Tuesday, January 26, 2021

Last Week's Reading: Madeleine L'Engle and the Dust Bowl Days


Last week was a pretty good week for reading. I read a couple quick reads for young people and a nonfiction that was dry as its subject matter---but still worth it.

Book Description: "A Wrinkle in Time: The mysterious Mrs. Whatsit, Mrs. Who and Mrs. Which send Meg and Charles Wallace through time and space to rescue their father on the planet Camazotz, accompanied by their new friend Calvin. Along the way, the three children learn about the "Black Thing", a cloud of evil that shadows many planets, including Earth. They encounter a Brain named IT, which controls the minds of people."

Reading, finishing, and actually UNDERSTANDING this book sparked a huge sense of accomplishment and pride in me. Ha! I've read it several times over the years, never understood it in school, and "kind of got it" as a younger adult. Since the Bible passages aren't referenced, baby Christian me never realized they were Scriptural and I always got distracted and lost when things got "too scientific". But this time through I thoroughly understood what I was reading and immediately picked up the second book in the series upon finishing.

5 stars from me for a great book---but even more so deserved after reading some biographical info and learning all L'Engle went through to finally have this published!

Book Description: "A Wind in the Door: Meg, Calvin and the disagreeable school principal Mr. Jenkins have to travel inside one of Charles Wallace's mitochondria to save him from a deadly disease, part of a cosmic battle against the evil Echthroi and the forces of "Unnaming"."

I struggled with this one a lot---I'm so bad with scifi/fantasy! I struggled to keep my attention on the story---nonhuman characters, poorly explained science, Meg does a lot of "stamping". Extreme drama mixed with extreme fantasy was a bit much and I had a hard time following. I did have a little deja vu, now and then, until the second half. Maybe I read this waaaaay back in elementary or middle school?

My favorite quote was this: "It is only when we are fully rooted that we are really able to move."

Book Description: "The dust storms that terrorized the High Plains in the darkest years of the Depression were like nothing ever seen before or since. Timothy Egan’s critically acclaimed account rescues this iconic chapter of American history from the shadows in a tour de force of historical reportage. Following a dozen families and their communities through the rise and fall of the region, Egan tells of their desperate attempts to carry on through blinding black dust blizzards, crop failure, and the death of loved ones. Brilliantly capturing the terrifying drama of catastrophe, Egan does equal justice to the human characters who become his heroes, “the stoic, long-suffering men and women whose lives he opens up with urgency and respect” (New York Times).

In an era that promises ever-greater natural disasters, The Worst Hard Time is “arguably the best nonfiction book yet” (Austin Statesman Journal) on the greatest environmental disaster ever to be visited upon our land and a powerful cautionary tale about the dangers of trifling with nature."

This was a very interesting and informative read---I learned a few things and definitely had a shift of perspective about this time in history. I'd been told that my great grandmother and her family went through the Dust Bowl but looking at the timeline compared to where they were during those years, it looks like they were probably more financially affected by the lack of work than by the bulk of the dust storms themselves. Her family left Beaver County, Oklahoma (in the heart of the Dust Bowl) in the 1920s and went east to Enid (east of the worst of it by a couple hundred miles, according to this book). So they were out of there long before the dusters started hitting, but definitely would have felt the financial fall out of that mixed with the other effects of the Great Depression. From what I can tell, that family began to move west to Oregon in the early 1950s, with my great-grandmother arriving within 10 years of that.

Reading about the beginning of the depression reminded me of last summer when the government was... read the full book review here.

The L'Engle books fulfill the following challenges: The Children's Books Challenge at Belle's Library; and four challenges for the Brighter Winter Reading Program.

The Worst Hard Time fulfills the following challenges: The Historical Reading Challenge at The Intrepid Reader and two challenges for the Brighter Winter Reading Program.

1 comment:

  1. I've almost read A Wrinkle In Time a few times but then didn't. The other book is one I've not seen until now.