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September 12, 2013

Book List: "Around the World in 80 Days"

Jules Verne is a writer I’ve been hearing about for quite some time. I am enchanted with science-fiction and fantasy, and Verne does this in a fun, familiar sort of way. The characters are lovable, the story is full of adventure, and the book moves fast and steady.

The story starts with a quiet hermit-like man, Phileas Fogg living in his home in Saville Row. His mysterious fortune supplies him with his daily needs, which are very few, and his lifestyle is simple. During a discussion with a few of his card-playing buddies about the newest ideas of transportation, he places a bet on his ability to traverse the globe in 80 days. This takes all of London by surprise, as he seemed like a more mundane person, but he takes off with his new servant, Passepartout, that very evening, heading East.

August 2, 2013

The Call : Amos 9:11

The melodies caress the room-- filling the air with tone and voice. With one voice, the worshippers cry out for healing, praising the Highest of Highs. From movement to movement, the piece floats, each note breaking a brick off the wall surrounding every individual. The ceilings echo with joy and song, the floor pounds with each cheerful leap of a dancer. Artwork and artists line the walls, easels, colors, and sketchbooks are scattered throughout the room. Writers, their piles of dictionaries, notebooks, rough drafts, and utensils covering their spaces, compile poem after story after song for the Lord of Lords. Actors play parts of wounded, rescued, saved, and broken, worshipping through their own imaginative world.

June 4, 2013

Book List: "Up From Slavery"

This story is an autobiography by a slave, during the transition from slavery to freedom. Booker T. Washington, a young boy who was born to a plantation cook, moves away with his family during the emancipation, to work in a coal mine. His dreams of education push him to go to Hampton Institute, finding his way by working for food and board. He gets his education, and begins to teach others after returning to his hometown. He also starts to study speech, and gives speeches to his students in the community. He meets inspirational people, and learns about respect and discipline during the first half of his life, which have a major effect on his later half.

Washington, with his wife by his side, started the Tuskegee Institute. This school was designed to give the flailing negro population with the skills to enter the white man's world. Right at the time of the Industrial Revolution, this school served thousands of students. It taught former slaves proper manners, dress, and etiquette-- this sort of education was particularly needed for those who had grown up as slaves. The book shows the progression of not just Washington's progression from slavery, but it also details society's climb out of prejudice and into acceptance.

May 22, 2013

Book List: "The Time Machine"

The Time Machine, by H.G. Wells, is a remarkable science-fiction book for it's age. It is a perfect "Introduction to Time Travel" for anyone who has never been inside sci-fi. It starts at the "Time Traveler's" House, where several people including doctors and psychologists are gathered for a presentation. It is narrated by one of these such visitors. The entire story occurs here in the Time Traveler's living room and lab, where he shows off his time machine to his friends at a dinner party. The next week, a similar group of people gather at the house again, and the Time Traveler is late for his own dinner party. He walks in, completely exhausted from his adventures of the last hour. He sits down, and tells a long story of traveling into the far-off future, where he lost his time machine and spent eight days searching for it.