Friday, September 01, 2006

Some Book News

Paul Rusesabagina used his influence and connections as temporary manager of the Mille Collines hotel to shelter over 1,260 Tutsis and moderate Hutus from being slaughtered by the Interahamwe militia during the Rwandan Genocide. In April 2006 his book, An Ordinary Man was published to great acclaim. If you want to know more about Paul R. and his heroism during a horrible time in his country you can rent the movie Hotel Rewanda starring Don Cheadle who does a magnificent job portraying the assistant manager.

Did you know that Google has a special search engine called Google Book Search? It works just like Google but you can "search the full-text of books and discover new ones." You can download the full-text of classics in the public domain. Give it a try.

Someone recently mentioned Robert A. Heinlein's Stranger in a Strange Land published in 1961. Heinlein is a science fiction writer but he writes a story that isn't too technical something like Ray Bradbury but better and more literary.

Here's a description of Heinlein's book from Amazon: Stranger in a Strange Land, winner of the 1962 Hugo Award, is the story of Valentine Michael Smith, born during, and the only survivor of, the first manned mission to Mars. Michael is raised by Martians, and he arrives on Earth as a true innocent: he has never seen a woman and has no knowledge of Earth's cultures or religions. But he brings turmoil with him, as he is the legal heir to an enormous financial empire, not to mention de facto owner of the planet Mars. With the irascible popular author Jubal Harshaw to protect him, Michael explores human morality and the meanings of love. He founds his own church, preaching free love and disseminating the psychic talents taught him by the Martians. Ultimately, he confronts the fate reserved for all messiahs.

The impact of Stranger in a Strange Land was considerable, leading many children of the 60's to set up households based on Michael's water-brother nests. Heinlein loved to pontificate through the mouths of his characters, so modern readers must be willing to overlook the occasional sour note ("Nine times out of ten, if a girl gets raped, it's partly her fault."). That aside, Stranger in a Strange Land is one of the master's best entertainments, provocative as he always loved to be. the teach

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