lthough I have posted a review or two on some of the books I’ve read, I thought it might be better if I posted the names of all the books I’ve read this summer and the letter grade I would give them, along with a brief explanation as to why. I read a TON of books this summer and I don’t think I’m going to have time to independently review all of them.
Seeing Voices by Oliver Sacks “C+”– While this book had some great information about the Deaf President Now rallies and made an important case for Deaf people’s need of sign language, Sacks ultimately lingers too much on language acquisition in general. He also tends to speak of Deaf people as if they are their inability to hear, and not as if they are people too.
Inside Deaf Culture by Tom Humphries and Carol Padden “A” – This book is really great if you want information about the history of Deafness in America. It also includes the personal narratives of the authors as well as information about a plethora of aspects of Deaf Culture.
A Deaf Artist In Early America: The Worlds of John Brewster Jr. by Harlan Lane “B-” – While this book was really good, only about 1/2 of it was actually about John Brewster Jr. The rest was about his era and the other Deaf people who lived in the US at the time (even though they didn’t have anything to do with John Brewster). I also didn’t like Lane’s hypothesis that John Brewster left the American School because he had a hard time learning ASL when there is no evidence to suggest that, but that’s a minor quibble.
Open Your Eyes: Deaf Studies Talking edited by H-Dirksen L. Bauman “A+!” – From Codas to Deaf Education to what Deaf Studies really means, Deaf people weigh in on every topic imaginable. Before you can get bored with anything, another incredibly engrossing article catches your attention and you’re thinking about Deafness in new ways (again). This book is AMAZING! It’s my favorite of all the books I’ve read so far.
Recent Perspectives on American Sign Language by Harlan Lane and Francois Grosjean “F” – While this book may be really great if you’re a language scholar (although I don’t think so…), I just found it incomprehensible. It’s a shame, because in general I like Harlan Lane.
When The Mind Hears: A History Of The Deaf by Harlan Lane “A+” – This book is really, really great and features an incredibly important time in the history of the Deaf in America. My only criticism is that it stops too soon!! I wish it continued through the 1950s, but it ends with Alexander Graham Bell the spread of oralism.
Next on the list is The Wild Boy of Aveyron by Harlan Lane, Deaf In America: Voices From A Culture by Tom Humphries and Carol Padden, and A Mighty Change: An Anthology of Deaf American Writing 1814-1864 edited by Christopher Krentz. I’ll let you know how they are when I’m done with them…