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The January 6th Report: Findings from the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol by The January 6 Select Committee

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The January 6th Report: Findings from the Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol by The January 6 Select Committee is an interesting read based on the findings of the investigation into the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol to interfere with Congress doing its job of certifying the 2020 election. It is sometimes a bit dry and legalistic , but it attempts to create a record that is accessible for people to understand the findings and facts discovered through the Select Committee's investigation . There are a lot of footnotes detailing where the evidence originated for the findings the Committee made. The book would be much shorter without the extensive documentation in the footnotes, but those footnotes are important. There is some repetition, but that repetition was necessary because various acts and words spoken applied to different aspects of the attack and what lead up to it.  I found The January 6th Report a worthwhil

A Week in Summer by Maeve Binchy

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A Week in Summer by Maeve Binchy is a sweet short story filled with reminders that life and love are rarely as simple as we'd like. People are complex and relating to one another isn't always as easy as we'd like. Yet, there can be moments that change everything often seeming serendipitous. Binchy writes characters in relatable dilemmas that feel like they could be real sometimes with an interesting twist that changes the perspective of both the characters and the reader. A Week in Summer  exposes a couple who seem to have drifted apart and fallen into a bit of a rut in their routine to a new way of looking at not only the world but their relationship in the process. Binchy's development of the couple in the story and the connection to the past that showed them the possibility for a future made me think about life and the connections in my own life. A Week in Summer explores the complexities and the simplicities of life and relationships in what is far more than the v

The Beautiful Little Things by Melissa Hill

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The Beautiful Little Things by Melissa Hill pulled me in gently but firmly. The characters felt almost too real at every turn. The breakdowns in communications and the assumptions made about each other and situations felt all too familiar. I cheered them on, shook my head at bad decisions, and urged them to just talk to each other. Hill creates the kind of family drama and tension that often accompanies big changes in life with a nuance that felt voyeuristic at times. The Beautiful Little Things tells the story of a family navigating love, relationships, disappointment, guilt, and most of all, grief. As the family tries to navigate through unspoken resentments and unfair assumptions about one another, they are also navigating grief over their beloved matriarch and their perceptions of her perfection leading them to lash out and create havoc for all even while using her last journal as a guide to find their way back to each other. The Beautiful Little Things is all about navigating th

Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear by Mosab Abu Toha

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Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear by Mosab Abu Toha is an immersive, honest, and intense book of poetry. By the time I finished it I needed to remind myself that poetry, even when based on one's life experiences, is only a snapshot of the moments it details not a memoir. This was another book of poetry that while short took me a long time to read because I wanted to think about and feel each poem after reading it. T hings You May Find Hidden in My Ear reveals gems of language, nuance, and beauty even while detailing atrocities, personal pain, and loss in the larger picture of living. Abu Toha's poems constantly reminded me that while we have many differences in our lives across the world, we share the experience of being human. Abu Toha ends the book with a particularly impactful poem that speaks to both resilience and hopefulness. While laced with the realities of living under occupation, Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear imparts an unexpected hopefulness. Currently R

A Gift of Fire: The Light-Bringer Series by Stephanie Stamm

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A Gift of Fire: The Light-Bringer Series by Stephanie Stamm, the third and, apparently final, book in Stamm's trilogy picks up where A Gift of Shadow left off. This trilogy pulled me in and refused to let go even when I questioned the characters choices. I initially felt uncertain about how some of the relationships changes throughout the trilogy, but by A Gift of Fire , I was fully on board and cheering on the relationships as they developed. Lucky, her friends, and her family find connection, lose connection, and fight to rediscover their connection as they battle forces bent on destroying all the worlds in existence. I really enjoyed the play on expectations with good, evil, light, and darkness repeatedly proving that life is far more complicated and nuanced than we often see. The choices the characters, especially Lucky, faced about choosing how to use their powers made my heart pound and left me a little bit more aware of the potential consequences of the choices I make. Sta

She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo

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She Had Some Horses by Joy Harjo starts with a cover that invites motion into the conversation and is filled with poems that move the mind and the heart. Harjo delves into the intricacies of life and living with a deft hand that always feels in motion. I read one poem a night because I wanted to savor each poem and give myself to feel it and think about it. Harjo connects humanity to the earth and the earth to all its inhabitants in a way that reminded me of the just how interconnected everything on the earth is with both celebration and a call to action. She Had Some Horses moves through the imagination like horses in motion. Currently Reading: The January 6th Report The Gift of Fire   by Stephanie Stamm Things You May Find Hidden in My Ear: Poems from Gaza  by Mosab Abu Toha Palestine: A Four Thousand Year History  by Nur Masalha Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links meaning if you click on those links and make a purchase, I earn a commission at no additional cost to you.

Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine by Noura Erakat

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Justice for Some: Law and the Question of Palestine by Noura Erakat approaches the Palestinian struggle for freedom by delving into how legal maneuvers are used to manipulate politics and political maneuvers are used to manipulate the law to justify the oppression of the Palestinian people. Erakat's explanations had me repeatedly wondering how people can be so cruel and why they choose to be. Erakat demonstrates and examines how the wording in multiple documents including the Oslo accords left loopholes and contributed to the subjugation of the Palestinian people while leaving room to make vague claims of a mirage of progress that falls apart with the smallest amount of investigation. An undercurrent throughout Justice for Some is that oppressors make laws the oppressed are expected to live by keeping the oppressors in power and the oppressed under control. Justice for Some explains much of the law that often gets cited in media and other analysis used to justify the dehumanizat

Rifqa by Mohammed El-Kurd

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Rifqa by Mohammed El-Kurd is a lyrical, intense, raw, honest book of poetry. The beauty of Rifqa, El-Kurd's grandmother, shines through in his detailing of her resilience juxtaposed with her tenderness. El-Kurd made me miss my own grandmothers through poetry that shines a light on the humanity within each of us that connects us in some way even when we think connection is unimaginable. I saw Rifqa's struggle and El-Kurd's struggle through his words but even more so I saw the beauty of Palestine through both their eyes. The longing for home and the need for connection weaves throughout his poems exposing the occupier through the eyes of the occupied. The use of the Arabic language dotted throughout the book looks beautiful on the page and had me reaching out to my husband for translation enhancing the experience. Rifqa reminded me how the arts can bring us closer to understanding each other in ways that are revolutionary and inspirational. Currently Reading: The January 6t

The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe

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The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilan Pappe came highly recommended by several sources. After I watched a few interviews with Pappe, I finally found the book available and immediately ordered it. It is a fascinating, must-read book for anyone who wants to better understand how Israel came into existence on land inhabited by Palestinians and known as Palestine. Pappe is an Israeli historian who used Israel's historical documents to expose the history that has been obfuscated and manipulated to manufacture a narrative more palatable to much of the world than the truth. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine explores the atrocities of the Nakba and the years leading up to the Nakba as well as the invention of Zionism. Pappe explores and explains attitudes, behaviors, and decisions made by those in charge using their own diaries and official records in a way that brings the people of the time and the moments they experienced to life. The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine is well-research

The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 by Lucille Clifton

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The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010  by Lucille Clifton (edited by Kevin Young and Michael S. Glaser) brought all the feelings to the table. Clifton's poems have a sophisticated simplicity that lends beautifully to the complex issues she covers in this wide-ranging book of poems. Some of the more personal poems felt almost voyeuristic but left me wanting to know more. Clifton made me think and feel in poems that pulled me into the world from her point of view. As with any collection, some of Clifton's poems resonated with me more deeply than others. I enjoy poems that make me question what I think I know and challenge me to feel things beyond my experience. The Collected Poems of Lucille Clifton 1965-2010 certainly accomplished both. Currently Reading: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine  by Ilan Pappe The January 6th Report  Rifqa  by Mohammed El-Kurd Disclosure: This blog contains affiliate links meaning if you click on those links and make a purchase, I earn a co

The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day Expanded Edition by Lisa Tener

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The Joy of Writing Journal: Spark Your Creativity in 8 Minutes a Day Expanded Edition by Lisa Tener was both better and worse than I expected. I bought this journal more as research in how it was designed than in thinking I needed the promised spark to my creativity; however, it did add a spark to my creativity most days. I found the 8 minutes a day more of an aspiration than a reality on several days, but I was okay with that. A few of the prompts didn't work that well for me, but others were great. The videos were nice but didn't really seem necessary. I quite enjoyed the meditations Tener provided links to. Tener offers creative prompts that allow the writer to mold them to their own needs. I did all the expanded exercises, so The Joy of Writing Journal took me a little over two months to complete. Overall, I would suggest The Joy of Writing for anyone who feels a lull in their creativity, enjoys writing prompts, or likes to journal. Currently Reading: The Ethnic Cleansin

A Land With a People: Palestinians and Jews Confront Zionism edited by Esther Farmer, Rosalind Petchesky, and Sarah Sills

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A Land With a People: Palestinians and Jews Confront Zionism: A collection of personal stories, history, poetry, and art  edited by Esther Farmer, Rosalind Petchesky, and Sarah Sills offers insight into the experiences of myriad people on their journey to understand zionism and confront it in their own ways. A Land With a People seeks to explain the history of Palestine and to remind the world there were people living in Palestine before Israel was created. Several of the essays also explore the difference in antisemitism and antizionism. The photographs and the artwork included in A Land With a People enhance the writings .  A Land With a People is an intense collection of beautiful writings that can be heart-wrenching at times and heart-warming at others and sometimes both at the same time. The vision of the myriad artists who contributed to A Land With a People gives me hope that people can find a way to create a better world.  Currently Reading: The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestin

The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D.

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The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel Van Der Kolk, M.D. felt like being in therapy and studying the therapy technique at the same time. At about the 20% mark, I think, I texted a psychologist friend and arranged a book discussion for when I finished it.  The research Van De Kolk has participated in over his career is fascinating as is the other research he gathered in this book. I repeatedly wished I'd found this research twenty or thirty years ago. That said, there were several times word choices that made me feel uncomfortable and earlier in my life likely would have been triggering for me. I'm certain the research has continued to evolve as research tends to do, but The Body Keeps the Score made me finally realize that all those times I felt like my body was betraying me was it having a normal reaction to trauma. Several of the life techniques discussed in the book, I discovered through a more painstaking and lonely process of

Reading Recommendations on Palestine

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Let's take a slight detour from my usual reviews.  Recently, I was compiling a list of books I've read about Palestine and Jerusalem to possibly share for the Corvallis Palestine Solidarity resource guide and realized I haven't reviewed most of those books or otherwise shared them. I decided to share a list of these books I've previously read complete with a few of my thoughts on each one. Future books will receive their own reviews like all the other books I read. In the meantime, if you're looking for more information on Palestine, Israel, and Jerusalem as well as the intersection of Christianity, Islam, and Judaism in the discussion, here are a few books to get you started. Nonfiction: The Hundred Years’ War on Palestine: A History of Settler Colonialism and Resistance, 1917-2017 by Rashid Khalidi – A very informative and well-written book. See my full thoughts in my earlier review . The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine by Ilian Pappe - I just started this one, s

Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom by Rebecca Ruth Gould

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Erasing Palestine: Free Speech and Palestinian Freedom by Rebecca Ruth Gould wasn't quite what I expected. I saw Gould in an interview and decided to read her book. Erasing Palestine starts out with an engaging story then goes into an academic discussion of antisemitism and the history of antisemitism while showing how antisemitism has been used as a cudgel to quiet the Palestinian voice and erase the history of the Palestinian people. Gould supports her individual points fairly well but sometimes it's easy to forget the overall point she's trying to make. I was a bit disappointed she didn't really explore how the legal definition of antisemitism came to differ so much from the dictionary definition. I felt this might have been an important part of discussing the erasure of Palestine. Some of her later points in the book about free speech in general weren't particularly convincing but also demonstrated what a complex issue freedom of speech can be. I, personally,