Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Last Days of Summer, October Book

Steve Kluger's Last Days of Summer is a hilarious and heart–warming story about a down and out kid who finds inspiration in his favorite baseball hero.

This is a coming of age novel in which Kluger uses letters, newspaper clippings, war bulletins, ticket stubs and even report cards to tell the story of Joey Margolis, a precocious twelve year old who is in need of a hero. Joey is growing up Jewish in a tough Brooklyn neighborhood in the 1940's.

Constant bullying from the kids in the neighborhood leads him to write to to Charlie Banks, an up and coming star with the New York Giants, asking for a home run so he can tell everyone that it was for him. This is not easy, but Joey uses every trick in the book to get what he wants. The friendship that comes out of their simple correspondence will change them both forever.

The joys and sorrows of growing up will always have an audience and this novel sheds light on all the complexity of those difficult times, with humour and joy.

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus, September Book

1491: New Revelations of the Americas Before Columbus is a 2005 non-fiction book by American author and science writer Charles Mann about the pre-Columbian Americas. 
The book argues that a combination of recent findings in different fields of research suggests that human populations in the Western Hemisphere, the indigenous peoples of the Americas, were more numerous, had arrived earlier, were more sophisticated culturally, and controlled and shaped the natural landscape to a greater extent than scholars had previously thought.
 For example, Mann takes issue with the notion that European technologies in the 17th century were more advanced that those of the Indians. He uses guns as on e of many examples. The Indians thought of them as "noisemakers", more difficult to aim than arrows. Indeed,  John Smith of the Jamestown colony noted that "the awful could not shoot as far as an arrow could fly."