14 April 2008

Finished Two Today

At work I read The Horse and His Boy by C.S. Lewis. I have read that this is both the 3rd and 5th book? I am just plucking them off the library shelf based on the number on the spine. I actually liked this one more than the first two. It has a standard story: intrepid noble uneducated orphan child has adventures and finds out he not only isn't an orphan but is in fact a long lost royal relative. We follow Shasta, the orphan, as he escapes from slavery with a Narnian talking horse, Bree. Along the way they meet another Narnian horse, Hwin and a young girl Aravis. I think Aravis, the tomboy escaping an arranged marriage, really made this story for me. Watching her character interact with others you can see she is exactly the girl who would run away (after being stopped by Hwin during a suicide attempt, a little bit of darkness i wasn't expecting) because she is strong, spoiled and competent. She'd get along well with Lyra from The Golden Compass! Despite the standard kid's story, and the Arab racism, I give this one a 6/7.

Also got One Drop by Bliss Broyard finished up today. A history/biography/memoir that is long and sometimes difficult. Just before her father dies in 1990 the author finds out he was of mixed race. I almost said "raised as black" but that isn't exactly correct; in fact, his parents both passed as white for work. Honestly I liked the history (of New Orleans and the struggles of the free people of color) and the biography (of the author's father, Anatole Broyard) more than I liked the memoir stuff. I guess I just got a little tired of the author trying to decide how she should act or be different due to her racial history. I just don't think anything like that would matter to me. i give the book as a whole a 4/7.

My mom's hobby when I was a kid was genealogy and she was able to trace pieces of her family back to before the Revolutionary War. Pure American Mutt on that side. They were throughout the Midwest and South (Kentucky, Indiana, Virginia, Ohio) so even if I don't have an African American ancestor on that side I definitely have some long lost cousins who do. On my father's side, I am Russian, from which I received my Ivanoff last name, my large nose and blue eyes, and Italian, which topped out my adult height at 5 ft 2 but gave me tiny feet and hands. But with those two countries in my family tree who knows what mix of genes i have. Egyptian? Greek? Mongol? Indian? Does it truly matter who people hundreds and thousands of years ago slept with? What would change about me if I found out I had these various peoples as my ancestors?

4 comments:

  1. I happened upon your blog. Hope you don't mind the comment.

    I agree. It wouldn't matter if I happened to find a different race on my tree down the line. I think it would just make it more interesting. I saw a special about Bliss Boyard and her father and thought it was rather interesting.

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  2. I really apprecaite your comments abouto Bliss Broyard's book. Any critical comments about the false notion that people who look and live as whites are really "blacks" and only "passing as white" are rarely allowed in the mainstream media.

    http://www.melungeon.org/node/68

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  3. I don't know, I think genealogy is pretty fascinating myself. Being able to see where one comes from and what races, cultures, etc. are a part of one's bloodline and where they fit in is pretty cool. I was listening to NPR the other day and they were talking about these gene experiments they were doing on anyone who wanted to volunteer (they send you a packet for you to swab your cheek) and they can trace your genes back and see what places your line came from. Not individual people, but at least trace the route your people came from back to the origins of man somewhere in Africa. It was so interesting.

    I like The Horse and His Boy as well. That actually is as far as I've gotten (thus far anyway) reading the Narnia books.

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  4. Carl....i did peek online at a few of those dna test sites and they seem pretty expensive, ranging from $250 on up depending on what exactly you want looked at. So I'd really have to want a lot more to know about my ancestors before i'd spring for it.

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