Monday, January 22, 2007

Book Tag

Mamalee, over at Full Plate tagged me. Now, not knowing what proper "tag" etiquette is (can I ignore it? will a plague be visited upon my house if I do? what happens if I don't send it out to three people?) and having the means at hand, I decided to participate. Of course, I also had an ulterior motive - to "advertise" some of my favorite books!

The "rules" for the 123Meme are as follows:

For those tagged, here's what you've got to do:

1. Grab the closest book to you.
2. Open to page 123, look down to the 5th sentence.
3. Post the text of the next 3 sentences on your blog.
4. Include the title and the author's name.
5. Tag 3 people.

Well, this morning I finished a book for a book club I belong to. The book was right next to my computer when I read the tag. For tonight's discussion we are reading complementary titles, one of which I am quite passionate about and have discussed in one of my early blog entries, Blood Done Sign My Name.

The other is a well known book that I have read before. When I asked my children if either had a copy that I could borrow to read, they both offered me copies; my daughter said it was her favorite book (and that she wanted her copy back!) Here are the three sentences from page 123, as required by the tag "rules":

"Slowly, painfully, the ten dollars was collected. The door was opened, and the gust of warm air revived us. Zeebo lined On Jordan's Stormy Banks, and church was over."

Of course, this is from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. If you haven't read it in a few years, do yourself a favor and read it again. If you have never read it, please, please do! It is a beautiful, but non-sentimental story, of the Depression-era South - with all the innocence, prejudice and moral crises of the time. It is also the story of a family, of a single father raising his two children and how he teaches them values in his own quiet manner. Gregory Peck won an Oscar for his starring role in the film, based on the book - a film that did justice to the book. While you're at it, find Blood Done Sign My Name. I don't know anyone who has read it and not been changed by it.

As for tag etiquette - I'm more of the mind that you can lead a horse to water, but you can't make him drink. So consider yourself tagged if you have a particular book you would like to share. Let me know in the comments. I'll be looking for at least three of you!


goatman said...

"Barker's expression was attentive and diapassionate as he looked at Latourette. His weight had shifted almost entirely away from his artificial leg, but there was no other sign of tension in him. He was deathly calm."
This from "The Science Fiction Hall of Fame" Volume Two B , edited by Ben Bova. Story is "Rogue Moon" by Algis Budrys.
This is my first tag and I'll not bother others with it; seems too much like a burden . . . on them. But I appreciate the theory.
Mechanical engr but hired to design structural pipe supports for 20 years. Now trying to work with the other half of my brain, pretty much exclusively.
Thanks for visiting my blog.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Thanks for the visit, Goatman and welcome back anytime. I think I'm trying to work BOTH sides of my brain now, LOL - that left-brain thing never really goes away completely, imho.

My bad - I meant post the tag on YOUR blog and leave a comment for me that you did (although I would have checked all my commentators, anyway!)

But this certainly counts, so now two (or more) tags needed, from the rest of you.

Mark said...

This is a fun tag, of which I will participate. Check out my response, which I will try to do today.
Thanks for the recommendation of "Blood Done Sign My Name". I have added it to my long list of books to read.

Jennifer said...

Wow... I've got Blood done, sign my name on my list of books to read. It sounds very powerful! Thanks for the recommendation! :-)

Velvet Sacks said...

Sunflower, I'm taking you up on the meme, thank you very much.

Also, at your recommendation, I did read Blood Done Sign My Name. I found it excellent reading, but I'm wondering what precisely you found "life-changing" about it. The obvious thing would be that it opened your eyes about the existence of rampant (and hidden) racism in some parts of the country. Having lived most of my life in the South, that aspect of the book wasn't news to me. If I guessed wrong, would you share, please? I agree that it's a thought-provoking book and wonder if it's been discussed on any online forums.

Kat said...

To Kill A Mockingbird is one of my favorite books too. I reread it about every three years.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Mark, thanks for taking me up on this - looking forward to hearing the full review, when you're done.

I found it to be a very powerful book, Jennifer - hope you enjoy it.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Velvet, maybe I should have put a caveat that BLOOD may be more shocking to those of us north of the Mason-Dixon line, LOL. I don't quite think I said "life-changing" - but everyone who I know that read it said it made them rethink their perspectives on racism and what black people have had to deal with - and what they still have to deal with. They were all shocked that they had been so unaware.

Yes, being a Yankee, I was very upset to learn how black people were/are treated in the south. I grew up in NYC, with a rainbow of colors in my classrooms. I never considered myself racist at all. Yet after reading this book I really had to do some soul searching to see if this was actually true. I am concerned about my daughter teaching in an underprivileged area next year and I had to tease out that this was due to the violence associated with poor neighborhoods, rather than a matter of racism. I really looked back over my life to see if there were any times I had acted racist - have I ever come off as being condescending in an effort to be politically correct? So many things that went through my mind, that I will certainly pay more attention to for the rest of my life.

There is certainly racism up north; I see it in my own town. There is a person in my school district who is in charge of curriculum for a 10th grade SS/English seminar. I left several messages for her about the book and couldn't get a call back. I then looked up a principal my children had once had - he has a son in the same college as my son and I thought maybe he had read the book. He did and thought it was an excellent book - however he told me it would never fly in this district. He said it is "non-diverse" here for a reason - that's what the residents want and they pay extra to live in an area like this. I was floored. This principal is a good man and tends toward the liberal - yet he had to toe the town/school district party line. So although we are up north, there is blatant racism here. I will keep pushing for the district to pick up this book.

I know that we still have racial strife in this country - but was not aware that so much of the mindset of blacks and whites today could still be attributed to the legacy of slavery. I was not aware of so much violence during the civil rights era. The history books gloss over most of that by citing Dr. Martin Luther King and his peaceful ways - as if these peaceful demonstrations were what won "equal" rights for black people.

Well, as you can see Velvet, I can go on and on. My awareness of the truth has increased. I have a newfound appreciation for what black people had to overcome and how they still struggle. I am saddened by the racism that still abounds - against blacks and anyone else who is not white. I know I will be more conscious of how I treat others - of any color. I also know I will do what I can to decrease racism in this world, every chance I get.

My local friends who have read the book have come to the same conclusions. So I guess that's why I said that it "changed" us.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Kat - I know you are a busy publisher and are probably reading ALL the time. I'm glad you think Mockingbird is special enough to read every three years. I will certainly rotate it into my reading pile every few years.

QUASAR9 said...

Hi Sunflower, got thru at last
Blogger was playing up earlier on

Sunflower Optimism said...

Thanks for stopping, Q. I know blogger's been a bear today. Lots of "down for unscheduled maintenance." Appreciate the persistence. As Dr. John keeps saying, when blogger goes down "blogger is free, blogger is free. . . "

Thanks again for autoimmune post.

QUASAR9 said...

Never again were the Zhou to rule a unified state. The Central area of northern China split into a number of states centred on the cities established early in the dybasty by relations of the Zhou king. Not far from the Yellow River, the Zhou ruled from their secondary capital at present day Luoyang, known in the Western Zhou period as Chengedou. The Jin dominated Shanxi from their capital near Hourma. In the extreme north the Yan state established another capital west of Beijing, and the Qi occupied Shandong, with lesser states at Lu and Ji

Mysteries of Ancient China
edited by Jessica Rawson

As you can see China had Empires and Tribal warfare like the MesoAmericans and South Americans. Fortunately for China, Europeans decided to cross the Atlantic and decimate the less cohesive native american tribes of north america.
But I'm sure Cheney still fighting the korean war and sore at having lost first time round, would just love Bush to start war with China.

Velvet Sacks said...

Sunflower, thanks for clarifying. I was afraid I'd missed an important point of the book, but now I think it's a matter of your being enlightened by something I'd already discovered before I read the book. And you were right: I did misread the word "changed."

If you've looked at my profile, you might have noticed that one of my favorite movies is "Mississippi Burning," mostly for the same reasons that you like "Blood Done Sign My Name" so much. That movie had the same profound effect on me that "Blood" had on you, shocking me into opening my eyes and paying attention to what had been going on just a few years ago. I saw it in a theater where blacks far outnumbered whites, and as I left the theater, tears still streaming down my face, part of me wanted to hug all of them and apologize, and part of me wanted to hide from them. I was THAT ashamed of what people of my race had done to the people of another race. I was encouraged, however, when I remembered that all of us in that theater cheered in the same places.

And now I'll recommend my favorite book to you: "Cane River" by Lalita tademy. It's not as in-your-face shocking, but it's a well-told story about several generations of one slave family, and it moves me deeply every time I read it--which is almost every year because I like the main characters so much.

Back to racism: I think things are much better than they used to be, but we still have SUCH a long way to go. I'm hoping highly visible people like Condoleezza Rice (though I don't agree with her politics), Colin Powell, and especially Barack Obama will help to change hearts and minds. It's about time.

Sunflower Optimism said...

Well Velvet, I just put Mississippi Burning on my blockbuster online list and Cane River has been requested online through my library.

Things are better - but sometimes I just think we're patting ourselves on the back. 1970 was not so long ago. Then along comes someone like Obama who captures America's imagination and I think maybe there is hope after all.

I just knew this would be a good meme!

CreekHiker said...

Sunflower, Thanks for the MEME challenge. I read about it on Velvet's...although my book choice will be boring to some. My fave book of all time is To kill a Mockingbird. I've read it dozens of times and it still surprises me.


Marion said...

The book closest to me was the telephone book or the thesaurus!Lol

It seems to me that my favourite book is the one I'm reading at any given moment. I read voraciously and am starting to read my library all over again, because there is always something new in the words of another. Something that twigs a part of me that I was not aware of, perhaps, the first time I read it.

I have really enjoyed this discussion, Sunflower...and I love all the books mentioned!

Sunflower Optimism said...

Q9, thanks for playing! Social studies was not my strength in school - I was more a math/science person. But yes, interesting to think what would have happened if the Europeans had ventured the other way.
Holly, thanks for taking on the meme challenge - even once removed, LOL. You and my daughter are on the same page about Mockingbird. As a matter of fact, I may join you! (although BLOOD was also phenomenal, in my opinion.)
Ok, Marion - what is your THIRD closest book? There must be a wonderful herb or reiki book somewhere in your vicinity ;-) Btw, I keep popping over to look at your SUNFLOWER photos - they just put a big smile on my face every time I look at them! :-)

Mimi Lenox said...

Love this, Sunflower!
I have added you to my blogroll today. Thanks for being a supporter of Peace Globes and Memes!
Mimi Lenox

"Angeldust" said...

ok....... I got this from a "general tag to visitors" at a blogger friend - as I finally made time to "leave my blogger cave" today. Sory for my absences...

This is super-cool!
Great post

Love and joy

Sunflower Optimism said...

Thanks for stopping by, Mimi, Queen of the Memes! If I knew how to do the code, I would put the peace globe up permanently. I'm pretty lame at this html stuff.
Angeldust, glad you left the warm and cosy "cave" to visit. I know I owe you a reply, I've been busy lately - all good things, so I can't complain :-)