Friday, July 24, 2020

Book with a Movie Highlight: Hidden Figures by Margot Lee Shetterly

Hidden Figures, also a book was written by Margot Lee Shetterly, tells the history of African-American mathematicians at NASA. Film writers Melfi and Allison Schroeder tells the story of Dorothy Vaughn, Katherine G. Johnson, and Mary Jackson.  The movie stars, Taraji P. Henson, as Katherine, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughn, and Janelle Monae, as Mary Jackson.

The film shares the stories of these women as they settle into careers during segregation.  Each woman's accomplishments defeat the "status quo" during the Civil Rights Era. Having to deal not only with barriers based on race, Jackson, Vaughn, and Johnson dealt with gender barriers, as well.  The movie was inspiring and made you appreciate their commitment to being African American and women fighters within the workplace.

I will not explain the life lessons because I do not what to share spoilers. However, if you have seen the movie, you know where these life lessons come from in the film. Here are the ten life lessons that I learned from watching Hidden figures:

Purchase the book.
*When you do not know, go to the library.
*When you learn something, help others learn. 
*Remain humble and determined. Always remain humble. Figure out what you want and do not stop until you get it.
*Do good work.
*Stick up for yourself. No one is obligated to fight your fight. 
*Spousal support is important to a person's success, if someone is in a relationship. 
*You can always be "the first." 
*Friendship and social events help with the balance of work and life. 
*Teaching your children what's right, what's just,and what's important is your responsibility. 
*You know what you know.  No one can take that away from you. 

I plan to read the book by Margot Lee Shetterly soon.  I hate seeing a movie before I read the book.  Anyway, I am hoping that the accuracy of the book is directly reflected in the film.  I have my fingers crossed.   Have you seen the movie? What did you think?  Let's talk.

Monday, July 06, 2020

Book Highlight - Deserted: Retelling Bible Stories without an Angry God by Nathan Roberts

Purchase the Book!
Recently, I was introduced to a new book, Deserted: Retelling Bible Stories without an Angry God. I must say as the child of preachers, I was completely intrigued by the title. The author is Nathan Roberts. The illustrator for the book was alxndr jones.

The book covers a total of seven biblical stories:
  1. Cain and the Snake
  2. Naameh and the Ark
  3. The Unplanned City of Babel
  4. Issac and the Sanctuary Cities of Sodom and Gomorrah
  5. Doctor Leviticus
  6. Aaron and the Burning Bush
  7. Moses and the Terrorist Attacks
I appreciated the introduction, which gives important background information, including why Roberts finds the necessity to write such a unique text.  For biblical scholars, the book focuses specifically on Genesis and Exodus. Interestingly enough, Roberts removes the Hebrew God, Yahweh, from each of the stories. Roberts explains that he "wanted to see what would happen next." 

Each of the stories is unique and Roberts creates stories designed to inspire readers of the Bible "to play with the Biblical details." I won't give away any spoilers, but I know you that you won't be disappointed when you read this book. I was immensely intrigued. 

Here is an excerpt from story #5 of Doctor Leviticus:

Dinah clicked her tongue and pulled on the reigns. Dinah’s sword sheath clanged against her dusty thigh armor as her camel came to a stop. Before her stood a wooden fence surrounding a complex web of gardens with a sign that read Welcome to Doctor Leviticus’ Office.

“Levi!” Dinah shouted from atop her camel. “Come say hi to your sister Dinah!” A bald head popped up from behind the fence. Dinah gasped in surprise and instinctively reached for the handle of her sword.Then she noticed the bald head belonged to a woman with kind eyes, ruddy wrinkled cheeks, and no eyebrows. Dinah relaxed and moved her hand away from the sword.

“Doctor Leviticus?” the woman asked, correcting Dinah.

“Possibly. The person I’m looking for just goes by Levi,” Dinah said cautiously. She couldn’t help staring at the older woman’s sunbaked forehead where her eyebrows should have been. Then Dinah saw two more bald, eyebrowless women rise from behind a berry bush. Both held watering cans and looked at her suspiciously.

“I didn’t know Doctor Leviticus had a sister,” the older woman smiled, pointing at a two-story brick building with stairs that wound along the outer walls.

On the second floor was a door flanked by large lattice windows and closed curtains. A few chickens ran up and down the paths that cut across the maze of lush green gardens. Dinah had been on the road for a month and was impressed to see a garden this green in the middle of the drought.

Dinah dismounted her camel and her sword clanged against her armor. She made a move to push open the short wooden front gate. The older woman pulled a linen face mask over her nose and mouth and blocked the gate with her body.

“You can’t come in like that!” the woman shouted, scandalized.

“Why not?” Dinah asked, her eyebrows narrowing on the woman on the other side of the wooden gate.

“Because you’re unclean!” the woman exclaimed through her linen face mask. She pointed at the small one-room mud hut on Dinah’s side of the fence. A sign above the door read Washroom.

“I’ve been on the road for a month,” Dinah said getting irritated. “Levi’s not going to care.”

“He most certainly will care,” the woman scolded Dinah.

“You are unclean and you could contaminate everything in here.” The woman’s hands made a circular motion that encompassed the building and its gardens.“So you want me to wash before I come in,” Dinah said, pointing at the washroom. The washroom was empty save for three wooden buckets full of clear water and a series of strangely labeled bottles.

The bald woman smiled and nodded, “Please.”

About the Book:

Purchase the Book!
What would the earliest stories of the Bible be like without an angry God smiting humans with floods, fire, frogs, and brimstone? They might become the story of a mother surviving a snake bite and a dangerous pregnancy. Architects and dreamers building towers and boats to save themselves from the harsh desert. A doctor who obsessively cleans. Young gay lovers seeking refuge in the sanctuary cities of Sodom and Gomorrah. Estranged brothers planning ten terrorist attacks to free their people from slavery. Without an angry God, the Bible might become a fictional collection of stories about deeply human men, women, and children from a small nomadic tribe deserted in an ancient Hebrew desert.

About the Author:

Nathan Roberts is a pastor in Minneapolis, a founding editor of The Salt Collective progressive Christian magazine, and the author of Poor Millionaires: The Village Boy Who Walked to the Western World and the American Boy Who Followed Him Home (2014).

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