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« June, 2020 »

Women of the Klan: Racism and Gender in the 1920s   book icon  
by Kathleen Blee (1992)

read: 23 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: non-fiction

A look at women and WKKK activity in Indiana in the 20s. Including interviews with elderly women looking back at their KKK involvement (many with “those were the days” sentiments). Creepy and very well-researched look at how the hate machine works, or worked. The author goes into some detail explaining just why information on some of these groups is hard to find, and just how, in many ways, the groups were simultaneously money-making machines as well as racist hate groups.

Vagabonds   book icon  
by Hao Jingfang (2016)

read: 22 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

I didn’t read the reviews until after I had finished this. This book felt long to me. There was impressive world building, but living inside the mind of an anxious female protagonist who everyone is kinda gaslighting is really a bit of a slog. Mixed feels. I read it all, I wanted it to go somewhere; it felt like a lot of philosophical thought exercises masquerading as a fiction story about life on socialist Mars vs. life on capitalist Earth, felt very didactic. When I learned the author was also an economist, I was not surprised.

Finna   book icon  
by Nino Cipri (2020)

read: 14 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Loose idea: What if there were wormholes in in IKEA-like store? And this is layered on top of two overworked/underpaid employees managing a trip into one while they come to terms with their own dissolving (or evolving?) relationship. I enjoyed it, it went in and out of being weird. I didn’t quite relate to the main relationship of the two characters, but I enjoyed that it was complicated and that they didn’t quite seem to know what to make of it either. The story ends with a definite “What’s going to happen next?” vibe.

Girl, Woman, Other   book icon  
by Bernadine Evaristo (2019)

read: 12 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Reviews I’d read called this novel ‘experimental’ and I didn’t really see that at all. It’s a great novel that interweaves the lives of many Black British families, primarily women, many GLBTQ, with an emphasis at looking at where people came from to reflect on where they are now. Rich and evocative, complex lives Sometimes it’s a little extra work to figure out how and why you might be reading about any one character but it ties up kind of neatly towards the end.

The Lost Book of Adana Moreau   book icon  
by Michael Zapata (2020)

read: 7 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Another book that is a story of stories, a little more cohesive than Starless Sea. It all revolves around this woman’s book but it’s a web of stories about all the men in its orbit which was kind of the good news bad news. The title woman is only sort of in it, it’s mostly a story about her son, now much older, and... another young man whose story also interweaves with his. The book has a dreamy aspect to it, there’s a lot of longing in it and it doesn’t all get requited.

Hyperbole and a Half   book icon  
by Allie Brosh (2013)

read: 7 June 2020
rating: [+]
categories: graphic novel, non-fiction

I’ve been a big fan of Allie Brosh’s work, it was fun to revisit, in the run-up to having her new book come out. The graphic novel is full of well-illustrated funny stories about dogs, grappling w/ depression, self-doubt, being a weird kid. It ended on a dark note, w/ her talking about how shitty she actually is (in her own words, not in mine) which left me feeling sort of odd. Like it was clear that she had worked a lot of stuff out--hooray--but also that she was still working on some stuff and maybe didn’t realize that she had more work to do, possibly.

Haben, the Deafblind woman who conquered Harvard Law   book icon  
by Haben Girma (2019)

read: 4 June 2020
rating: [+]
categories: biography, non-fiction

A story about this woman’s life told through a lot of anecdotes. I liked hearing about what she went through, I was surprised at some of the things she knew and did not know (such as disability accommodations and her legal rights) and wanted to hear more about her day to day life being at Harvard and being in a relationship (she seems to be in but it’s actually unclear). I very much enjoyed her perspective especially since she is also a woman from Ethiopia (and culturally Eritrean) which put a bunch more spins on this story. Worth a read, was looking for more of a “warts and all” story but her voice is not like that.

A People’s History of Heaven   book icon  
by Mathangi Subramanian (2019)

read: 3 June 2020
rating: [+]
category: fiction

Another book about friendship, one that deals with the interconnected lives of mostly young women who are growing up in a slum in Bangalore. There is a lot going on here and it’s really nice to see it through the eyes of girls who are somewhat hopeful while at the same time dealing with some of the grim realities of their lives. You get a LOT of complex backstory and it gives you a lot of insight into why things are working out the way they are in tiny specifics while the overwhelming generalities about how global capitalism works are always there in the background.

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