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About Binker

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    Dallas, Texas

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  • Location
    Dallas, Texas
  • Current Book
    Cleanness by Garth Greenwell

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  1. My IRL book group is reading News of the World about a retired Texas Ranger who is hired to return a girl who had been kidnapped by Indians from her point of "rescue" in North Texas to her family in San Antonio, Texas (about 300 miles). The book takes place in 1870, but almost exactly follows the "back way" that I take when I drive to San Antonio. I read the book a couple of years ago and really liked it, but wasn't inclined to read it again. Instead, I focused on our "extra credit" book, The Captured, which is a non-fiction account of the lives of these kidnapped children. This is a fascinating book. The author had a great uncle who was one of these children, as, apparently, did many of the German families that settled in Central Texas (generally referred to as the Texas Hill Country), around Austin and San Antonio. The Germans settled on the frontier, which is why it feels like they are targeted, but it also ended up inhibiting their interaction with the U.S. Government, where everyone speaks English and these children and their families did not. But what is the most interesting is how quickly the kidnapped children integrated into Indian life and did not want to come "home." The most famous of all is a woman named Cynthia Ann Parker, who was "rescued," but essentially died of a broken heart. The author does not spend a lot of time on her because all Texans know her story (she was the mother of Quanah Parker, the last great Comanche chief), but goes into great detail about many of the other children who were kidnapped. The most interesting part for me was why they didn't want to come home and what characteristics they all displayed during the remainder of their lives that they had essentially learned during their time with the Indians (the one who lived the longest just died in 1950). This was very thought-provoking for me since I am adopted and I thought about what it would feel like to be taken from my family and returned to strangers whose only connection to me was genetic (most of the children barely recognized anyone they were returned to). It is excruciating to contemplate and I felt very sorry for these children, sometimes young adults when they were "rescued." It's easy to understand why their families, so heartbroken by their loss, wanted them back, but they almost never really adjusted and some of their family members realized that they should have just been left where they were. I have recommended this to all of my friends, but especially those I know who are descendants of the German settlers in the Texas Hill Country (also a friend whose family were German settlers in Oklahoma). Sidebar: most of the early settlers in Texas were Czech and German and their influence is obvious everywhere you go, but especially in Central Texas (Wurzfests everywhere, kolache shopes, etc.). And boy did they have hard lives!
  2. Oh dear, this sounded right up my alley until the description of the second part. Thank you for being so honest in your reviews.
  3. This was my top read last year. I didn't post a review, I guess, because I was recovering at home and couldn't manage to get on BGO. I thought this was one of her best outings. I have a much younger brother, with a combination older sister/mother relationship, so a lot of that felt very familiar to me, although we didn't have the split family that Danny and Maeve do. I loved this book!
  4. I have just stopped a book like that. Rave reviews in the NYT, etc. for Such a Fun Age and I just could not get through it.
  5. I want to thank you again for posting your honest reviews of books you didn't like. I usually just stop reading and so it's hard to give a true review. Now I know to give this a miss.
  6. Thank you so much for coming on here and telling us. We were friends on FB and as everyone else said, she just seemed so vivacious that it's hard to believe that she is gone. I am so very sorry for your loss.
  7. I have read it and loved it and yet don't appear in the discussion. How discouraging. I thought the movie was good, too.
  8. Here I am, not right after Viccie for once. 1. Diary of a Dead Man on Leave by David Downing (01/04/20)**** 2. A Place for Us by Fatima Farheen Mirza (01/15/20)****1/2 (for my IRL book club) 3. Such a Fun Age by Kiley Reid (abandoned) 4. New Iberia Blues by James Lee Burke (abandoned) 5. The Captured by Scott Zesch *****(non-fiction for my IRL book club) 6. The Winter Soldier by Daniel Mason **** (for my IRL book club, March) 7. The Siberian Dilemma by Martin Cruz Smith (02/22/20)****
  9. Yes, it has been just shocking to see the damage. The City has does a great job of getting things as back to normal as they can. There were extremely inconvenient road closures, but that enabled them to get their services in and out without a problem (and gawkers, which I find repugnant). I bought my house because of the beautiful trees as did a friend of mine who lives just south of me. Mine were untouched. Hers were destroyed. All very sad.
  10. Luna, True Grit is an excellent book, more like Lonesome Dove than anything else. The John Wayne movie was filmed in California, which doesn't look anything like where the book is set. The more recent version (with Jeff Bridges) is more approrpiately sited and very true to the book. I thought it was excellent.
  11. As a native Floridian, I have also lived through a hurricane, which are terrifying in a different way. Hurricanes spread much more misery to more people, but they rarely wipe whole buildings out. Tornadoes obliterate the building that is directly in their path, but leave untouched a neighbor building. And they do their damage much more quickly. I go to cardiac rehab 15 minutes from my house. Today, it took an hour each way and my return navigation took me through one of the worst-affected streets (because it was one of the few "through" streets). I felt so sorry for the people who lived there. After seeing that, I am even more amazed that no one was hurt or badly injured. My favorite grocery store was also blown to smithereens (and while this seems self-centered, Thanksgiving is just around the corner and I always do my Thanksgiving shopping there!) and I know that the employees and any stray customers sheltered in the walk-in coolers. The walk-in coolers appeared to be the shelter of choice at most restaurants and to have done a good job.
  12. We had 2 lines of storms bringing in a cold front last night. One of them spawned a tornado that ripped a path through "my" area of Dallas. Tornadoes are very local, so I wasn't affected, but the fire station that was broadcasting the tornado sirens was obliterated, even as the sirens were working. So were areas of shops (including my favorite independent bookstore and my favorite garden center), homes, and schools in the path of the tornado. No one was killed and I'm not hearing reports of injuries, which seems almost miraculous to me.
  13. And now I am delighted to have finished the book. It was just as Mr. HG said--"as perfect a novel as you could hope to find." One of the things I appreciated about this book was that even though there were two child narrators, I never got them confused. The little boy is just full of personality and the little girl is a lot more reserved. I loved them both.
  14. I think the danger with eugenics is that it's a short step from giving people options about their own lives to having others in charge of the decision. Giving other people the right to make the decision has a long, sordid history in the United States that began with sterilizing "feebleminded" women. These women were not feebleminded, they just didn't comply with society's requirements, often having come from impoverished backgrounds. One case went all the way to the United States Supreme Court, which upheld the right of the States to sterilize their citizens, with Oliver Wendall Holmes thundering "three generations of imbeciles is enough!" He was a lion of U.S. jurisprudence, but was so wrong on this matter that it beggars belief. Stephen Jay Gould, whom I admired tremendously, used it as an example of the kind of problems that arise when everyone agrees on something, claiming scientific support and studies. I heard him lecture several times. He always told the story of a woman who had been institutionalized as a child and, without her knowledge, much less her consent, sterilized. When she left the institution, she was perfectly normal, married, and finally went to the doctor to find out why she couldn't have children. He saw that she had been sterilized and asked her about it. She had no idea and was heartbroken. At one of the lectures, a woman asked what he thought the current prejudices were in science and he said, "I don't know because I'm right in the middle of it, but it will become obvious at some point." The Nazis and the Japanese embraced this theory of deciding who was good enough to live/reproduce wholeheartedly with the results that we all know.
  15. I feel great. I thought I felt great before (I went hiking above 10,000 feet and whitewater rafting at elevation and felt fine just a month before), but now I feel extra super special great. Thanks for your good wishes.
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