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Thursday, December 15, 2016

Midnight's Children

Here's my review of Midnight’s Children, next will be Robots and Empire, Up from Slavery, and Lonesome Dove.

Midnight's Children, published in 1981, looks at India's transition from British colonialism to independence through the lens of historical fiction.  It also has heavy elements of magical realism.  The book focuses on the events leading up to and comprising the life of Saleem Sinai, who was born at the very moment that India became an independent state.  Saleem finds himself a member of a group of children possessing powers.  These were the children born in the first hour of India's independence; the closer to the stroke of midnight, the greater the gift.  The book has received a fair amount of acclaim.  Personally, I could take it or leave it.  I say that understanding that my ignorance of Indian culture and history probably made it so that a good amount of of the book's content went right over my head.


Friday, December 2, 2016

The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin

Here's my review of The Autobiography of Benjamin Franklin, next will be Midnight’s Children, Robots and Empire, and Up from Slavery.

This was an interesting but fairly short read.  Unfortunately, the work was far from complete.  The first part is a letter about his childhood that he wrote to his son when he found a free week at the age of 65.  The later parts were were written in his mid-70s and later.    His work was slower and less detailed as he got older.  He ultimately only recounted his life up to 1757, missing the last 30 years of his life and the American Revolution.  It certainly would have been fascinating to read his perspective of those years, but the Autobiography remains a worthwhile read.  It is, in fact, often considered to be one of the best and most influential autobiographies every written.