Tuesday, September 28, 2021

Books reads in August 2021

1. Cosmetics, Fashions, and the Exploitation of Women, by Joseph Hansen, Mary-Alice Waters, and Evelyn Reed (1986)

This book's purpose seems to be to document a debate that took place in the 1950s via a series of article and letters-to-the-editor in a communist newsletter. However, I found I didn't care that much for the most part. Too much militant jargon, also. On the bright side, did you know that "comradely yours" was considered an appropriate communist sign-off for a letter?

2. Changing Season: A Father, A Daughter, A Family Farm, by David Mas Masumoto with Nikiko Masumoto (2016)

A collection of little standalone chapters with musings about life and operations on a small, third-generation family farm. I think these were mostly newspaper columns before they were a book. Conversational and taught me some things I didn't know. I couldn't read too many at once.

3. Looks, by Madeleine George (2008)

What a smart and interesting young adult novel. Really didn't feel like quite any other one I've read before. The story is one I can imagine others doing, but this book felt like it took its world, and its two girl narrators, seriously. Seriously enough to look closely and build them from scratch, not from expectations or cliches.

4. The Wild Girl, by Kate Forsyth (2015)

Ah! Utterly engrossing...I couldn't stop thinking about this one for a while. The only somewhat imagined story of a young woman named Dortchen Wild, who grew up next door to the Brothers Grimm and told them many of their stories. It is masterful as historical fiction - I learned so much about the time and place she lived in, and about the birth of the Grimm's collection of tales, without feeling like I was being taught. Terribly dark in parts, but oh, such a tale. I'd issue a content warning for sexual abuse.

5. Rose Penski, by Roz Perry (1989)

Quirky 1980s romance. This one charmed me because the long-term couple FEELS like a real long-term couple to me. It's not very plotty. There is a cancer context. The two women are quirky and ever so real, as are there interactions, and they are romantic in that exact way - not in a romance novel way.

6. Zucked: Waking Up to the Facebook Catastrophe, by Roger McNamee (2019)

Have you deleted your Facebook (and Instagram) yet? I did, almost two years ago and I've been having a grand time. Unfortunately the present and future of my world is still being determined primarily by fellow humans who cannot say the same thing. This book is primarily a history of "the Facebook catastrophe" and its backlash (including the author's work as a lobbyist) to date. 

7. When the Emperor Was Divine, by Julie Otsuka (2002)

Seriously well-crafted. Sharp as a razor. Sparse. Heartbreaking without being dramatic. It's not the first book I've read on the Japanese-American internment experience, but it's so affecting and humanizing that it really shook me into a new way of looking at an old piece of knowledge.

8. Let Them Be Said, by Susan Griffin (1973)

Feminist poetry. Very 1970s leftist vibe and tone. Not totally my thing, despite my love for 1970s feminism.


What about you - anything wonderful you've been reading lately?

Thursday, September 2, 2021

"Telling a Traveler by Her Eyes"

 A woman travels alone
 to a place where there are only trees
and the wind. Her footsteps
are scattered by the tall grass
No voice whispers back
Sunlight dapples wherever it falls
chalk on the leaves, butter
on her arms. A bird
on a low branch cocks its head
stares into her. Their hearts
race. She feels the hard
clasp of wing and the bones
pierce at her back. She
fights to breathe
Later, she will go live
at the edge of a clearing
She will not face a hunter
straight on

- Carol J. Pierman

in The Naturalized Citizen (1981)