Glo's Page

Read any Good Books Lately?

I read to know, I read for joy,

I read to dream and please my minds ear.


The idea of this page of the web site is simple: to give you the chance to say something about a couple of books that you've read and would like to draw to the attention of others. This doesn't mean that they have to be literary (= arty-farty) gems, or even that most people should have heard of them. This page is not trying to be the online equivalent of the Booker Prize or the Big Read. Glo is no longer able to look after the page, so send your e-mails to me at, saying a few words about the books you would talk to someone in a pub (= bar in the USA) about. Your comments should be about 2-3 books, and no more than 200-300 words in total. Send them in the body of your e-mail and put 'Glo's Page' in the subject line of your e-mail, otherwise your wise words will very likely be deleted as junk mail.

Since this started life as Glo's show, and since it was her that suggested this page, it's only right that she goes first.

The first 'external' contribution is from we have is from Robert Nisbet. See below for further contributions from others.

.King Leopold's Ghost

by Adam Hochschild

With shades of Heart of Darkness, this book documents the most sinister side of the evils of colonialism founded on the enslavement of indigenous people. The author reveals that those who discovered Leopold's atrocities and advocated some kind of reform included journalists and writers such as Mark Twain, Booker T. Washington, Arthur Conan Doyle and the man himself, Joseph Conrad. As some people will know, Conrad actually visited the Congo and his novel was the direct outcome. Here are some of his words: 'the vilest scramble for loot that ever disfigured the history of human conscience'. The Congo, long a source of riches from gold, latex and today diamonds, has been plundered by powerful countries since its discovery. Its history is a particular blot on Belgium in general and King Leopold specifically.

Colonialism for gain has never been a humanitarian act; the torture, mutilation of women and children and the genocide of tens of millions to force the procurement of riches from The Congo is evil in the extreme. The World and Leopolds' Belgium looked the other way as long as the profits flowed. This book showed me the true horrors of that era and it reinforces the premise that men can do such evil when no one is looking or caring. Colonialism for whatever purpose can only diminish the subdued culture. The Congo may be an extreme example of savagery, but even in the guise of benevolent 'nation building' there is a loss of the dependent culture's core values and traditions.

PS - 'Apocalypse Now' and other 'recent occupations'. It is still happening!

The Red Tent

by Anita Diamante

The author creates a fascinating heroine in her tale spun from a few words' mention of the only sister of Jacob's 12 sons in the Book of Genesis. Diamante is a scholar of Jewish history and this is her first novel. She weaves an interesting life perspective, using her heroine Dinah's own words as the only girl child born to any of Jacob's four wives. She is privy to the secrets and intrigues of the women and their traditions revealed in the 'Red Tent'.

The tribal women retire to the red tent when in need of other women during childbirth, menses and illness. Dinah tells of each wife's life, personality and how living in the tribe affects each, based on their rank and current favour with Jacob. The revelation of women's life styles of that time is a welcome change from the typical patriarchal stories of the Bible. The author admits that the story is pure fiction as Dinah speaks no words in the Bible; but Diamante gives her a voice and builds a life that 'could have been' in that time and place. Dinah's life is not simple as her relationship with a prince of another tribe results in pregnancy. Her brothers consider it rape and plot his death. Dinah has learned midwifery and is able to carry on as an independent woman, traveling to Egypt and eventually finding love and peace in the end. I felt this book was very believably written and kept the reader's attention in its unique movement through the life span of a woman in biblical times.

The Da Vinci Code

by Dan Brown

Dan Brown spins quite a tale of mystery, religious history, symbolism and speculation, including puzzles and cryptic symbols to literally play mind games with the reader. Those games were fun and encouraged the reader to participate in the solution. The author includes a fact page where he identifies those societies and existing, real, Church factions, then proceeds to weave possibilities into the plot, based on clues in works of art, especially those of Da Vinci. The basic premise is the omission of the Church and instead to include the female goddess whose symbol is the Holy Grail into doctrine. Mary Magdeline is that goddess and her real role as wife and mother of the divine line of Jesus is explored through the clues revealed in the solution of the mystery of murder and ages of secrecy incorporated in the book.

The symbolism of the clues and the endeavours of the Church not to 'rock the boat' combine into a mystery that pulls the reader into the game of solving those symbols, codes and riddles on the way to the inevitable conclusion. The hero and heroine are suspects in the murder of a curator of The Louvre, he by association, she as the granddaughter of the last keeper of the truths revolving around the Grail. Their 'one step ahead of the law' action is ingrained in each clue toward the ultimate puzzle solution.

It is a fast-moving story and the reader easily becomes involved in the action. It also makes one think from a different angle of history and how the decisions were made as to what was to become history. As the author says: 'today we seek and discover for ourselves as opposed to knowledge handed down by "authority figures".'

This book has become popular with scholars and historians. I enjoyed every word and hope for more from the author. There are web sites for the writer and the publisher with many bibliographies and fun codes.

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