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put your eyes here!

narrative of the life of frederick douglass by (duh) frederick douglass.
this semester, i signed up for this awesome african-american literature class, and this is the first book we read. before reading it, i thought i had a pretty good idea about what slavery was. i imagined it must have felt pretty bad to be a slave, but i never really thought about it much more than just stayed at that "surface" type of level in my mind. but reading mr. douglass's book just made my stomach turn with its depiction of the life of a slave. it just hit me..this was REALITY, no matter how long ago it happened. and even more...this reality happened HERE, maybe right where i am sitting today. this book makes you really think about the value of human life, as well as about how lucky we are to be able to read, study, and work. to people today, going to work is something to whine about, and studying is often considered boring. but to frederick douglass, just having the rights to do these things was a blessing from god. he also discusses other issues like the "devout christians" who were also merciless slavedrivers, and does this all in a way that appeals to your heart as well as to your head. it's not a textbook, although it states facts, and it's not just some story, because everything on these pages is so very real and is relevant to us even today, a hundred and fifty years after it was written. let's just say, it's a very short book that holds the weight of thousands of volumes.

burn collector by al burian.
when we were on tour, i saw this on a shelf in a record store and was amazed! it's a collection of all the issues of a really awesome zine that i have enjoyed reading for some time. i have -almost- all of the issues in a little bag in my closet..but anyway, it was just so neat to see them all nicely bound into a real book. with most other zines, i don't really have an overwhelming desire to search out the next issue..but that's not the case with burn collector. i love reading about all the cool things this guy does, and seeing the world through his eyes for a few minutes. whenever i read his zine, i get all these big plans in my head..all kinds of ideas. everything just feels kinda fresh like that, and that's why i enjoy his zine so much. it's full of cool black and white pictures, too. so if you see this book, definitely pick it up--it's very much worth it.

the stranger by albert camus
a couple of years ago, while we were in europe, my friend jen suggested that i read this. now i see why, but at the same time there is so much i don't see. after i started reading i wanted to learn everything i could about camus and about this book as well. the words made my eyes dark and put me in the strangest mood...and i want to see more, much more. i write again here soon, once i figure out what exactly i'm writing about..

ethel ennis, the reluctant jazz star by sallie kravetz
this is the first book i have read this summer..just finished it tonight. before i got this book i had never even heard of ethel ennis, but now i am sitting here amazed at how she lived her life. as far as i know, she's still alive, but i can't find anything else about her other than this one skinny black book. anyway. ethel had an amazing voice..she was a beautiful jazz singer. but she never "made it" or became a "superstar". it's like, she would be right at that point where her career was going to take off, and she would be like, "nope, wait a second. this isn't how it's supposed to be." she refused to change herself for society, asserting her beliefs in a really quiet but powerful way. and even though she didn't have that superficial stardom upon which many people judge success, ethel did more great things with her life than most celebrities ever did. this book made me happy as i read. the author did a good job capturing all the parts of ethel's life..and sometimes i could almost hear her voice through the sentences.

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