Thursday, February 24, 2011

Recent Reads: Playing the Enemy by John Carlin

Not too long ago, after the kids story time, one of the librarians and I were discussing reading. She said while her kids were growing up there was a time where she didn't read. I wondered: how can you live a fullfilled life without reading; how could you miss out on years of reading, my list would be so incredibly long I would have to hide away somewhere to complete it all. I guess not everyone is a total bookworm like me, but even though I have small children I still take considerable time to read. I'm not about to miss out, but I do understand how time can slip away (even still, there is always time to read before bed, or wake up before your kids do- I'm not obsessed).

Now, I don't have a dishwasher which has led me to listening to Pandora, NPR, Jazz, seminars- you name it, anything I can find interesting on Internet radio- while I'm cleaning dishes, and how I have gone about reading this book, or listening, rather, since the library only had an audio version.

Of course, I went about the book all wrong. I watched the movie first- "Invictus"- which was based on the book "Playing the Enemy". However, if I had not watched the movie, I probably wouldn't have read the book- it's nonfiction, and I generally don't read nonfiction.

John Carlin tells the story of Nelson Mandela's imprisonment, his release, how he became elected, and how he used the game of rugby to join a nation full of racial and political unrest. Through interviews with Mandela, his followers, and members of the opposing political party, Carlin tells of Mandela's life in prison, how he overcame the anger and injustice of being imprisoned, and what he learned in prison that would help him to lead South Africa fairly during a time full of much turmoil.

I have been overcome with how a man who has seen so much injustice in his life could be so forgiving, and be strong enough to lead fairly and not try to make up for all of the injustices that happened to him and the people he came from.

The movie "Invictus" is good, too; and draws more on the humanity and drama of the situation- and makes me respect rugby players a whole lot more.

Either way, movie or book, it's a story worth paying attention to.

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