Not yet finished, but worth reading …

I'm loving this masterfully written novel by Orhan Pamuk.

I'm loving this masterfully written novel by Orhan Pamuk.

So … I’m doing the vacation reading, getting in some pages in between throwing the lacrosse ball and Frisbee around with Aidan, eating lobster, playing rummy every night, walking with Dunreith and consuming obscene amounts of candy from Tuck’s.

As a result, I’m part way through a couple of books, both of which deserve mention here and further elaboration later.

Orhan Pamuk’s Snow is a beautifully written and intricately woven tale of Ka, a poet who has returned to his native Turkey after 12 years in Frankfurt.  His purpose is to convince Ipek, a beautiful divorcee, to marry him and return with him to Germany.  A heavy snowfall accompanies him as he enters Kars, a small and remote town in Turkey.  Once there, he encounters a wide array of people and issues that range from Kurdish revolutionaries, his own budding religious faith, a theatrical and seemingly real coup, religious fundamentalism and the haunting absence of the Armenian people who were massacred in 1915-an act that the Turkish government denies to this day. 

A Nobel Prize winner, Pamuk ties all these elements together in a graceful way that continually heightens the reader’s suspense and engagement in the work. 

Many thanks to Dunreith for recommending I read the book! 

I’m less far along and less impressed by a biography of “Super Chief,” Earl Warren.   Justice for All: Earl Warren and the Nation He Made is a biography by Los Angeles Times writer James Newton is an admiring account of the justice whose court was responsible for many landmarks decisions, including Brown v. Board of Education, Baker v. Carr and Miranda v. Arizona.

I have been most interested in reading about Warren’s role in the internment of tens of thousands Japanese-Americans under Executive Order 9066.   Attorney General for the State of California at the time, Warren advocated for the removal, but not internment, of Japanese and Japanese-Americans.  Newton makes great efforts to distinguish Warren’s reasons from those of the more openly racist politicians and policy makers of the time-an effort which ultimately is not tremendously successful.

To be fair, Newton also shows how Warren never completely expressed remorse for the decision until his memoirs were published posthumously, and even those words may not have been written by the former Chief Justice.

I am interested in finding out what led Warren to change his position during the 12 years from 1942, when he supported and actively participated in the internment, to 1954, when he insisted on a unanimous Supreme Court rejecting the doctrine of “Separate but equal” that underpinned so much of Jim Crow segregation.

More on both after I finish them, and I’m having fun.

I look forward to learning others’ late summer reading selections, too!


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