Sunday, May 1, 2016

Reading list for May

My reading list review for May is short. I've only read two books, but they are important for different reasons. One book I read was for pure enjoyment. The other book was to see if time had changed my perspective.

The first book that I read is Living with Art by Rita Gilbert. It is the 5th edition of a college textbook that offers a basic, general, broad introduction to the nature & characteristics & examples of art from many cultures the world over. It is basically an overview of the history & development of art & architecture in the world.

I love reading this book, because it discusses & portrays all types of art & architecture, two of my favorite things in the world. The text was easy to understand & the information was rich & informative & entertaining. So many wonderful illustrations, photos, & captures were so brilliantly included in this book, making for some wonderful & beautiful viewings. I found myself lost while gazing at the stunning pictures & contemplating the interesting information that accompanied the pictures. I've reread sections of this book, because the subjects were so captivating, & I loved the stunning photos of some really amazing art & astonishing architecture.

This book is a treasure found at a local second hand bookstore. A lot of the books in the store were from college students who no longer needed the books for classes nor wanted them in their possession. The prices are low enough that I can justify buying a book that would take up space at my place, & I wouldn't worry about taking it outdoors with me. It was a used, old book, but the condition & contents were outstanding. I'm glad I took a chance & bought it. See if you can find it at your local library or luck out at a used bookstore. It's a fantastic find. I started reading it in January & wanted to include it in my March reading list, but I spent so much time just rereading some really fascinating chapters & yes, the pictures were just stunning that I spent a lot of time admiring their beauty, daydreaming about seeing such glorious creations in real life.

I especially got a kick out of reading the sections on art & architecture that I've been very fortunate enough to have seen in real life during some travels. It amazes me that I had seen that art & been to those exotic, wonderful places, & I feel the need to see those wonders once more. And thanks to this book, I've discovered & learned more about the marvelous art & spectacular architecture that I would like to see & experience up close & in person--like the Taj Mahal, Hagia Sophia, Machu Picchu, & so many others. Though I've finally finished reading this book, I feel as if though I'm not done with it yet, & it sits on the nightstand, within easy reach, so that I may enjoy going through its pages & daydreaming about the magnificent art & majestic architecture from all over the world.

I highly recommend this book, especially if you love art & architecture. If you don't know how you feel about art & architecture, then this book is a great, enjoyable introduction to the beauty & engineering marvels of art & architecture.

The second book I read is a children's book. Hey, don't judge me! I've little people--that's children--that I like to buy books for & introduce to some splendid stories & wonderful works of art & creativity. Until I started buying books for children just recently, I never realized how awful & terribly poor the reading choices are for children. Seriously, there is a lot of crap out there being marketed as being appropriate for children. And they're really just gawd awful & a horrible waste of time.

I don't mind the fairy tales & folk stories & hilarious children's stories. Those works have cultural & sociological values. They inspire imagination & teach important life lessons about love, hope, truth, integrity, grit, & wisdom.

Then there are those horrific & stupid books that have been deemed "classics" that are just the worst material ever designated for children. These are some really deplorable, depressing stories that should never, ever be read to children! And among those stories is that vile & abhorrent tale called The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein.

I read this book as a preteen a long time ago, & I was appalled at the atrocious tale. If you don't want to find out the plot of this story, let me warn you now that this is a spoiler warning, so don't read anymore. Just scroll down to the section marked END OF SPOILER ALERT to continue reading.

SPOILER WARNING HERE. Skip down to avoid reading about the plot.

Basically, this story is about a tree who provides for a little boy as he grows up. I was revolted & shocked as I read this horrid tale. It left me feeling repulsed & I hated this story.

In this disturbing story, a tree gives up so many things & pieces of itself, all to satisfy the selfish, greedy needs & wants of a little boy, who grows up to be an ungrateful, horrendous human being. Whatever he wants, he just asks of the tree, & the tree willingly gives it to him. And as the beastly boy grows up, he makes even more wretched, despicable demands upon the tree, & the poor tree keeps giving in to these demands! It got to the point where the tree finally gives all of itself, that it dies so that this heinous ingrate can have what he wants! And even in death, that repugnant man finds a way to violate & desecrate that poor tree's corpse!

My gawd how this story shocked me & filled me such hate for a story & a contemptible, foul character. This wasn't a story about sharing & love. This was a story of an abusive, even violent, unhealthy relationship between a character being victimized & abused by a monster taking advantage of this poor, cursed character. I kept thinking, 'You leave that poor tree alone you little bastard!'

And I thought, 'Come on tree! Don't let him take advantage of you! You deserve so much better! You don't need to put up with that piece crap! You are a mighty tree! Now be like a tree & leave!'


I couldn't believe that people actually recommend this book as one that should be read to children. No, it shouldn't be read to children! It shouldn't be read by anyone at all! I read this book as a child, & it was just a rotten, disgusting experience! It was awful!

Over the years, I've come across others who actually praised this book, leaving me shocked & feeling disturbed that some people see selfless service & sacrifice in what I see as a loathsome story of abuse, violence, greed, & senseless destruction & murder!

I saw this book at the library, where I was getting some ideas on which books I ought to share with the little ones in my life. I thought, 'Well, maybe I ought to give this book a second chance. Maybe I could understand it & appreciate it better now.'

So I gave this book another chance, & you know what? It is still a gawd awful, vile, reprehensible book! I still hate this story, & I still detest & loathe that foul, greedy, ungrateful bastard in this book!

I do NOT recommend this wretched book at all. Skip it! Do NOT give this book to children! Do NOT read this book children. The is a dreadful, distressing, depressing, disgusting, disheartening book that should NEVER EVER be shared with children.

I suspect that given the subject matter & plot, this book was never meant for children. If anything, it was meant for adults, a fable for grown ups on the nature of relationships & love. Love is not selfish nor cruel nor does it tear others down. This book is meant for adults to ponder on the meaning of greed & the consequences of losing sight of oneself & the danger of failing to recognize & understand true love.

And there you have it. My reading list for May. It's only two books, but I'm really glad that I read them, because I learned new things & I felt emotions that made me feel alive. Please feel free to join in the Infomaniac Book Challenge & share with us what you read. Reading is important, because it's an exchange of knowledge & a way to communicate ideas, thoughts, & feelings. So join us & share with us what you learned & what you thought & felt about the books you are reading. When we share knowledge, we share power, & we increase our strengths. So share with us & keep giving the gift of reading.

Related Links
Reading list for March


  1. I have not read The Giving Tree but I agree with your reaction. In the late 70s/early 80s I would read books to a friend's son. I always cringed when he selected one from the Sweet Pickles series. Mostly unlikable characters in unpleasant situations. Maybe a trendy literary thing at the time?

    1. LX, You could be right about the trend thing. Thanks for the heads up on Sweet Pickles series. I think it's important to read age appropriate stories to children that teach good moral & ethics. Kind of like Grimm fairy tales, I would read the kid friendly versions & save the gory versions for when they are older, like teenagers when they're old enough to have critical thinking skills & better judgement.

  2. Okay. I will give The Giving Tree a miss then.... but in it's place I recommend that you read The Man Who Planted Trees by Jean Giono, as an antidote.

    1. Scarlet, Thank you for the recommendation of The Man Who Planted Trees.

      My problem with The Giving Tree is that it is mistakenly marketed towards children, when the cruel, masochist content is clearly meant as a fable for adults.

  3. The 4th is strong with this one!

    But come tomorrow, The Revenge of the 5th, I plan to raise a (margarita) glass or two to those brave Mexicans who took on the imperial French & began the struggle for freedom!

  4. I'd never heard of The Giving Tree, but it sounds reprehensible. Thanks for the warning.

    And I'm glad you finished your art book. It's reminded me that I have an art noveau book that I've been menaing to read again, so I'm going to get it out now and put it next to my bed. Thank you!

    1. IDV, The Giving Tree is really more of a cautionary, depressing tale for adults, not appropriate for children. The artwork is nice, but the plot sucks!

      I love art nouveau! Along with art deco, they're my fave design styles! Paintings, posters, buildings, sculptures, fashion, & jewelry are just spectacular & stunning in art nouveau & art deco. So beautiful & magnificent!

  5. Thanks for the warning about the Shel Silverstein book. I thought, judging by the cover and the title, that it might be a good book for kids.

    I should have known by this photo of him on the back cover, that all was not as it seemed.

    1. That foto looks more like a mug shot or most wanted shot than an author foto on the cover! His art work is nice, but his unhappy story is definitely made for adults who like depressing stories & not for kids.