Saturday, September 21, 2013

A few words on books

Both as a way of taking some time to decompress, and to read some things in English, I'm working through three different books, all of which offer something of relevance to this experience and beyond.  

Bury Me Standing by Isabel Fonseca.  The book is both a first hand account of the author's travels amongst various groups of Roma, as well as a thoroughly researched report on modern gypsies, their past, and their lives in a post-Communist Europe.  Fonseca's writing is complex and enjoyable.  Her own observations from years of research and listening and questioning are helping to affirm some of the things I'm discovering in my new home.  150 pages in, I can safely say that I can relate to 80% of what she writes about.
A note on the word gypsy: A had previously understood the word "gypsy" to be a derogatory term for this complex ethnic group.  As Fonseca and I have both discovered, the two terms are used interchangeably among many Roma and non-Roma.  Some prefer one term over the other.  I have not yet encountered anyone who is offended by one term or the other, but that day will probably come.

Waterlily by Ella Cara Deloria.  Considering my roots in South Dakota, I'm not sure that I could be reading a better book alongside Fonseca's account of modern gypsies.  Deloria's account of a young Sioux Indian women gives a similar account of an ethnic group that has faced harsh persecution and injustice in every sense.  I didn't know that this book existed until a few months ago when my boss recommended it as a book that significantly influenced her thinking when she was in college and led her to pursue improved assistance and access for Indian people in South Dakota.  

And Grace Will Lead Me Home by Rev. Dr. Paul Rohde 
Paul first gave me an unpublished copy of this book when I went to Norway a few summers ago.  Norway was (and is) a plush oasis compared to eastern Hungary, and I didn't fully appreciate the meaning of the book in 2011.  But now, after turning to the book for some inspiration and some guidance on journaling this experience, I can say that I have felt the full range of emotions and reactions that Paul anticipates most pilgrims will encounter.  Thanks, Paul.

Also, a shout out to Jake Bury for sharing with me his top 5 articles of the summer, which I might have more to say about on here later. 

1 comment:

  1. Very glad the book is helpful, Thad! Thanks for the plug. And love reading your blog! Paul