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After taking a few days away to read Silent Spring in honor of the centennial of Rachel Carson's birthday, I'm back on track with my summertime project of making some kind of dent in the stacks of books to be read that have spilled out of the library and onto nearly every horizontal surface of the house. Here's what's on the turntable this weekend: 1. by . Okay, I already finished this but I've got to mention it anyway in order to say: If you read fiction, read this book. Alexie is one of my favorite writers. He's a superlatively gifted storyteller who works smart insights into captivating narratives. In this new novel, which was a long time coming, lotrisone cream in 20gr tube $166.00 he has surpassed himself. I was almost breathless while reading it. I don't want to give away the plot so I won't say much. Alexie's website describes it as "the hilarious and tragic portrait of an orphaned Indian boy who travels back and forth through time in a violent search for his true identity. " If you're smart, you'll skip the reviews and even avoid reading the description of the book on its flaps and just jump into the book itself, in order to get maximum enjoyment out of the often surprising trajectory of the plot. Alexie is Native American, as are most of his characters. That reminds me that HBO is now running a film based on the 1970 best seller, . I don't know anything about the movie but I hope that it will inspire people to read that book, which has had a lifelong impact on me. As you may know, the early 1970s were years in which activism by the (AIM) made national news. In 1973, AIM seized and occupied the town of . I guess it was the news about that action that prompted me to do my 6th grade book report on Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee. (No, it's not a book for young people. I was reading adult books by then. ) Even now, so many years later, I can remember how intently I read that book and the profound and immediate impact it had on my thinking. Of course, I was already mistrustful of government and official stories. This was, after all, the era of . And a side-effect of my considerably less-than-perfect home life was that had never been replaced by deference to authority. The story of America I had been told in school never felt right to me. Perhaps, as the victim of covered-up abuses, I somehow recognized the official story as the same kind of lie. Or perhaps, as an especially logical child, I realized that the story just didn't make sense. There were too many gaps, too many unexplained absenses. Whatever the reason, I read Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee with a combination of horror and relief. Horror because the truth is so very violent. Relief because finally the truth was being told. I never forgot what I learned from that book, either the specific stories of atrocities or the larger story about the hidden history of violence that infuses every aspect of our national identity. Like Howard Zinn's , Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee is one of those books that ought to be read by every American. I hope that many will also go on to read more recent books, like Ward Churchill's and, most importantly, come to see the need to act in solidarity with contemporary Native American struggles. 2. Secret draft of a forthcoming anthology. I can't tell you anything about this yet but I do want to start building suspense, because this is going to be an important book. Suffice it to say that I feel very lucky to be reading this right now and you will be lucky when you are able to read it too. 3. by George A. Kennedy. I ordered this book (thank you, interlibrary loan) because I teach public speaking at an HBCU (historically black college/university). Lotrisone cream in 20gr tube $166.00 my classes typically include not only african american students but also african and afro-caribbean students, along with the occassional white or asian student. Most of my African American students are from urban areas rather than the rural region in which the school is located. Like everybody, my students tend to use rhetorical strategies rooted in their home cultures. These often differ from each other and from the rhetorical strategies of the dominant culture here in the USA. Such differences can spell doom for persuasive efforts if they are not understood and taken into account. For example, white middle-class Americans tend to keep their emotions in check when speaking in public and to characterize outbursts of emotion as irrational. Conversely, working-class African Americans tend to distrust dispassionate speakers and to make sure that their expression and gestures show that their hearts are behind their words. You can imagine what can happen when, in a setting where there is already a disagreement, speakers using these different rhetorical strategies try to persuade each other. Speakers who distrust emotion become colder and colder while those who distrust dispassion become more and more heated. Mistrust escalates and any chance for consensus evaporates. (The classic text, by Thomas Kochman provides several illustrations of of this dynamic at work. I've seen it happen myself, many times. ) As a public speaking teacher, it's my job to prepare my students to speak effectively in any setting, from a neighborhood meeting in their home community to a scholarly conference with a multicultural audience of attendees. To do that, they need to understand the different ways that different people use and perceive different rhetorical strategies. And, of course, learning about that increases their own repetoire of rhetorical strategies. That's true for me too. And, as it happens lotrisone cream in 20gr tube $166.00, I'm also working on an article with a secret co-author (all will be revealed in time) about whether or not a rhetorical strategy used by some animal advocates is apt or effective. So, I had plenty of reasons for picking up this book. When I did, I got a happy surprise. In his section on rhetoric in societies without writing, Kennedy includes [lotrisone cream in 20gr tube $166.00] a chapter on the rhetorical strategies of non-human animals, in which he takes some of what we know about communication among some social animals and fits it into the categories that have heretofore only been used to delineate human rhetorical strategies. Since our supposedly superior communication skills are often cited by those who see homo sapiens as somehow more special than every other unique species, I was glad to see Kennedy showing that other social animals are doing the same things we do, just in different ways.