Saturday, July 15, 2017

Hillbilly Elegy: Book Review






Hillbilly Elegy
By JD Vance


I purchased Hillbilly Elegy because of the election this year. The book was talked about on the TV news networks.  The book is not just about the life of living in the mountains. It is also about the culture, sociology, behavior, and history of living in the mountains. Or what we know as "hillbillies".

The book was not an easy read. It is a memoir of growing up in one culture, Kentucky mountains,  (Appalachian Mountains) and then migrating to another( Ohio).  The book was written by the prospective of their grandson, JD.

He's Grandparents, and his mother, and himself, and his siblings had a difficult life.  His Grandparents married they moved to Ohio. They moved to the steel factory. Which was great for a time economically.  Unfortunately, many of the people that worked in the steel factory lost their jobs. No more jobs were to be had in the area. J. D. and his family economically, and culturally had a difficult time of it.

You would think this is what the book is about. But, it was more than that. It was about the culture clash between the south, and the north. Most families were not able to adapt from the Kentucky mountains migrating to suburbia. Coming from the Appalachian mountains to Middleton, Ohio. Which was very difficult for them and the others that came from Kentucky. J.D.'s Mawaw, and Grandfather were dirt poor in the Kentucky mountains. When the moved to Ohio things changed for the better economically. But, the culture differences were still there. Think of the Beverly Hillbillies.

                                                           

JD grew up knowing violence, domestic abuse, drug, and alcohol abuse. His Mawaw( grandmother), was a strong force holding the family together. She was a tough cookie.
Continually, J. D. was bounced around from house to house each time he's mother divorced. Finally by the time J. D. was fourteen years old. He's Mawaw wasn't going to tolerate it any longer. She wanted to give him a stable home with lots of encouragement to J. D. Mawaw felt education was a very important.

 Many children were surrounded by trauma inside and outside the school and home.  His Grandmother didn't want this to be an excuse for her grandson.  Which can include sexual abuse, domestic abuse, drug, and alcohol abuse, violence. The list can go on, and on.

J.D. become successful. He graduated high school, went into the Marines, eventually went to Yale, into law school. The hardest part was adapting from the "holler" to suburbia. Try this, while in law school he was going out to dinner with other college students, and instructors, asked what kind of wine he would like. He has never had wine in his life. Couldn't even pronounce the name. He was embarrassed as I am sure we would be too. I hate to tell him. This is not a "Hillbilly thing". Because I didn't know at that age either. But, I am sure that is not the point he is getting at.

My Review: Hillbilly Eulogy was a fast read. I read the book because of Trump's win. But, I don't think the book explain it. It is about the "Hillbilly Culture", I always wondered what it was like living in a rural, poor, area. I have traveled years ago through the Kentucky, and Tennessee mountains.  The book does give a glimpse of the culture. It was a very fast, but difficult read. If you ever wondered about the culture. I recommend the book.

 Below you will find J. D. on Ted Talks below. You will get a better understanding. I am very glad I read it. The only problem I had. I expected it to be about the people of the rural area and Trump and why he won. You can think what you want about why Trump won. I think there are many different reasons. This may be a theory. But, I don't think it is because of them.





The Year Voting Dangerously: Book Review







The Year of Voting Dangerously
By Maureen Dowd


This year has been the ugliest,  strangest presidential election since I have been alive! no kidding, y'all say.What gave you that idea?! I never was involved or cared about politics till this year.

I voted as a Republican because that was what we did in my house.  I listened to my father. Not this year. I knew of Donald Trump when I was younger when I lived in NJ. What a womanizer, a slum lord, and was in bed with mafia, and criminals. Many investigations involving him and the NJ Casinos in Atlantic City, shady deals with real estate. Of course the list can go on, and on.

The sad part this year. It is hard to figure out who you can talk to without it  becoming a fight with someone at the Thanksgiving table. I never brought up politics with my father, or my brothers for fear of repercussions. Pretty sad as this is what has been going on in many friendships, and families. People now don't talk to one another.

 I felt that Donald Trump was a joke. I couldn't believe anyone would vote for him. But the craziness began. Who in their right mind would vote for him? Well, unfortunately there are many out there. There are so many theories of why he won. Why Clinton didn't win.

FYI- I didn't want either one of them. I voted for Bernie Sanders. Because in my mind he was a better choice. I didn't want Clinton. Because she doesn't tell the truth. Because of her husband. I didn't want to see him in the White House again. I didn't want Trump because he was reckless, incompetent, thin skinned, doesn't shut his mouth, is very open how he feels, doesn't act like a government official, very crude, rude, anti establishment, nationalist, acts like a tyrant, isn't for the American people, is against everyone's civil liberties, if you are LGBT, Jewish, Muslim, Afro-American you better run to Canada........ The list can go on, and on.

I picked up the book, The Year of Voting Dangerously because of the craziness of the election. I was looking for something to pick up to explain the craziness of the election. To make me feel better. For the author and I to connect and commiserate together.  Also I saw a talk on Book TV and was impressed with what she had to say.

I found the book not about the year. But, the contemporary political history of the United States. I wasn't expecting to read about the previous political climate. Which I can see why because it adds to the reason of the craziness of 2016.

 Her essays are taken from her posts from the NYT from when she started to the most recent. I did enjoy reading until it started getting repetitive. In the beginning each chapter is about Trump. Then she writes about Hilary. She then goes a different direction. She writes about the previous political years.

She wrote in length about the Bush's while in office. Bush 1, Bush 2, and Jeb. I don't totally agree with her about them or about Hilary. The one part we both agree on is Donald J. Trump. I enjoyed the book about 1/4 of the way. But,  the book became tedious. Her writing was a bit slanted as well.  But, I would not recommend buying the book. I would have rather read bits and pieces of the book. It's not worth reading the entire book.

I wasn't planning on talking about my feelings and fears about this year's election. I was planning to write a review only.  But, unfortunately, I couldn't help myself. It was a bouncing board to let out my own thoughts and feelings. I would like to apologize to my blog readers if I offended anyone.  But, this is a place I can finally say what I feel. One of the other reasons I purchased the book was because of the panel on Book TV. It did sound interesting what Maureen Dowd had to say. It perked my interest. I should have stayed with that. Below is the Book TV show.

Internet Neutrality

 I can't believe this is going on. Trump meets Hunger Games. I can't believe our country is coming to this. If you believe in your civil rights. Then you need to pay attention to what #45, Bannon, and FCC wants to do. What this means to you. This is scary, he wants to control, "Net Neutrality", or internet freedom. If this passes we are becoming like communist USSR. What else is worse. I just learned that the Sinclair Co. Wants to buy up other TV stations and consolidate. What that would mean to us. I don't know if you are thinking in the future. Is a National TV station. Which means that these stations can influence us. By not giving us the true facts. Instead it would be slanted to their beliefs. What is not objective. We, the people need to pay attention now. Stop the FCC and the Trump Administration



Marlene
By C. W. Gortner

I did not know anything about Marlene Dietrich. Only that I knew she was an actress. She was born in Germany in 1901.  She lived through World War 1 in genteel poverty, then into middle class. She was a rebel rouser as a teenager. Her mother sent her off to school. Where she slept around.

She is a violinist, but changes her career as a singer, then to a cabaret singer. Then off to Hollywood. Where she becomes a leading lady in many feature films. Most of the films she made centered on her looks, rather than her smarts. Later on in her career, she did make a few serious films.
                                                         
She is known for her drop dead body, her smoky voice, her gorgeous gowns, her non traditional men's clothing at the cabaret. She was a rebel. She had several scandalous love affairs.  Which she had many leading men which included, John Wayne, Gary Cooper, Cary Grant, and many more.

In the United States when World War 2 was happening. People didn't think kindly of her. They felt she was a sympathizer to the Germans. Which was not true at all. It was totally the opposite. She hated the Nazi's. Hitler tried to coax her to come back to make pictures in Germany. She refused which infuriated Hitler. Instead she became a U. S. citizen.

What I found was interesting she did advocate against the Germans. When she returned to Germany she was heartbroken and devastated how her country was left in shatters. Her sister was caught running a camp in Germany. The United States wanted to know if Marlene knew if her sister was involved.  Instead her sister let it be known she had no idea who she was.

She volunteers with the USO and toured in Europe and Africa. She found her calling she loved entertaining the troops. The men loved her. Especially General Patton. Whom she had an affair as well.

While reading the novel. Something was bugging me. I couldn't put my finger on it . It was never said she was unhappy. But, I got to thinking about it. I realize what got her anywhere was her body, and her looks.  Is that all there is? Or is that just me. I wouldn't want to further my career just on looks alone.

Our book club members loved the book. Some of them reminisced about the movies that Marlene Dietrich was involved in. The many movie stars, and politics in the movies in Hollywood.  The competition of Greta Garbo, and Marlene Dietrich. How different movie studios are different now than they were in the 30's, and 40's. Where the production companies owned your contract and could ruin you.

The author, C. W. Gortner wrote Marlene by accident. He was involved in writing the novel, Chanel. In the novel, Chanel was a scene with Marlene Dietrich. Which his editor decided was better on the floor rather than in the book. His publicist gave him the idea of writing Marlene after Chanel was written.

We gave the book 5 tea cups.  We just loved the book. We needed to get away from the seriousness. It was a fun read!
                                                       
We are doing something different next month. Instead of reading the same book. We will each reading a different book and giving a review. We have never done this before. One of our members gave us the idea. I will let you know how it goes.






Jared and Ivanka Trump- JOKE


Check out the article in the Forward

It is understood that the Kushner's are modern orthodox. Am I missing something here? If you are Jewish you understand. What I am talking about. Modern orthodox Jews do dress modern. But, where is the yarmulke on Jared's head? Look at Ivanka no way would it be appropriate to dress immodestly. With arms exposed. Her dress is very provocative.

The big joke is that they had to ask a Rabbi if they could travel with President Trump to the middle east on Friday. Give me a break! It is so hypocritical. They are hoping this will make news. For anyone is Jewish to praise them.

I am not modern orthodox. But, I do know what it means to be modern orthodox.  I use to see modern orthodox in NYC and in Miami. This is not how you would dress if you are modern orthodox.

To be modern orthodox still means you have to eat kosher, and dress without concealing your arms. Skirts and dresses should be below the knee. Wearing stocking. Women don't wear slacks.  It just shows that they want to be seen as something that are not.

Jared Kushner is just as bad as he's father in law, ruthless, and greedy. There is no room for that in Judaism. But for some reason they want to be thought of as religious Jews, what a joke. If they were they would believe in social justice. As Jews we are taught to stand up for what is right. Not them.

This bothers me because people who are not Jewish will think this is how Jews act and behave. They look at examples. Why is no one calling them out on this? I would think the Rabbi's would stand up, and say something.





Two Paths: John Kasich









Two Paths
By John Kasich
Giving as review by:
St. Martin Publishing









I was given the book by St. Martin's Publishing. I didn't vote for John Kasich. I was never interested in politics. I voted how I was influenced since I was a young girl, republican. This year changed everything with such a divisive election. I voted democrat.

I'm not going to sound off my feelings on the election. I am only telling my thoughts on Mr. Kasich, and his book. I don't live in Ohio. That said, I don't know about his governing. So, I can't comment.

I was very upset with the results of the November elections. Like everyone else, after the election. Most of us were emotional, scared, fearful, apprehensive, anxiety, depression. Never has this affected us as much as this election.

Mr. Kasich is part memoir, part to improve our our government. His book, Two Paths gives us hope. Something we need after the election.  He actually cares about people. Instead of dividing us he would like to be more inclusive to all. He would rather listen across the aisle, rather than argue. He is a breath of fresh air.  He believes we all should listen to each other. There is too much of shutting down instead of working together. For once this is a politician that makes sense. He is real, and doesn't make excuses. He is very positive and upbeat about our country. It is the other politicians who create the negativity.

Politicians don't want to reach out and work together, he states. They are afraid to speak up because they are afraid what their party will think. Mr. Kasich isn't loyal to his party. He seems to care about the people, and what is right. He doesn't believe that the wealthy should be influencing our government by dangling money to the politicians.

I have read other reviews of the book. Some people thought he wrote this for his re-entry for the presidential race in 2020. So what! I think this is a good introduction. Including myself who don't know much about him. I wish I had paid attention to Mr. Kasich!!! He is a better choice than Donald Trump, Cruz, Rubio, Carson. Because they sold out to the people. Where I feel, Mr. Kasich didn't sell out to anyone. I even feel that Bernie Sanders sold out. That is why many people went to Trump who were Sanders supporters.

Mr. Kasich stands up for family values, and what is right for the American People. He hasn't sold out. Where Donald Trump tapped into the anger of many Americans. Which he knew how to divide our country. Mr. Kasich during the entire campaign sent a positive message at every speech, town hall, debate, etc. I felt a warmth when he gave his messages. It gave me warm chills up and down my spine. 



Religion is hope, connective, love their neighbor, and grace. Big government can't run without a sense of transcendence and without a sense of responsibility.  You should lead a life bigger than yourselves. We are  running over people. We must treat people with respect.And conduct our lives this way. We need hope in all of this. We can't be treating people like widgets. We must LISTEN!! 

He seems to be from the old republicans( moderate). Not the right extremists. Which gave me a good feeling. Some people that reviewed the book felt it was rhetoric. I didn't feel that way. I did feel though at the end it was getting redundant. I still loved the book. I am glad I read it. Very easy read. It gave me hope for our country. Soon though Trump will be back in the USA from Europe and it will start again. Hopefully, I can remember there are other people out there. Who care about us. Not just their own agenda.


Below is a conversation of Mr. Kasich.

the book's title comes from his speech two paths that was written during the presidential race. 

I recommend this book highly:







A Tale For the Time Being



                                                                           



A Tale For The Time Being
By Ruth Ozeki



Our book club met yesterday. We discussed, A Tale for the Time Being.  We didn't have a large meeting. It actually a informal book club. Some of us read, A Tale For The Time Being. Others who didn't want to read the book. I gave them a choice to either read, A Tale For The Time Being.  Or read anything you want and share with our group.

I enjoyed reading the book at first. Finally, I just couldn't take reading anymore. I connected at first. But toward the end it lost me. Perhaps it was the culture issue in the novel. I am not quite sure. I am still glad I read the novel. It was very different, and quirky. It was about a young Chinese girl, Nao. Who wants to commit suicide. But before she ends her life she decides to write about her 101 year old Buddhist grandmother.  The other characters in the book is Ruth. Ruth finds Nao's diary in her Hello Kitty lunch box. Ruth journeys with Nao, and her family problems,warts and all.

Everyone seems to be unhappy with their life. The book talks about her uncle. He fights in WW2 as a pilot. A Kamikaze fighter. What the culture was like in China. He was disgusted and he ends his life during the war. So everyone thinks he is a hero. Than there is Nao who is bullied in school and keeps being bullied. She doesn't tell anyone. We find out the real truth what happens to Nao.

The Time Being is the main theme of the novel. Time being is the connection between Nao, and Ruth. Ruth finds the diary, and Nao is the girl who wrote the diary. The time connection between the two is the theme of the novel.

Other people liked the book. For me I didn't connect with the book. I am looking forward to a happy read. A book club everyone has different tastes. You don't necessarily have to like the book. It is still discussable.

Next month we are discussing Jodi Picoult's novel, Small Great Things. It is coming out in paperback next month. Her books are usually good. With great discussion. It is perfect what is going on in our country right now.
 
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