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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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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Todd Burpo’s Heaven is for Real . . .


Heaven is for Real by Todd Burpo | LibraryThing

Burpo, T., & Vincent, L. (2010). Heaven is for real: A little boy’s astounding story of his trip to heaven and back. Nashville, Tenn: Thomas Nelson. 9780849946158

Here’s yet another book that patrons continuously request. My mom placed a hold on one of

HCPL’s

 copies and it finally arrived. She read it in an afternoon. It took me a few more days but I would’ve done the same if I hadn’t needed to work and sleep. 🙂 As it’s nonfiction, the book is also another entry for the

2011 Non-Fiction Challenge

 . Pastor Todd Burpo collaborated with writer to Lynn Vincent

(Going Rogue)

to write the account. The Burpos live in a small town in the Western Nebraska. In 2002 – 2003, numerous medical maladies befell Todd and then Colton. At this time, the nearly four-year old Colton grew ill. Nobody realized it was due to his ruptured appendix.

Colton miraculously survived the emergency surgery. Months later, Colton started talking about how he had been to Heaven. While there, Colton saw Jesus, John the Baptist, various members of the Burpo family, and many others. Three-year old Colton told his family things that he couldn’t possibly have known – the Christian faith, a great-grandfather who died long before Colton’s birth, and all the beautiful colors described in the Book of Revelation.  

This was a quick and excellent book. The straightforward, unsanguine style used in this nonfiction made for an easy read. Colton described his experience and used such impressive detail that it blew away his parents. He discussed the Trinity and how much Jesus loves children. References to the Bible occur throughout the book. Some may come away from the book with a belief in the Age of Accountability.  

I’m proud to say I only cried once while reading the book and that was toward the end. If you want to read a spoiler, highlight the following: Little Colton encountered various animals while in Heaven. Since I lost my seventeen year old cat Cassidy in January 2011, I look forward to seeing him again.

Also, I think the book offers hope to those who have lost loved ones. Undoubtedly, the people involved were Christian. This was not in the least Universalism. Also, the book was – well, real, rather than maudlin.

Four Out of Five Pearls

Places: Nebraska, Colorado, Kansas, Heaven

 
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– Written by Jorie @ Jorie’s Reads