John Howard Griffin’s Black Like Me


Black Like Me by John Howard Griffin | LibraryThing

(Last book review of books finished in 2012!)

Griffin, J. H., & Childs, R. (2004). Black like me. Middletown, Me.: Audio Bookshelf, LLC.

Reasons for Reading:Yet again, I sought another nonfiction eAudio work to entertain me during my work commute. I came across Black Like Me, checked it out from the HCPL Digital Media Catalog, and put it on my iPhone.

Summary: Texas Writer John Howard Griffin underwent a bold experiment like no other. He left his home in Mansfield, Texas with the intent to “pass as black.” With the help of a reticent New Orleans dermatologist, Griffin took a course of drugs, endured sunlamp treatments, and applied skin creams in order to understand the “black experience” firsthand. He also shaved his head and, later, his arms.

Then, he traveled through the Deep South as a black man. His social experiment altered the lives of many. Black Like Me is a journal of Griffin’s courageous experiment. The title comes from Langston Hughes’ “Dream Variations”

Rest at pale evening…

A tall slim tree…

Night coming tenderly

Black like me.

What I Liked: I appreciated what Griffin did. Also, I found Griffin to be a gifted writer who wanted to understand and help his fellow citizens. I liked that Griffin didn’t lie, either. He seemed to be an interesting and virtuous man.

What I Disliked:  Many versions of this book exist. I’m grateful I got an edition with an epilogue which Griffin wrote in the 1970s. As hindsight is 20/20, Griffin related the outcome of Black Like Me. It’s my feeling that this should be the version everyone reads.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: Texas, New Orleans, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina

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H. Joaquin Jackson & David Marion Wilkinson’s One Ranger: A Memoir


One Ranger: A Memoir (Bridwell Texas History Series) by H. Joaquin Jackson | LibraryThing

Jackson, H. J., Wilkinson, D. M., & Linn, R. (2005). One ranger: A memoir. Ashland, OR: Blackstone Audiobooks. 9780786179978

Reasons for Reading: Once again, I browsed for eAudio. As I usually prefer hearing nonfiction, I perused biographies when I spotted One Ranger: A Memoir. I scanned the description and decided to listen to the memoir during my work commute. I uploaded the eAudio to my iPhone from HCPL’s Digital Media Catalog.

Summary: Like many other boys who grew up in Twentieth Century Texas, Joaquin Jackson dreamed of becoming part of the legendary Texas Rangers. The 6 foot 5 inch Jackson’s dream came true in 1966. Jackson embarked on a career which led him to many adventures, friendships, and fame. His picture graced the cover of Texas Monthly (see the book cover :)), he gained bit parts in movies with the likes of Tommy Lee Jones, and Nick Nolte even modeled his character in the movie Extreme Prejudice after him. Of course, Jackson experienced many points of heartache as well.

What I Liked: I enjoyed Jackson’s sense of humor throughout his memoir. Also, I thought Rex Linn was the perfect choice to narrate this work. I nearly thought Linn was Jackson himself. Soon after I began listening to One Ranger, I got a mention from UT Press on Twitter and that was awesome!

What I Disliked:  I believe this error was due to the download but one chapter didn’t properly work. I had to check out the print version and read what happened. Also, a sequel – One Ranger Returns – exists but it’s not in eAudio format. I hope this changes soon.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: Texas

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Ron Hall & Denver Moore’s What Difference Do It Make?…


What Difference Do It Make?: Stories of Hope and Healing by Ron Hall | LibraryThing

Hall, R., Moore, D., & Vincent, L. (2009). What difference do it make?: Stories of hope and healing. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson. 9780849920196

Reasons for Reading: After reading Same Kind of Different as Me for our Bible Study group, my mom found this sequel of sorts.  She checked out What difference do it make?: Stories of hope and healing from HCPL and recommended I read it, too.

Summary: (Warning: Must Read Same Kind of Different As Me… before starting this book.) What Difference Do It Make… is a collection of stories and events which were spurred on by Same Kind of Different as Me.

What I Liked: It was great finding out that a single book led to so many awesome acts. Also, I appreciated the authenticity of it. These people had problems and they didn’t shy away from admitting them.

What I Disliked:  Why couldn’t Same Kind of Different as Me have been this awesome?

Four Out of Five Pearls

 
Setting: Dallas, Ft. Worth, Louisiana, Italy, United States 
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Akiane and Foreli Kramarik’s Akiane: Her life, her art, her poetry.


Akiane: Her Life, Her Art, Her Poetry by Akiane Kramarik | LibraryThing

Kramarik, A., & Kramarik, F. (2006). Akiane: Her life, her art, her poetry. Nashville, Tenn: W Publishing Group. 9780849900440

Reasons for Reading: I believe I first learned of Akiane Kramarik when she was a guest on Oprah. However, I’m not certain. She made a lasting impression on me when I read Heaven is for Real.  So, when I found HCPL owned Akiane and Foreli Kramarik’s Akiane: Her life, her art, her poetry, I requested a copy.

Summary: Young prodigy Akiane Kramarik’s outstanding body of artwork comes to light in this book. Born to an atheist mother and lapsed Catholic father, Akiane remarkably sought God. Her faith and developing relationship with God brought her family to belief and acceptance. The book tells Akiane’s story, shows her glorious artwork, and shares her poetry.

What I Liked: This book presented Akiane’s artwork beautifully. The paintings nearly leapt off the pages at me. Also, Akiane captures the attention just through this book setting on the coffee table.  

What I Disliked:  As this book came out in 2006, I’m curious to find more recent info on Akiane.

Four Out of Five Pearls

 
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Ron Hall & Denver Moore’s Same Kind of Different as Me


Same Kind of Different As Me: A Modern-Day Slave, an International Art Dealer, and the Unlikely Woman Who Bound Them Together by Ron Hall | LibraryThing

Hall, R., Moore, D., & Vincent, L. (2006). Same kind of different as me. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.  9780849919107

Reasons for Reading: My Bible study wanted us to read a book over the summer when weren’t meeting as often. One lady suggested Same Kind of Different as Me for this purpose. Down the road, I learned that since I’m the only librarian in the group that I would have the pleasure of reviewing the book for the group. Thus, I checked out Same Kind of Different as Me from HCPL.

Summary: Born on a Louisiana plantation, Denver Moore grew up a virtual slave in the 1960s. Denver rides the rails and wanders aimlessly and lives on the streets of Ft. Worth, Texas. Then, there’s Ron Hall, an international arts dealer who’s accustomed to cavorting with millionaires. These two men are night and day; worlds apart. Yet, God uses Ron’s prayerful wife, Deborah to bring together these two very diverse individuals. It’s at her insistence that the Halls volunteer at a soup kitchen and it’s Deborah who tells Ron of a dream of a wise man saving the city. Their friendship grows despite many hardships as they come together to serve God. Despite their differences, both Denver and Ron are the same in that God loves them.

What I Liked: I liked that each man told his story in his own words. This seemed the most natural way to relate their stories. I appreciated getting perspectives from both Denver and Ron on the same situations.

What I Disliked:  As this book goes in tandem between Denver and Ron, I wished the chapters had been prefaced with the narrator’s name. Also, not all editions have the picture section in the middle.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Setting: Louisiana, Ft. Worth  

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