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Book Summaries

Book Summaries

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Book Summaries

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  1. Book Summaries

  2. The Unwanted: A Memoir of Childhood This is the story of life as a "half-breed" (the result of the pairing of his Vietnamese mother and an American G.I.) who falls under the rule of the Vietcong in the mid-1970s is revealed in one compelling scene after the next. From the early chapters, where Kien describes his icy mother's perfect red fingernails digging into his arms as she faces their plight, Kien is adrift in a sea of misunderstanding. He watches from the roof of the U.S. Embassy as his hopes for escape are dashed: "The chopper twirled in midair, like a sick sparrow...before it plunged down to the quarterdeck below and exploded into flame." Happily, Kien's story doesn't end in shame, but in victory -- ten years later. For he has written this heartbreaking memoir from his new home in America. It is impossible to read Kien's story and not be moved by the plight of these children -- victims of poor judgment in a crazy day and age, and of horrific acts of ostracism. Watch the following link to see a video focusing on children who went through this ordeal

  3. Midnight’s Children: Salman Rushdie Saleem Sinai, the narrator of Midnight’s Children, opens the novel by explaining that he was born on midnight, August 15, 1947, at the exact moment India gained its independence from British rule. Now nearing his thirty-first birthday, Saleem believes that his body is beginning to crack and fall apart. Fearing that his death is imminent, he grows anxious to tell his life story. Padma, his loyal and loving companion, serves as his patient, often skeptical audience. Saleem explains the importance and impacts of all those that have come into and left his life and how each instance whether good or bad can be reflected in the historic events of India’s early democracy.

  4. Memoirs of A Geisha A literary sensation and runaway bestseller, this brilliant debut novel tells with seamless authenticity and exquisite lyricism the true confessions of one of Japan's most celebrated geisha. Speaking to us with the wisdom of age and in a voice at once haunting and startlingly immediate, Nitta Sayuri tells the story of her life as a geisha. It begins in a poor fishing village in 1929, when, as a nine-year- old girl with unusual blue-gray eyes, she is taken from her home and sold into slavery to a renowned geisha house. We witness her transformation as she learns the rigorous arts of the geisha: dance and music; wearing kimono, elaborate makeup, and hair; pouring sake to reveal just a touch of inner wrist; competing with a jealous rival for men's solicitude and the money that goes with it. In Memoirs of a Geisha, we enter a world where appearances are paramount; where a girl's virginity is auctioned to the highest bidder; where women are trained to beguile the most powerful men; and where love is scorned as illusion. It is a unique and triumphant work of fiction—at once romantic, erotic, suspenseful—and completely unforgettable. Movie Trailor -

  5. Confessions of an Economic Hit Man Infrastructure Empire Building Jackals $$$ "Economic hit men (EHMs) are highly paid professionals who cheat countries around the globe out of trillions of dollars” Bribes “Their tools included fraudulent financial reports, rigged elections, payoffs, extortion, sex, and murder.” Imperialism

  6. Half of a Yellow Sun With effortless grace, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie illuminates a seminal moment in African history: Biafra’s struggle to establish an independent republic in southeastern Nigeria during the late 1960s. We experience this tumultuous decade alongside five unforgettable characters: Ugwu, a thirteen-year-old houseboy who works for Odenigbo, a university professor full of revolutionary zeal; Olanna, the professor’s beautiful young mistress; and Richard, a shy young Englishman infatuated with Olanna’s willful twin sister Kainene. Half a Yellow Sun is a tremendously evocative novel of promise, hope and the disappointment of war.

  7. A Thousand Splendid Suns A Thousand Splendid Suns is at once an incredible chronicle of thirty years of Afghan history and a deeply moving story of family, friendship, faith, and the salvation to be found in love. Born a generation apart and with very different ideas about love and family, Mariam and Laila are two women brought jarringly together by war, by loss and by fate. As they endure the ever escalating dangers around them—in their home as well as in the streets of Kabul—they come to form a bond that makes them both sisters and mother-daughter to each other, and that will ultimately alter the course not just of their own lives but of the next generation. With heart-wrenching power and suspense, Hosseini shows how a woman’s love for her family can move her to shocking and heroic acts of self-sacrifice, and that in the end it is love, or even the memory of love, that is often the key to survival. A stunning accomplishment, A Thousand Splendid Suns is a haunting, heartbreaking, compelling story of an unforgiving time, an unlikely friendship, and an indestructible love.

  8. WORLD WAR Z World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks follows the progression of a fictitious war between zombified humans and the living. The narrator, a fact finder for the Postwar Commission, has compiled numerous interviews over the course of several years and has chosen to place them into a book for future generations to analyze the war. The stories, from all countries and all populations, show the true strength of humankind, and the powerful forces that guide all civilizations. Although based on a fictitious conflict, World War Z is a novel about the true causes of war, and the extreme measures some will use to overcome adversity, as well as the overwhelming power of the human instinct to survive.

  9. The House on Mango Street Acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught everywhere from inner-city grade schools to universities across the country, and translated all over the world, The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero. Told in a series of vignettes – sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous – it is the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers. Esperanza Cordero is one of the most likable characters you'll ever meet. She's smart, she's funny, she's lonely, and charmingly awkward – she's just like you. OK, so maybe you didn't grow up in an urban barrio in Chicago. But who hasn't ever felt ashamed about some part of their identity, whether it's the amount of money their family has, the house they live in, or just being different from the other kids at school? Ever felt embarrassed about wearing the wrong shoes to a party? Meet Esperanza – we think you've got a lot in common.

  10. The Kite Runner This powerful first novel...tells a story of fierce cruelty and fierce yet redeeming love. Both transform the life of Amir, Khaled Hosseini’s privileged young narrator, who comes of age during the last peaceful days of the monarchy, just before his country’s revolution and its invasion by Russian forces. but political events, even as dramatic as the ones that are presented in The Kite Runner, are only a party of this story. In The Kite Runner, Khaled Hosseini gives us a vivid and engaging story that reminds us how long his people have been struggling to triumph over the forces of violence - forces that continue to threaten them even today. The Kite Runner easily divides into three main sections: Amir's childhood in Kabul; Amir and Baba's years in Fremont, California; and, finally, Amir's return to Kabul. The plot covers multiple betrayals and offers the possibility of redemption – though by no means is redemption assured. Parts of The Kite Runner are raw and excruciating to read, yet the book in its entirety is loving written ….no nonsense, just hard, spare prose...and intimate account of family and friendship, betrayal and salvation that requires no atlas or translation to engage and enlighten us.

  11. Crossing the Wire When falling crop prices threaten his family with starvation, fifteen-year-old Victor Flores heads north in an attempt to “cross the wire” from Mexico into the United States so he can find work and send money home. But with no coyote money to pay the smugglers who sneak illegal workers across the border, Victor must struggle to survive as he jumps trains and hikes grueling miles through the Arizona desert. Victor’s journey like thousands of others is filled with danger, freezing cold, scorching heat, hunger and dead ends. Through Victor’s often desperate struggle, Will Hobbs brings to life one a human drama about sacrifice, love of family, and the complicated relationship between two countries.

  12. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind William Kamkwamba was born in Malawi, a country where magic ruled and modern science was mystery. It was also a land withered by drought and hunger, and a place where hope and opportunity were hard to find. But William had read about windmills in a book called Using Energy, and he dreamed of building one that would bring electricity and water to his village and change his life and the lives of those around him. His neighbors may have mocked him and called him misala --crazy--but William was determined to show them what a little grit and ingenuity could do. He refused to let go of his dreams. With nothing more than a fistful of cornmeal in his stomach, a small pile of once-forgotten science textbooks, and an armory of curiosity and determination, he embarked on a daring plan to bring his family a set of luxuries that only two percent of Malawians could afford and what the West considers a necessity--electricity and running water. Using scrap metal, tractor parts, and bicycle halves, William forged a crude yet operable windmill, an unlikely contraption and small miracle that eventually powered four lights, complete with homemade switches and a circuit breaker made from nails and wire. A second machine turned a water pump that could battle the drought and famine that loomed with every season. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is aremarkable true story about human inventiveness and its power to overcomes crippling adversity. It will inspire anyone who doubts the power of one individual’s ability to change his community’s abiltiy to change his community an better the lives of those around him.