Maira's Books

In January of 2005 I started this blog as a record of books I’ve read as I was afraid I would forget what I have read. I have often referred back to my own blog to remember a book's contents or see what I have read by an author. I have enjoyed passing my books on to friends or recommending books to read. I know I have missed recording some, but in general I try to keep up with what I have read or listened to.

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Location: Kalamazoo, MI, United States

I am a librarian at Waldo Library at Western Michigan University.

Monday, November 20, 2017

The Man Who Fell From the Sky by Margaret Coel (2015)

One more of my out West books picked up a Wall Drug. Not bad, but seemed to take me forever to get through this. Margaret Coel is a historian who is considered an expert on Arapaho Indians of Colorado and Wyoming. Her mysteries feature Father John and Arapaho lawyer Vicky as mystery solvers. 

Robert Walking Bear's death in a lake may have been an accident, but since he was looking for Butch Cassidy's treasure, there are some doubts. This mystery is based on the true fact that Butch Cassidy did have friends in the area and that he did have a relationship with Mary Boyd, half white and half Indian, and that she did have a daughter. As far as Coel knows, no one ever did find Cassidy's treasure. I did appreciate a window into the current world of the Native Americans living in the state where my cousin resides.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

When I'm Gone by Emily Bleeker (2016)

This is the first book I've read through Amazon Prime. I don't have a Kindle and have not gotten into reading online. I remember when Stephen King (not an author I would choose to read) came out with the first online only book that he was distributing chapter by chapter. I started reading that just to see what it was like, but I must have lost interest, as I only read 3 or 4 chapters. This was before Kindle and no one could decide on a platform to use. Anyway, this was just simple reading on my laptop. OK, but not great.

The story started out similar to P.S. I Love You, where a person gets letters from their loved one after they have died. At first it seemed like it was just going to help Luke get through those difficult first months, first year, raising three kids on his own. Natalie's letters kept appearing on his doorstep. He was encouraged to accept help from his neighbor, then a young girl was suggested as a babysitter, but this was a much more complex story with secrets being revealed over time. I guess it turned out to be a pretty good story in the end.

I always take a look at what other people have said about a book on Amazon or GoodReads - more down to earth than official reviews. One comment struck me that this book made her think about writing down things about her own life for her kids and grandkids - answers to questions they may not think to ask until it is too late. Good idea.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Forced Underground: Homosexuals in Soviet Latvia by Rita Raduša (2014)

I was looking to see if there is anything written about LGBT in Latvia and found this - suggested by a friend. Originally published in Latvian as Pagrīdes citādība, I was able to find the translated version through interlibrary loan. It is a series of 12 stories based on interviews by the author about the life of gays, lesbians and one transgender person in Soviet Latvia. Most of the stories had to be anonymized, and one asked that her story not be told, as there were still too many details that could identify her.

If life for LGBT folks was/is hard in the States, it was harder still in Soviet times, where there was no acknowledgement of sex, never mind homosexual sex. Most of the people in these stories grew up not being able to define how they were feeling. Many came across Jānis Zālītis' In the Name of Love, one of the few texts on sexuality, where homosexuality was at least acknowledged, but recommended curing it. And then trying to find others like you.

I will have to find a way to purchase a copy from Latvia. It would be interesting to compile a bibliography of LGBTQ writings from Latvia or about Latvians. There are only 6 institutions in the US with this book, and the copy that I got through interlibrary loan was gifted to the library by an alum from Latvia.