The Japanese Lover

images.jpgIsabel Allende is a fairly new author for me. I have been collecting her books in both paper and electronic versions for some time but just haven’t gotten around to reading them.This last month I decided to jump right in with the author’s newest novel,, The Japanese Lover. I’ll admit that the title reminded me of Marguerite Duras whom I greatly admire. As might be expected, the two authors are quite different.

Now I didn’t expect Allende to be writing the nouveau roman, maybe a liltle magic realism, but I found her novel somewhat pedestrian and I definitely felt she jammed too many themes into the book without every really fulfilling any of the promise. Is it a love story? A story about a war orphan? Concentration camps? Rich people? Poor people? Old people? the Japanese internment? the war? a botany primer? San Francisco society? homosexuals? Child pornography? Overcoming the past? Imagining a future? Dog walking?

Continue reading

The Spectre of Internment

images.jpgGeorge Takei is a major spokesperson for human rights. Having been removed to a Japanese internment camp as a child, he provides a first-hand experience of the evil concept of internment, whether for people of Japanese descent of for Muslim people. Takei’s words are required reading for all Americans at this dangerous time in the history of our country.

The complete editorial is at The Washington Post. Please go there and read it in its entirety.

George Takei: They interned my family. Don’t let them do it to Muslims.

The United States apologized for locking up Japanese Americans. Have we learned nothing?

By George Takei (published at The Washington Post)

Continue reading

Moses and the Texas Board of Education

Old GloryThe recent social upheaval over the battle flag of the Armies of Northern Virginia (erroneously called the Confederate Flag) has once again revealed the politicizing of history in Texas and the criminal bowdlerizing of textbooks intended to educate the youth of the country. If you want to isolate a failure with public education, look no further than Texas.

The Washington Post published an editorial that emphasizes the danger inherent in Texas:

How Texas is whitewashing Civil War history

This Fall, Texas schools will teach students that Moses played a bigger role in inspiring the Constitution than slavery did in starting the Civil War. The Lone Star State’s new social studies textbooks, deliberately written to play down slavery’s role in Southern history, do not threaten only Texans — they pose a danger to schoolchildren all over the country.

Continue reading

The Buddha in the Attic

First, I want to acknowledge my impetus for reading this little book by pointing to the review at A Little Blog of Books. Then I want to give a slightly different view compared with some of the specifics of that review.

Buddha

Yes, the narrative structure of The Buddha in the Attic is not typical of your every-day boring story, or is it? When I was a project manager for a large corporation I used special computer software to develop task flows for the planning and control of major projects. On more than one occasion the charts would consist of a single milestone followed by a widely expanded array of the numerous tasks that followed the milestone and then to collapse into another control point on the chart. This one to many and back to one structure is what I saw in Julie Otsuka’s interesting novel.

Continue reading