Friday, June 8, 2012

Read Any Good Books Lately?

As we did a few summers ago, let's recommend some books for summer reading.  While these books are fiction (since it's summer, after all), they have a way of awakening us to some themes of justice with which we are unfamiliar or which we have forgotten.  Those of you who are Villanova grads might be familiar with "One Book Villanova," in which one book is chosen for the academic year and several events (including visits from the author) are scheduled.  This year's "One Book" was Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford.  Told from the perspective of Henry Lee, a Chinese gentleman who grew up in Seattle, this book tells the story of Japanese internment during World War II.  Because of the rampant anti-Japanese sentiment in the 1940's, Henry's father compels him to wear a button that says, "I am Chinese."  Henry's friendship with the only other Asian student in his elementary school -- who happens to be a Japanese girl -- forms the structure of this novel, as Henry (now living in the 1980's and mourning the loss of his wife) looks back on this turbulent time in history.

Remembering this period of American history seems to be increasingly important today, as we react in fear to those around us -- many of them American citizens -- who might be of the same ethnic ancestry as those our country considers enemies. 

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