February 2010

Remembering Malcolm X

A book that I strongly recommend is "The Autobiography of Malcolm X" , published in 1965,
written with Alex Haley, based on conversations Haley conducted with Malcolm X. The book is an eye opener for those who are young or who have short memories. It is a story of  race in America during the first part of the 20th century, and of one man's life's journey, as he sought justice and truth, and as he grew  from a young confused man into a thoughtful thinker, with a worldwide following.

Forty five years today, on February 21st,  1965, Malcolm X, born Malcolm Little, (May 19, 1925), also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz, was murdered. One of the many good things that he left behind is this book, which Time magazine named  as one of the most important nonfiction books of the 20th century. RIP Malcolm X.

Gandhi: The Man, by Eknath Easwaran

“Be the change you want to see in the world.”

Gandhi has provided this and dozens of other pithy quotes to the pantheon of 21st Century spiritual knowledge- plenty of wisdom for almost anyone to take and make their own. But do you know anything about Gandhi beyond these quotes and the image of him as a spectacled, bald old man in a white cloth?

How about that he was married at the age of thirteen? Had you thought of Gandhi as a passionate lover?

He wrote: “I must say I was passionately fond of her. Even at school I used to think of her, and the thought of nightfall and our subsequent meeting was ever haunting me. Separation was unbearable. I used to keep her awake till late at night with my idle talk.”

Dave Thompson, "Never Fade Away: The Kurt Cobain Story"

This fluffy little bit of mid-90s ephemera was everything I had hoped it would be, and not a bit more.  As you might expect, it chronicles the life of Kurt Cobain, grunge rock's figure head, and (here in Washington) Local Boy Hits It Big.  Despite the often sensational writing style and the cover's promise of tabloid treats inside ("16 pages of dramatic photographs" proved out to be not so much "dramatic" as "repetitive and mostly from the Seattle Center memorial"), Thompson takes the middle road when describing Cobain's life.