Recent reading, on which more soon (she says hopefully).
Hello, friends. I’m happy to report that I’m doing much better than when I last checked in, and as you might have noticed I was even able to finish a few posts last week. Hopefully this trend will continue. Also, this week I got Edinburgh Book Festival tickets, and I’m so thrilled that I’m going back. I won’t be there for long and I’ll only catch the tail end of the festival, but still — I had such a wonderful time in 2011 and 2012 that it will be great to just be there again. This year I’m seeing Naomi Shihab Nye and Caroline Lucas, and of course hanging around the festival bookshop and trying not to be too tempted.
Here’s what grabbed my attention in the past week or so:
- I haven’t read any of the books Gerry Canavan covers in this LA Review of Books piece, but the title caught my eye on Twitter and before I knew it I had read the whole thing. I like the point about ‘lifeboat ethics’, and especially this:
The truly radical kernel in both of these books is the notion that as we drift through space in our tiny pocket of air and water and warmth, much too small and much too fragile, leaping together into an unknown and frightening future, maybe the best choice we can make is to try to take care of one another as best we can.
- The essay above makes reference to Cory Doctorow’s “Cold Equations and Moral Hazard”, which I’ve probably linked to before but am leaving here again because it’s so great.
- These photos of celebrations outside the US Supreme Court after the marriage equality ruling make me incredibly happy.
- A few more great images from the celebrations: rainbow colours over landmarks, rainbow crosswalks in Seattle, and (my favourite) the first gay couple to be married in Dallas (George Harris, 82, and Jack Evans, 85. Don’t read the responses under the original tweet.)
- From Roxane Gay’s Confessions of a Bad Feminist TED Talk:
I am a bad feminist, I am a good woman, I am trying to become better in how I think, and what I say, and what I do, without abandoning everything that makes me human. I hope that we can all do the same. I hope that we can all be a little bit brave, when we most need such bravery.♥
- #Charlestonsyllabus: a comprehensive reading list for developing a better understanding of systemic racism. Many thanks to everyone who helped put this together.
- I loved Liz Bourke’s “How Do We Talk About Strong Female Characters?”:
Some people never go out and Do Deeds of any active kind. Their heroism—if we may see it as heroism in a narrative sense—is surviving under strain, mental or emotional or physical or all three. Sometimes intolerable strain. Survival is a quiet ongoing necessity, and living under circumstances that one can neither abandon or substantially change has historically been the lot of many women. Because their struggles were domestic—because their choices were, and often still are, significantly more constrained than the men around them—they are overlooked as heroes.I spend a lot of time thinking about this.
- On social justice and library cuts.
- Amy Winehouse, Kurt Cobain and the Gendering of Martyrdom. “We martyr our women because we fear their greatness. We do so because we fear women who are living out of bounds.”
- Lastly, I haven’t read Lies We Tell Ourselves, but as a reader who has long since been frustrated by obscure hints about “secrets” in plot summaries, I really like what Robin Talley says in this interview about making the jacket copy of the paperback edition plain and clear about the fact that the two main girl characters fall in love with each other.