Blue Shoes and Happiness
by Alexander McCall Smith. A new Precious Ramotswe book spells happiness for me and this audiobook did not disappoint. Mma Ramotswe and all of the usual characters were faced with several dilemmas and mysteries... a cobra under the desk, a blackmailed cook, a rumor of witchcraft, and an unethical doctor... all handily resolved by Disc 6. Some personal issues occupy Precious and her able assistant, Grace Makutsi. Precious finds herself questioning if she is perhaps a little too "traditionally built" and Mma Makutsi fears that she has driven away her hardwon fiance with talk of feminism. This is the seventh book in the No. 1 Ladies Detective Agency series set in Botswana. At first, it was a little disconcerting to hear the pronunciations of Mma and many of the African surnames, because I skip over those in my head when I reading from print. Do you? Maybe with Russian novels? A delightful summer listen, very soothing and gently amusing. At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965-1968
by Taylor Branch. This history is absorbing, riveting, and very moving... volume 3 in a trilogy on King's life and preceded by Parting the Waters
and Pillar of Fire
. The price that was paid for social justice, the right to register to vote, to attend public schools, to be paid a fair wage, to ride public transportation or sit at integrated lunch counters.... it just makes me weep. Although the book is not in any way sentimentalized and objectively relates the events of these years, it is hard not to be shaken by the hatred and violence endured by those who sought change. The killings, beatings, and imprisonments make me never want to go south again. The role of FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover is just evil... on numerous occasions, he ordered that King not be warned of threats against his life and leaked information to discredit him. Lyndon Johnson is revealed as a conundrum, whose momentous speech on voting rights
and support for King was soon overshadowed by Vietnam entanglements. The inner workings of the various movements and organizations such as SNCC and SCLC are also described... fascinating. All of these threads provide context for a stunning work on a true man of courage, Martin Luther King Jr. One reviewer described it as magisterial... good word.
And if you do not vote or are not registered to vote, seriously, shame, shame on you.