Saturday, August 7, 2010

My First Blog

Here I am, totally new to this whole blogging thing, not knowing exactly what I'm going to blog about... but, feeling oh so left out. I love music, reading, art, my family and friends, and I am very passionate about politics, so any of these might be a good start.

How about reading? My wonderful cousin (the Optimistic Pessimist) took me to the American Library Association (ALA) Conference held in DC this past July. I had a fabulous time, and I received a stash of books -- most of which were advance, uncorrected galleys (which is kind of exciting to think I get to read books not many people have access to). I already have a ton of books that I have bought over the past couple of years but haven't read yet... so, adding these to my list has pushed me over the edge and I started reading again.

The first book I picked up was Ruta Sepety's between shades of gray, which will be published in March 2011 by Philomel Books (a division of Penquin Young Readers Group). I thoroughly enjoyed this book, and, although the subject matter was dark, Ms. Sepety's story is really one of strength, perseverance, and hope. The novel begins in 1941, and is told through the eyes of 15 year old Lina, who, along with her mother and younger brother are forced from their home in Lithuania, and sent to work camps in Siberia. Their struggles during the forced march and while in the work camps are heartbreaking.

Man's inhumanity to man never ceases to amaze me, and although Stalin's deportations from Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia occurred in the 1940s, I can't help thinking of all of the beautiful human beings around the world today who suffer because of hatred based on religion, race, and class.

I would definitely recommend this book, especially to open the dialog with American youth on why it is so important to cherish our diversity.