Sunday, May 1, 2011

Keeping Corner, Survival in the Storm, Out of the Dust

I feel a bit behind on blog posts. After this post, I need to do one on Farewell to Arms and The Great Gatsby, which we are reading or have read in English class.

My application at Booksneeze was accepted and I am awaiting the arrival of MacArthur America's General by Mitchel Yockelson and Stephen Mansfield. For my creative writing class, I am reading Angela's Ashes, the first fifty pages for Monday's discussion. I've been busy with ACT studying, hanging out at the park, and of course, reading.

Anyways, A few weeks ago I read Keeping Corner by Rashmira Sheth. It's the story of Leela, a widow, who has to shave her head and give up her bangles according to Indian custom. She must stay in her house for one year and mourn. She is encouraged to learn all she can and is taught by Saviben. She is also helped by her brother and cousin, Jaya, and Shani. Leela struggles to break free from her life as a widow forever, but accepts it for the year. It is a year where she learns much about herself and what she  wants for life, now that her life has changed. This novel is set during the Ghandi-era of India, and I found it quite interesting. The idea of satyagraha and how the outside world affects Leela, even though she cannot go out. But when she is is done, will she be able to, with the blessings of her family? I don't want to spoil this, but I encourage all of you to read it. Lots of good quotes like this one:
"Your inner self is an onion: you keep peeling it, and a new layer is always there."

I had to write a paper on the Dust Bowl for my history class, so I read Survival in the Storm: The Dust Bowl Diary of Grace Edwards. I liked it, and it seemed really realistic of that time period. It's a little bit sad, since friends come and go, but ultimately Grace and her family survive the storm. (which refers to the Black Sunday duster).

I also read Out of the Dust by Karen Hesse for the paper. Here the book jacket summary:
At fourteen, Billie Jo has a great deal to forgive. Her father, for causing the accident that killed her mother. Her mother, for leaving when Billie Jo needed her mots. And she must forgive herself, for being the cause of her own sorrow. Daddy's too wrung out to help Billie Jo much, and there's no one else to care. So Billie Jo must heal herself--even if it means tearing up her roots, and leaving behind everything she's ever known. Set in the Oklahoma dust bowl during the Great Depression, Karen Hesse's spare and moving novel explores both the ecology of the land and the topography of the heart.
Written in poems by Billie Jo, this novel is raw and reveals the horrors of the dust, and the brokenness it caused in people and families.. And ultimately, how the land keeps us in one place, and the struggle to play the piano with burned hands--to overcome the dust. She learns that she cannot leave the land, but can escape the dust.

I also watched the Royal Wedding, or at least part of it. I'm really happy for William and Catherine. Best of Luck to them!