138 Uncle Tom’s Cabin

uncletomby Harriet Beecher Stowe, 1852

And so continues my education of reading books that I should have read, but haven’t. I was particularly interested in reading Uncle Tom’s Cabin to learn exactly where the term “Uncle Tom” originated. For the unaware, an Uncle Tom is a black person who is exceedingly deferential to whites. That’s the polite way of putting it; for a more piquant definition, watch Django Unchained. Samuel L. Jackson’s character? He’s an Uncle Tom through and through. But where does the term come from? Surprisingly, not directly from this book.

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136 La sombra del viento

 sombradelvientode Carlos Ruiz Zafón, 2001

[Scroll down for English.]

He oído mucho de este libro, un libro sobre un misterio de libros. Intenté leerlo el año pasado, pero cuando la elección pasó, ya no tenía ganas de descifrar un misterio en español. Pero estaba determinada leerlo y por fin he terminado con ello. ¿Valía la pena? Desafortunadamente, no estoy segura. Sí, disfruté algunas partes del libro y a veces lo encontré encantador, pero aunque la trama me interesaba, el cuento no tomó forma al fin.

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135 Your Move: The Underdog’s Guide to Building Your Business

yourmoveby Ramit Sethi, 2017

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m not easily convinced to pay for services online. I may read all of a site’s free information, but when it comes to plunking down a hefty sum, I clock out. Such has been the case with Ramit Sethi’s business products, about which I’ve been reading as they make their way to my inbox. Sethi talks a big game on his website and has copious testimonials to backup his claims and, hey, it might all be true, but I just can’t be convinced to fork over hundreds of dollars on simple faith. However, when Sethi’s latest ebook was released for the low price of $.99, I figured, Why not? I wanted to know more and for once the price was right.

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133 Eat That Frog!

eatthatfrogby Brian Tracy, 2001

Eat That Frog! is one of those self-help type books I’ve encountered on the productivity/start-your-own-business websites I peruse. It’s been touted as a great instruction manual for learning how to get off your ass and start getting things done, and so I added it to my list of books that I should probably read. When a recent water shut-off at my apartment building forced me out for a day, I found myself browsing the shelves of a bookstore, where I grabbed this book and promptly read it cover to cover. It’s a slim volume and an easy read and although I personally didn’t learn a whole lot new from it, I can see why people find it valuable.

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132 The Vile Village

vilevillageby Lemony Snicket, 2001

Things are starting to heat up for the Baudelaires! We’re still using the same formula as ever: the siblings are placed in the care of some well-meaning but less than apt adult, Count Olaf shows up in a new disguise, and the orphans end up having to save themselves. In this case, however, an entire village fails the three, as the moniker “It takes a village to raise a child” is put to the test in their new home, the Village of Fowl Devotees. Or, if you will, VFD.

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131 The Sellout

selloutby Paul Beatty, 2015

Ah, the library. What’s so great about the library nowadays is that you can put any ebook on hold and eventually it’ll come to you without you having to lift a finger. What’s not so great about the library is that, for some reason, all of your ebooks tend to come in at once and you find yourself speed reading them before they’re yanked from your account. Such was the case with The Sellout which, despite having a long wait time, became available to me shortly after I received The Nix, meaning that after reading that 600+ page tome, I had little time to devote to this Booker Prize winner and even less time to spend appreciating it. For I think there is probably some level of genius in this novel, however unable I was to connect with it.

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129 If I Was Your Girl

ifiwasyourgirlby Meredith Russo, 2016

I kind of hate fairy tales. Not the Brothers Grimm sort, which are actually quite gruesome and only vaguely resemble the stories we were told as kids, and not even really the Disney sort, because I can’t lie that, as much as it rankles my inner feminist, I still enjoyed Beauty and the Beast. No, I mean those stories where someone with a “problem” – they have a string of failed relationships, they are clumsy, they (gasp!) have curly hair and glasses – overcomes said “problem” to live happily ever after. I realize there is some comfort in knowing that we are all lovable despite our differences, but this sort of trite plot and predictable ending are far from new and far from interesting.

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