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Posts Tagged ‘Racism’

Papa was a rolling stone, my son, where ever he laid his hat was his home -The Temptations

“There’s a lot of ugly things in this world, son. I wish I could keep ’em all away from you. That’s never possible.” -Harper Lee

This week I need to do a Top Ten Thursday instead of a Top Ten Tuesday. I’ve got A LOT going on right now. My mom is very sick and my dad has his hands full with taking care of her so I’ve been trying to help both of them and finish up the school year and find a new apartment in a new town to move to and read and rest from the last awful school year and blog and I’m just now getting to the blog part and I haven’t really done any of the other parts. So for this weeks TTT I decided to list my top ten favorite fathers in literature in honor of Father’s Day being last Sunday. (*note: links to the books will now be accessed by clicking the picture of the book. All links will be from IndieBound.org- be a part of the story*)

10. Dr. Murray from A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L’Engle. Publication Date: 1962– The missing, but brilliant, dad.

It has been a really long time since I’ve read this book, and I don’t think I fully appreciated it when I did read it so this is one that I will need to revisit. Dr. Murray isn’t really in the first book very much I discovered (and failed to even remember) after some researching. This is a really cool dad though, he’s a physicist studying space-time continuums who is missing and NO ONE, not even the freakin’ GOVERNMENT knows where he is (and you know how those guys know EVERYTHING).

9. Charlie Swan from the Twilight Saga by Stephenie Meyer. Publication Date: 2005-2008. The aloof dad.

The twilight saga hardback.jpg

I’ve said it before on this blog and I’ll say it again: I am a fan of Twilight. I am not sure if I am 100% a fan of Chuck Swan, father to Bella Swan-Cullen, Grandfather to Reneesme Cullen. Charlie is so distant from his daughter when first we meet him that he is awkward and it’s hard to believe he cares and actually wants her to live with him. Charlie develops the love I had hoped he would for Bella (and honestly, it was there all along, but dads can be weird most of the time) and has some touching moments with her, like at her wedding for example. One thing about Chief Swan that I can’t overlook is how he is so meek. He lets Bella fly out of the house and to ITALY without making much of a stink? He watches her become a vampire and yet doesn’t give it much thought? He doesn’t see her for almost a year and shrugs it off? Whaaaaaa? Overall, good guy, loving dad, I like him, but I don’t love him.

8. James Henry Alden from The Boxcar Children Series by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Original Publication Date: 1924. The Grandfather Dad.

Though not actually a dad the grandfather in the boxcar children acted as a dad to the four boxcar children in Gertrude Chandler Warner’s AWESOME mystery series for children. After the death of the children’s parents, Grandfather steps in and cares for them. He’s wealthy, he’s kind, he’s patient, he’s full of advice, he’s not overly stern, he’s the worlds best grandfather! Too bad he’s fictional.

7. Matthew Cuthbert from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maude Montgomery. Publication Date: 1908. The adorable, adoptive, loving dad.

I promised you a few weeks ago when I did my Mother’s Day blog that I would touch on the awesomeness that is Matthew Cuthbert and here is where I do it. How awesome is Matthew Cuthbert? Let me count the ways:
1. He loves Anne at first sight. Sure he wanted, heck, NEEDED, a boy and ended up with Anne instead. He could have just left her at that train station, but you know that the thought never even entered sweet Matthew’s mind.
2. He had to put up with Marilla. Though she’s really a softy, she sure can come off as a mega b-i-t-c-h.
3. He is SO SHY! It might kill him to have to talk to anyone so he keeps to himself A LOT.
4. He’s Canadian.
5. He bought Anne that dress!
6-infinity. There are so many reasons to love this character, and I do!
(And yes, that is a picture of Richard Farnsworth who played Matthew PERFECTLY in the 1985 movie and not a cover of the book. Farnsworth did such a great job, I had to feature him. I’ll also do the same later in this post for Gregory Peck. See if you can guess which father from literature he played!)

6. Sirius Black/James Potter/Arthur Weasley/Albus Dumbledore/Severus Snape/Remus Lupin/Hagrid from The Harry Potter Series by J.K. Rowling. Publication Date: 1997-2007. The Harry Potter Dad(s).
The Coat of Arms of Hogwarts, featuring scarlet and gold Gryffindor colours with the mascot Lion, yellow and black of Hufflepuff with the symbolic badger, bronze and blue Ravenclaw colours with an eagle, and Slytherin green and silver with a serpent mascot.

 When the story opens on Harry in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s (or Philosopher’s) Stone we learn quickly that poor Harry is an orphan. Having lost both his parents to Lord Voldemort, Harry now is forced to live under the stairs with his awful aunt, uncle and cousin. During the series progression, however, Harry is able to have many characters step in as surrogate father figures to him. Each character offers something to Harry that the other’s can not. Sirius Black is Harry’s actual Godfather and James was his actual father. But all of the characters mentioned above were Harry’s fathers in some fashion.

5. Steve Miller from The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks. Publication Date: 2009. The Dying Dad.

The Last Song was probably the last Nicholas Sparks book I read all the way through. I used to enjoy Sparks’ books, mainly because they are all based in coastal North Carolina which is where I am from and where I grew up. I loved that he used real places that I could actually recognize; it made me feel like I was actually a part of the story and the characters lives since I too had been to those locals! However, after this book I realized that all of his books are exactly the same. Exactly. The. Same. Start off with a dysfunction in a family, throw in a disease or an accident, add a death, and there is _____ by Nicholas Sparks. I wanted to include Steve Miller on my list though because he really is a good dad. He has to contend with a spoiled, selfish daughter and try to connect to a son and try to help a neighboring church all while dying. He does all of these things with grace. Sparks’ characters are generally ones that are good role models for the other characters as well as for the readers and Steve Miller (not the musician, I should have mentioned earlier) is no exception.

4. Robert “Bob” Quimby from Ramona and Her Father by Beverly Cleary. Publication Date: 1977. The fun dad.

 Ramona actually makes appearances in several of Cleary’s books, but I chose this one since this is the one where Ramona gets to connect with her dad after he looses his job. I can’t rave enough about all of the Ramona books in this series and this one is no exception. This book is awesome because it’s difficult to find one where a young daughter can connect with a father the way these characters do. The plotline from this novel makes an appearance in the movie Beezus and Ramona which came out in 2010.

3. Vladek Spiegleman from Maus by Art Spiegleman. Publication Date: 1980-1991. The survivor dad.

What makes mouse Vladek Spiegleman seem so real in Art Spiegleman’s graphic novels is the fact that, well, he is. Through the use of animation and storytelling Art is able to tell his father’s story of his father’s history as Holocaust survivor. The illustrations in Spiegleman’s novels tells more of a story than the actual written words. I’m not a very big fan of comics, but this one flows so smoothly and the story is so gripping that you find yourself reading it as if it were an actual novel.

2. The dad from Go The F*** To Sleep by Adam Mansbach. Publication Date: 2011. The frustrated dad.

I don’t think that this dad ever really reveals his name, but with the honesty given in this book about the sheer impossibility of getting a young child to sleep, we have to assume that the dad’s name is Adam and that he is writing from personal experience. The book is hilariously funny and honest and loving and I dare you to read it without laughing out loud, especially if you have ever been in that boat of trying to get a child to sleep who just wants one more glass of water and one more story. For an even bigger laugh, get an audio copy of the book read by Samuel L. Jackson.

1. Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird by Harper Lee. Publication Date: 1960. The moral dad.

Not only is Atticus Finch my #1 dad in all of literature, but he is also my #1 character. Atticus is the person that I hope that I as well as everyone else in the world will grow up to be. Atticus is revered by people the world overand the group The Atticus Circle which is a group of LGBT Allies named their group after them. Atticus is a hero to everyone in the book and he is the reason that my first born son will be named Atticus. Again I elected to place a picture of Gregory Peck instead of the cover of the book. This picture is perfect- it shows Atticus in court next to the African American man that he is defending much to the chagrin of Macomb County, Alabama. Plus, I wanted to put in a picture of Peck’s Atticus because…well… LOOK at the handsome man!

Who are some of YOUR favorite dads in literature?

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“I listened wide-eyed, stupid. Glowing by her voice in the dim light. If chocolate was a sound, it would’ve been Constantine’s voice singing. If singing was a color, it would’ve been the color of that chocolate.”

We had a “huge snowstorm” yesterday (barely 3 inches, but here in the costal south that’s a LOT) which led me to be out of school all day so needless to say, I had a lot of spare time on my hands. I was clicking around on NPR and saw an article that they had where the people affiliated with NPR had selected their choices of the best books for 2010. Since January 2011 just started I thought that I might blog and throw in my pick for the best book of 2010.

I have selected The Help Kathryn Stockett as the best book of 2010. Okay okay okay, I know that the book came out in 2009 but I did not read it until 2010 and it seemed to be such a very popular book last year. As I am writing this I just checked the NYT Bestsellers List and The Help is still standing strong on that list at #11 (January 11, 2011 6:40 PM EST). I am also excited to report that the theatrical version is set to be released on August 12 of this year. I read this book over the summer as I was moving from Greensboro, NC to the coast (about a 4.5 hour move). I was in the passenger seat heading back to Greensboro after a few days at the coast and my boyfriend was driving as I was reading this book. For several minutes we had been silently going down the highway when a minivan came up next to us and the wife was also reading The Help. She pointed this out to us and we both gave it a thumbs up. That’s when I knew it was a popular book! The book brought us two strangers traveling down I-40 together just for a split second. The book brought the characters and the different segregated races together for a lifetime.

The quote that I selected to start this post off is the narrarator, Skeeter Phelan reminiscing about her families former maid Constantine who rasised Skeeter. Constaintine was Skeeter’s friend, mother, confidant. Skeeter is a character who is so precocious and driven in her beliefs that you know from the start that that despite any hardships that may befall her, and believe me there are plenty, through the book her ending will be a triumphant one.

Skeeter is 22 years old and has just returned to her small southern town after graduating from Ole Miss. Skeeter has returned to a very unwelcoming situation. Her mother is a pain (as mothers almost always are) who wants the brilliantly talented Skeeter to get married despite the fact that a talent for words and writing ooze from Sketer. To make matters worse, Constaintine has disappeared and no one will tell Skeeter where she has gone or the circumstances behind her sudden and (to Skeeter) unexpected disapperance. Despite the fact that Skeeter is our narrarator and the character in the story that I could most relate to, my favorite character undoubtedly is the sage-like Aibileen. Aibileen has lost her own son to an unfortunate and preventable accident. Raising her seventeenth white child Aibileen becomes the mother to this child that she can no longer be for her own son. Aibileen is such a rounded character. At times Aibileen is funny, wise, careless, thoughtful, and above all heartbreaking. Aibileen works for Skeeter’s best friend Miss Hilly. Miss Hilly is one of those characters that you wish was real, just so you could kick their teeth out.

The book centers on Skeeter’s need to connect to the silent Constantine again by telling the stories of all of the maids in the town. Though this just about the most dangerous thing that she and the maids can do, they all realize that it is something that they must do. While composing the histories of the towns help Skeeter grows up and becomes her own person, WITHOUT a wedding ring, I might add! She experiences heartbreak, loss, fear, ostracism, shame and disappointment. In one fashion or another, each of the maids as well as the other society women that make up Skeeter’s group of friends do as well.

The book is well written and it takes into account the views of each character. The book got under my skin and it made me want to be a part of the history much in the same way that Skeeter was. I would recommend this book to anyone. This book is a great one for book clubs. The discussion that can come from the action and the issues in the book is plentiful. Above all, this book is about connections made and friendships savored. I hope that you love it as much as I did!

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