Monday, October 13, 2014

What is Brent Reading 2

Have you finished with Brent's first book selections?  Good!  Here are some more...
#1- The Buried Treasure of the Ga: Coffin Art in Ghana, by Regula Tschumi

Description- The fantasy or figurative coffins from Ghana, in Europe also called custom, fantastic, or proverbial coffins (abebuu adekai), are functional coffins made by specialized carpenters in the Greater Accra Region in Ghana. These colourful objects which have developed out of the figurative palanquins are not only coffins, but considered real works of art.  The reason that mainly the southern Ghana-based Ga people use such elaborate coffins for their funerals is explained by their religious beliefs regarding the afterlife. They believe that death is not the end and that life continues in the next world in the same way it did on earth. Ancestors are also thought to be much more powerful than the living and able to influence their relatives who are still alive. This is why families do everything they can to ensure that a dead person is sympathetic towards them as early as possible. The social status of the deceased depends primarily on the importance, success and usage of an exclusive coffin during a burial.  Fantasy coffins are only seen on the day of the burial when they are buried with the deceased. They often symbolise the dead people’s professions. Certain shapes, such as a sword or stool coffin, represent regal or priestly insignia with a magical and religious function. Only people with the appropriate status are allowed to be buried in these types of coffins. Various animals, such as lions, cockerels and crabs can represent clan totems. Similarly, only the heads of the families concerned are permitted to be buried in coffins such as these. Many coffin shapes also evoke proverbs, which are interpreted in different ways by the Ga. That is why these coffins are also called proverbial coffins (abebuu adekai) or in the Ga language "okadi adekai".

Brent- The first book I've been spending time with is from our sale book section. It is out of print but readily available in our shop.

#2- Burning Paradise, by Robert Charles Wilson

Description- From Robert Charles Wilson, the author of the Hugo-winning Spin, comes Burning Paradise, a new novel of humans coming to grips with a universe of implacable strangeness.  Cassie Klyne, nineteen years old, lives in the United States in the year 2015—but it’s not our United States, and it’s not our 2015.  Cassie’s world has been at peace since the Great Armistice of 1918. There was no World War II, no Great Depression. Poverty is declining, prosperity is increasing everywhere; social instability is rare. But Cassie knows the world isn’t what it seems. Her parents were part of a group who gradually discovered the awful truth: that for decades—back to the dawn of radio communications—human progress has been interfered with, made more peaceful and benign, by an extraterrestrial entity. That by interfering with our communications, this entity has tweaked history in massive and subtle ways. That humanity is, for purposes unknown, being farmed.  Cassie’s parents were killed for this knowledge, along with most of the other members of their group. Since then, the survivors have scattered and gone into hiding. Cassie and her younger brother Thomas now live with her aunt Nerissa, who shares these dangerous secrets. Others live nearby. For eight years they have attempted to lead unexceptional lives in order to escape detection. The tactic has worked.  Until now. Because the killers are back. And they’re not human.

Brent- Most of my current reading involves mysteries (I love the geography and climates), but there are a few science fiction writers whose work makes me drop everything and jump into their marvelous worlds. Wilson’s books are not usually happy affairs- they are loaded with pyrrhic victories.

#3- Monstruos Mexicanos, Volume 2, written by Carmen Leñero, illustrated by Claudio Romo Torres

Description (by author Carmen Leñero)- People in our country has some perverse stories where characters appear repeatedly. It is monstrous creatures that come from the pre-Hispanic world and Cologne, and who remain there. I heard their stories, I studied their legends, their attributes, their life and kindred. And I wrote these stories to narrate how they were born and probably some of his evil deeds.

Brent- My command of Spanish veers from weak to non-existent, so this amazing children’s book is perfect for me.  I admit that the draw wasn't the tales, as great as they are, but the illustrations by the great Chilean artist Claudio Romo Torres.  You can access his work for the book by following the link below.  A warning- this book is extremely hard to find.  There are books with the same title and there is also a first volume.   It took me the better part of a year to finally find it in a shop in Mexico City.

A big thank you to Brent for keeping our reading wish list pleasantly full, and diverse!

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