There’s no better way to relax during the summer than getting lost in the pages of a great book. If you’re in need of reading recommendations, you’ve come to the right place! During the next few weeks, we’ll be sharing staff selections in fiction and nonfiction. Happy summer — and happy reading!
Reviewed by Paul Hahn, library assistant, Gaylord Music Library
Born a Crime (Spiegel & Grau, 2016) is a memoir by Trevor Noah, the South African comedian who shouldered the unenviable task of succeeding Jon Stewart as the host of The Daily Show in late 2015. Subtitled “Stories from a South African Childhood,” the book provides a window into two extraordinary personalities—those of Noah and his Xhosa mother Patricia Nombuyiselo Noah, who dared to fall in love and bear a child with a white man under apartheid. Patricia Noah is a force of nature, and the author’s relationship with her is the axis around which the book revolves.
Trevor spins tales of childhood adventure, teen heartbreak, and occasional hair-raising violence (if you’re a cat lover, you may wish to skip the first couple of pages of Chapter 7). He reveals himself to be relentlessly curious and bright, forever exploring the possibilities available to him despite the oppression of apartheid, the weight of which is felt throughout. I lost count of how many languages Noah speaks but am fairly sure the task would require the fingers of more than one hand. Indeed, Noah is a walking advertisement for diversity, for the fact that his life spans so many borders—between languages, races, countries, and eras of South African history—is what has made him what he is, one of the most cogent political commentators currently on the air.