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War Dances, A Book Review

I guess I finished reading War Dances by Sherman Alexie back in October and never got around to reviewing it. Book reviews are sort of a new thing for me, but I’ve found it’s a nice way to provide space to reflect on what I’ve read and possibly offer something helpful for anyone considering reading the book too.

war_dancesAnyway, it’s a collection of short stories and poems which makes it great, if you read like me, in short spurts, catching time where you can with very few long stretches to gain serious traction. It also probably makes it a quick read for those of you who fly through books. That being said, there’s nothing light about the content of the book. Though Alexie usually wraps his characters and plot lines in some amount of humor, many of the stories deal with very non-funny, intense subject matter. One story is about a man who accidentally kills a young, black teenager who breaks into his house. The character grapples with his choices and actions, as well as what it means to be “innocent.” Of course, issues of race, violence, and justice come up as well.

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music

The Civil Rights Movement Through Music

sing_for_freedomThere are times when I think there’s nothing more powerful than music to convey the broad spectrum of human emotion and experience. When that music has words, whatever meaning is left out by the words is picked up by the melody, harmony, and rhythm. And the history and cultural depth and experience that’s brought with the music, either in the music itself or through it’s performers and their interpretation, tells so much more than just words or pictures alone.

Here’s a playlist from Smithsonian Folkways via Rdio with some powerful music from the Civil Rights Movement.

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