarobia's life and community. Flight Behavior creates a microcosm of the world in which we live demonstrating how interconnected we all are regardless of the beliefs we embrace or the facts we refuse to embrace.

Thursday, May 18, 2017

Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars by Donovan Livingston

Lift Off: From the Classroom to the Stars by Donovan Livingston is a small book with quite an impact. The words of Livingston take us on a journey through the history and the importance of education. Lift Off reminds us that the way we change the world is through education that teaches us where we came from, so we know where we're going. As I read I couldn't help but think about how important it is that we get education right, that we stop playing politics with education, and that we give all children an equal chance at an education that prepares them for the future. Lift Off inspires in its honesty and its hope.



Note: Lift Off was a spoken word poem given by Donovan Livingston as the convocation at Harvard Graduate School of Education in May 2016. Below is the video if you'd like to watch it.


Thursday, May 11, 2017

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad and David Roessel

The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes edited by Arnold Rampersad, Editor, and David Roessel, Associate Editor covers the poetry Langston Hughes wrote during his life. Hughes tackled myriad issues throughout his lifetime without apology. His language, though lyrical, is also often blunt and leaves little to interpretation though it invokes intense imagery at times. I felt a wide range of emotions as I read The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes. The poems depicted a life I'll never life while offering insight into the reality of others in a way that forced me to think about my own existence in the world and how I interact with those around me. Authenticity rings through Hughes's work even when he paints moments that feel a bit fantastical. I took my time reading these poems because many are intense and require thought while others are lighthearted observations on life. I was, at times, surprised at how much punch some of Hughes's shorter works contained. The Collected Poems of Langston Hughes reminded me how important poetry is to the narrative of our lives and history being made around us even in the moments that seem the most ordinary to us.

Friday, May 5, 2017

High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story by Damara Paris, Miriam Richards, and Hilary White

High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story by Damara Paris, Miriam Richards, and Hilary White illustrates how determination, perseverance, and persistence work together to push people to overcome challenges and obstacles. Miriam Richards didn't let anything, including her deafness or Multiple Sclerosis, get in the way of her goals. When she faced a challenge that appeared to have no solution, she found a way around it. She pursued her goal of visiting the high points in each state pushing herself beyond limits that seem impossible. Her story is at times heart-wrenching, at times ordinary, at times joyous, but it is always inspiring and encouraging to those who wish to accomplish more in their lives. Richards determination to push herself even when she was in pain made me feel determined to stop letting minor inconveniences get in the way of my progress. High Point of Persistence: The Miriam Richards Story inspired me to step outside my comfort zone and think about the things I would like to accomplish even if it makes me uncomfortable to get there...