Suggestion Saturday: November 2, 2013

Here is this week’s list of blog posts, comics, and other tidbits from my favourite corners of the web.

Estrangement and Such. I like this author’s attitude when it comes to making tough decisions.

Unshelved via vlb. I read so many books out of my age range and reading level when I was a kid. Honestly I think it’s good for kids to stretch themselves and try something a tad too complex for their current stage in life.  It’s like exercising or learning a new language. Sometimes you have to push yourself a little bit in order to reach the next level.

Inside America’s Great Romance with Norman Rockwell. To be honest, I find Normal Rockwell’s style and choice of subject matter  far too cloying and schmaltzy. Every time I see one of his paintings I assume there is a ravenous pack of vampires, werewolves, or zombies just out of the frame that will leap into the picturesque village and begin wreaking havoc on it at any moment. 😛 With that being said, this is an excellent article about Mr. Rockwell’s life. I may not be a fan of his work, but I think I would have really liked meeting the man who created it.

Those People.  When I donate to food banks I always include a treat or two. Instant hot chocolate mix is one of my favourite things to buy because it was such a huge treat growing up in a family that had a very tight grocery budget and occasionally relied on the generosity of others. Of course healthy food is vital, but I think it’s just as important to make someone’s eyes light up when they’re in a position to receive so-called “charity.” Life is difficult enough when you live in poverty. If I needed to visit a food bank I’d be absolutely thrilled to pick out a treat alongside healthier fare. Sometimes a sip or nibble of something sugary is better medicine than an entire pot of beans, rice, or oatmeal.

Footprints in ’57: Coop, Wendy, Carol and Bea. What life might have been like in 1957. It’s funny to think that my grandmother was a teenager once. She’s always seemed like a fountain of wisdom to me. Someday I’ll have to ask it what it was like to grow up in that era.

Helping People Through Trauma When You Don’t Know What to Say. A fantastic article about how to be a good friend. This link is work-safe, but other posts on the site may not be.

From The Celebrity in Africa:

Celebrity, you care very much about Africa. Is this correct? 

Oh, yes, I Africa all of the time. Like my father before me, I care deeply about having my picture taken while walking purposefully next to someone African in Africa. It means a great deal to me, particularly if we are both wearing sunglasses and gesturing significantly toward the horizon, which is where the future of Africa is. Would you like sunglasses? Have some of mine.

The Other Wes Moore is the true story of two men with the same name who grew up in the same neighbourhood under similarly difficult circumstances. One is now a Rhodes Scholar, author, and decorated veteran. The other is serving a life sentence for murder.

This is a story about understanding why someone might make horribly destructive choices without absolving them from the consequences of their decisions. It’s also a story about luck, compassion, and seeing how easily you or I might have ended up in very different circumstances had a few things in our lives played out differently.

I have to admit that I grew quite angry with the Wes Moore who is incarcerated at various points in this book. But I was also angry with our society for being structured in such a way that so many men (and women) end up in similar situations. Everyone is responsible for his or her own choices, of course, but as a society we are also responsible for all of the damage done by racism, classism, poverty, and hopelessness. Imagine what all of the Wes Moores of the world could accomplish if they had easier access to education, counselling, and good role models.

What have you been reading?

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