Books & Books

Here was the true great spirit, the divine thread connecting all human endeavor. If you can keep it, it is yours, your property.  Slave or Continent. The American imperative.

The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead

This book is not easy to read, but the message is needed more today than ever. We are led by a man who degrades, insults, and mocks people who aren’t like him. This book reminded me of just how easy it is to do the wrong thing, particularly when we see others doing it. We should find a new spool and sew ourselves together with a new thread, one that binds us tightly in common good, respect, and prosperity.

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“My goodness, I thought, poor fellow! You did not give this place a proper chance, but fled it recklessly, leaving behind forever the beautiful things of this world. And for what? You do not know. A most unintelligent wager.”

George Saunders, Lincoln in the Bardo

Lincoln in the BardoWas the moon full? Or was the night pitch black on the night that Lincoln’s son crossed over the divide that night, leaving his parents for the Bardo. The guests at the party remember the night differently. Their perception is their reality.

The same seems true for the souls residing in the Bardo. Some know they are half-dead. Others feel sure that they remain half-living. This is a halfway land between our world and the next. They are trapped until a flash of inevitability reveals that they must take the path to where it fully ends, to where they end. “We say these things to speed you along.” Continue reading Just what is a Bardo?

“How can anyone have so much happiness and unhappiness wrapped up at once?”

 

The American Dream exploredI thought we were supposed to pursue happiness here in America. The American Dream should make us happy, shouldn’t it? Isn’t that what the Founders wanted for us? 1776 was a long time ago. I get that. Things change. They morph, and so has the dream. Who needs happiness when we can have power and money? Could Daisy have loved Jay Gatsby before he became rich? Or were riches a prerequisite to pursuing his dream of Daisy? He saw the green light and crossed that bay, never noticing that he was drowning.

Imbolo Mbue’s Behold the Dreamers beautifully confirms that each of us must find our own path to happiness. She makes a compelling case. Following today’s American Dream can lead us down a very narrow path.

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