Hey all! Here are some weekly picks for a wide assortment of reading, writing and watching for this week!
Most intriguing Documentary : Waiting for Superman
A lot has been said about this documentary film , but needless to say it shows with heartbreaking detail the motto ” the road to hell was paved with good intentions” the American education system is such a mess right now it is no wonder that it falls far behind many educational systems around the world. I would argue that it is not merely the laws that need to be changed but the manner in which we educate, the culture of homogenous competition and the need for diverse actions for education. What the documentary does is show the real children facing the challenges of mediocre education today. This is why I dedicate my time to educate youth!
Best Autobiography : Black Elk Speaks
This book is an autobiography of a Oglala Sioux man , watching as his People lose land, lives and their way of life throughout his life… This is someone who speaks on the demise of his people in a heartbreaking way. Yes, it is an uncomfrotable subject to read, but it also is filled with slivers of hope. He speaks of a time where we were not so focused on material gain. On May 1, 1863 he had a dream. He dreamt that his people would have two roads, one road was black and could only lead to suffering , the other was brown and lead to fruits and abundance. However, the brown road would be destroyed. There was a hope that in the future, a man would come to unite all people and have people turn to the brown road. His views are even more relevant and poignant today in view of the world’s economic collapse. He dreams of the world coming together.Here are some beautiful quotes :
“The first peace, which is the most important, is that which comes within the souls of people when they realize their relationship, their oneness with the universe and all its powers, and when they realize at the center of the universe dwells the Great Spirit, and that its center is really everywhere, it is within each of us.”
― Black Elk
“I did not see anything [New York 1886] to help my people. I could see that the Wasichus [white man] did not care for each other the way our people did before the nation’s hoop was broken. They would take everything from each other if they could, and so there were some who had more of everything than they could use, while crowds of people had nothing at all and maybe were starving. This could not be better than the old ways of my people.”
― Black Elk, Black Elk Speaks: Being the Life Story of a Holy Man of the Oglala Sioux
Yes, this story will make you squirm in your seat or cry in despair and sadness. But I don’t think this is the purpose, as it can empower people to create positive change.
Most mind-blowing Book : The Delusions of Gender
Written by Dr.Cordelia Fine, this book will blow notions of gender out of the water. It tells us that most of what we believe to be issues of male and female brains are essentially hogwash. Very little evidence exists that there are proven differences between males and females beyond physical elements. She speaks on how testing bias might lead to misleading results where women are less skilled in ” rational and logical” elements to men, and where men are far less empathetic and intuitive than women. I will try to blog about this one at a future date.
Most Interesting Recent Read : The Magicians and The Magician King
The Magician series are interesting revaluation of what it means to have magic in the real world. It slightly satirizes Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and many other of our favorite fantasy books come to play. Quentin is the ultimate existentialist anti-hero, he does is narcissistic hedonistic and lacks very little redeeming qualities. The book argues : What if a character had superior traits to others yet did nothing but serve himself? What is the real purpose of magic vs. the real world? I don’t necessarily agree with everything he was talking about but it is definitely intriguing.
One of My Favorite Books : Like Water for Chocolate
It’s probably more visceral, real and poignant in Spanish but the storytelling is amazing in this one. Yes, it’s a love story but it also speaks of a tradition of food as a symbol for what we are feeling and living at the time. Filled with magic realism and startling images and even recipes! I would also highly recommend the film
Best Foreign Film : Life in the Time of the Gypsies.
First off, the cinematography, acting and feel of the film is simply astounding. Then there is the message. The film takes place in Eastern Europe ( serbia I believe). The overlying themes of the film speak of the state of broken identity, rejection and crime perpetuated within the gypsy culture. It is a film that for the most part was done with real gypsies, and I was always reminded of the film when I was working with the Romanian gypsy teens in Madrid. (The story which you can find here in ” Paint Away the Demons”.) The music and the dramatic finale of the movie is simply astounding.
Recommended Food to Try : Pupusas
I had to give a shout out to Salvadoran food the first time around. Made of flour or rice tortilla with beans , cheese or pork ( or a combination of all three) and served with tomato sauce and pickled cabbage, it’s really intensely good and not that bad for you. 🙂
Author I Try Not to Hate : Stephanie Meyer.
Darn you, wasn’t it enough to have produced the worst set of literary books since Sweet Valley High? You, and only you, are responsible for Fifty Shades of Grey. Go to the corner!
Most Screwed Book of All Time : Flowers in the Attic series
I read these when I was 12.. I mean that author had issues! Brother and sister getting married and having kids is just plain messed up!