ext_48823: 42, the answer to life, the universe and everything (Default)
[identity profile] sumofparts.livejournal.com
Haven't posted in a while. Here's a series of mini-reviews with some spoilers. Also, some of the books contain potentially triggering content.

6. Un-Nappily in Love by Trisha R. Thomas
7. Breath, Eyes, Memory by Edwidge Danticat
8. Tracks by Louise Erdrich
9. The Reluctant Fundamentalist by Mohsin Hamid
10. Umbrella by Taro Yashima
11. Little Joy by Ruowen Wang
12. Why War is Never a Good Idea by Alice Walker
13. Erika-san by Allen Say
14. Dahanu Road by Anosh Irani
15. What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell
16. The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
17. In the Company of Ogres by A. Lee Martinez
18. Gil's All Fright Diner by A. Lee Martinez
19. Divine Misfortune by A. Lee Martinez
20. Monster by A. Lee  Martinez
21. Certainty by Madeleine Thien
22. So Long Been Dreaming edited by Nalo Hopkinson and Uppinder Mehan
23. A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers by Xiaolu Guo
24. Too Many Curses by A. Lee Martinez
25. A Nameless Witch by A. Lee Martinez
26. A Person of Interest by Susan Choi
27. Apex Hides the Hurt by Colson Whitehead

Mention (not counted)
Josias, Hold the Book by Jennifer Riesmeyer Elvgren (white); illustrated by Nicole Tadgell (person of colour)

Read more... )
ext_939: Sheep wearing an eyepatch (skywardprodigal Cog Flowers)
[identity profile] spiralsheep.livejournal.com
6, 7, & 8. Three poetry collections by Moniza Alvi: Carrying My Wife, A Bowl of Warm Air, and The Country At My Shoulder (all three collections are available together in an omnibus also called "Carrying My Wife"). I have to admit, out of about 150 poems, there were three that did anything for me. I mostly found the expression of content incomprehensible, possibly due to the author reaching for innovative imagery, and the aesthetics of form uninteresting, but she's a comparatively popular mainstream Establishment poet so my judgement is extremely questionable (and I haven't heard her read her own work live). There are two of the poems, which did speak to me, at my dw journal.

9. The Redbeck* Anthology of British South Asian Poetry, edited by Debjani Chatterjee, is a nearly 200 page collection with a wide variety of content and style, which I enjoyed. There are two example poems at my dw journal and a third example poem but, of course, three poems can't reflect the breadth (or depth) of this anthology.

* I keep misreading it as "Redneck". ::facepalm::

10. The Lost Thing by Shaun Tan didn't appeal to me visually as much as the previous Tan books I've perused but the gist, that it's more important to be happy than to fit in, is another good theme, especially for kids.

Note to tag wranglers: "british-asian" and/or "british-south-asian" is correct usage and, yes, some of the authors (and/or their subjects) are also caribbean / african / &c.

Tags: women writers, poetry, anthologies, asian, british-asian, pakistan, britain, british, caribbean, african, bangladesh, india, indian, indian-british, pakistani, bangladeshi, pakistani-british, bangladeshi-british, british-south-asian, asian-australian, australian, chinese-australian, picture books
[identity profile] anitabuchan.livejournal.com
I initially wasn't going to count uni reading for this, but since I haven't had time to read fiction for what feels like months, I'm giving that up :). Also, I thought these articles might be of interest to a few here.

21. Retrieving Women's History: Changing Perceptions of the Role of Women in Politics and Society, ed. S. Jay Kleinberg.

There are several articles by women of colour in this anthology, but the two I read were:

The Presentation of African Women in Historical Writing by Ayesha Mei-Tje Imam

Imam reviews historical writing on African women, discussing areas which have been studied, areas which haven't, and approaches taken towards African women in historical writing. I found the last bit most interesting. She outlines the four ways African women have generally been presented by historians: as oppressed and subordinate to men; as equal but different to men; as oppressed victims of colonial policy; and, most recently, as actors in social processes who have experienced a general decline in status due to colonialism.

She also outlines problems with the above four approaches, before linking the decline in status women suffered as a result of colonialism to both Christianity and capitalism. Christianity (and 'education') led to girls being raised as future wives and mothers, rather than future citizens. Capitalism, and changes in local economies, led to women losing economic power.

Breaking the silence and broadening the frontiers of history: recent studies on African women by Zenebeworke Tadesse

Tadesse gives a brief historiography of African women, before, as the title suggests, reviewing recent historical studies of African women. She explores the heroine/victim dichotomy she says has dominated the study of African women, arguing that they are either presented as eternal victims and passive objects, or as heroines of women's uprisings and as powerful matriarchs (as an example, she brings up the Igbo women's war). She then summarises various studies on subjects such as women and slavery (both women as slaves and as slave-owners), women in the colonial period, women and resistance, and urban women.

Overall, both articles are very interesting and informative for anyone looking for a quick guide to historical writing on African women.

Tags: a:imam ayesha mei-tje a:tadesse zenebeworke w-ed:kleinberg s jay
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[identity profile] hapex-legomena.livejournal.com
So Black History Month is almost at an end; have 50 African-American poet as presented by The Vintage Book of African-American Poetry edited by Michael S. Harper and Anthony Walton.

In alphabetical order:

long list of poets. with links! )

[all links go to public domain works - the ones that I could find anyway]

If you look at the list of writers you may notice that the editor, Michael S. Harper included himself in his own anthology, which I think is kind of suspect, but I guess that's what co-editors are for.

I was going to write about every individual writer, but, yeah, no. Too lazy; don't feel like it. Also, it's a lot harder tracking down public domain works on the big wide internets than I thought it would, or think it should. Seriously, if the book was originally published in 1910, I don't google books or whoever pointing me to amazon. Just give me the text JFC.

It's was a good anthology. Not an excellent anthology, but a good one. The editorial inserts were informative, if sometimes annoying. (One of the editor's and I have a slight difference of opinion on the use of dialect in poetry.) By choosing the poets that they did, the editor's try to the diversity of style and identity that falls under the term "African-American poetry" and they also attempt to show growth over time.

Two poems that got me:

White Lady by Lucille Clifton (recently passed, may she rest in peace)



AKA my new go-to poem to explain why White Women's Syndrome and the trope of the Nice White Lady does not give me the warm and fuzzies.

On Being Brought from Africa to America by Phillis Wheatley

'Twas mercy brought me from my Pagan land,
Taught my benighted soul to understand
That there's a God, that there's a Saviour too:
Once I redemption neither sought nor knew.
Some view our sable race with scornful eye,
"Their colour is a diabolic die."
Remember, Christians, Negros, black as Cain,
May be refin'd and join th'angelic train.


This poem is so sad. The woman named Phillis Wheatley received the name Wheatley from her owner
and the name Phillis from the slave ship she was brought to America. She lived a hard and short life. And here is this poem pleading for "Negros, black as Cain" to be seen human.

Those two were downers. Here, have a happier one:

Dawn by Paul Laurence Dunbar

An angel, robed in spotless white,
Bent down and kissed the sleeping Night.
Night woke to blush; the sprite was gone.
Men saw the blush and called it Dawn.

This entry was originally posted at Dreamwidth. You can comment here or there. comment count unavailable comments at Dreamwidth.
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[identity profile] hapex-legomena.livejournal.com
in short: Rotten English: A Literary Anthology edited by Dohra Ahmad (white? editor) is an anthology of poetry, short fiction, novel excerpts, and essays that use, discuss or otherwise engage with vernacular/non-standard/dialectical/world English(es), has a 5:2 ratio of PoC writers to white writers, and has writers from and stories set on every continent other than Antarctica. (I had to double check South America, but Trinidad and Tobago are on the the South American continental shelf, so it totes counts.) The books title is a reference to Ken Saro-Wiwa's novel, Sozaboy: A Novel in Rotten English.

in which it is all about me: So I haven't posted in a second? w/e, w/e, I'm posting now.

I'm writing this up in particular, because anytime someone says something stupid about how other people talk and how it's "bad", "wrong", "uneducated", "ghetto", etc. I want to throw this book at their head, except for how it would hurt the book. Because I never run out of those moments (irl on the big wide internets) and neither does anyone else and because this anthology is one-stop-shopping for cluebats, I thought others might be interested. If you want to know what prompted me to reread this book now, start here (link) and here (link).

( actual analysis )
[identity profile] sweet-adelheid.livejournal.com
Spirit song: A collection of Aboriginal Poetry by Lorraine Mafi-Williams (Omnibus, 1993)



I enjoyed this one more than Inside Black Australia, although that's likely more because of where I was in my head when I read Spirit Song vs Inside Black Australia. Also, there were a lot more female poets included in this collection, and a female editor. Which I think made a lot of difference.

While I do think my reactions come down at least in part to the changes in my own way of thinking in the interim, this collection has the aim of being a collection for children and young people. IBA had an activist aim.

Which isn't to say the collection goes soft on the politics. But it was put together many years after IBA, and in a different climate, by a different editor.

My favourite poems are both mentioned in the introduction: "Integration" by Jack Davis, and "Visions" by Eva Johnson. They are two of the more positive poems, although neither pulls its punches. I used Davis' poem to round off a recent sermon.

The final stanza of a Barbara Armytage poem ("Survival") near the end of the collection sums up so much for me:

They aimed for extinction
We survived with grace
We gather and teach
The remains of our race.


Tags ed: mafi-williams lorraine
[identity profile] sairaali.livejournal.com
I'm awful at doing writeups, so this list has just been sitting on my desktop for ages making me feel guilty for not doing writeups.

Soo, I will just put the list up with brief one-liners on whether I liked it or not, and I'd be happy to discuss more in comments.

5) Silver Pheonix by Cindy Pon
Fantasy, adventure, romance, dragons, goddesses, intrigue! What's not to love?

6) Bodies in Motion by Maryanne Mohanraj
This is more of a series of interrelated short stories than a novel. The stories follow three generations of two families who immigrate from Sri Lanka to the US. It portrays a mix of different immigrant experiences, although nearly all of the characters are solidly middle or upper-middle class. The style is very ethereal and dreamy.

7) The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz
This has been reviewed here a million times. I enjoyed it, but found the casual sexism a bit grating.

8) My Life as a Rhombus by Varian Johnson
If I thought Oscar Wao had a few problematic scenes wrt to gender, holy wow, it was nothing compared to this. Neither the narrator nor any of the characters question the basic assumption that a woman needs a man to love her and that only a domineering man could possibly handle loving a strong independent woman. The story itself was well crafted and tightly written, but I couldn't get past the sexism.

9) Shadow Speaker by Nnedi Okorafor
Love! A young girl with the ability to speak to shadows struggles with her community's distrust and fear of female Shadow Speakers, a result of her estranged father's dictatorial and regressive policies. When her father is publicly beheaded, her world is turned inside out, and she embarks on a quest of self-discovery that takes her far away from home, during which she discovers a major military plot against her home.

Girls with cat eyes! Talking camels! Magic plants that grow into houses! A girl meets a strange orphan boy with his own powers and secrets on her quest without a queasy romance subplot being introduced! Again, what's not to love?

10)And the World Changed: Contemporary Stories by Pakistani Women Ed: Muneez Shamshie
Definitely would recommend this. Like any anthology, some of the stories are so-so, some are fantastic.


And I know this comm is focused on books by POC, but I know there are a bunch of SFF fans here and I'd like to make some anti-recs. I found the following books at the $1 ARC sale at Wiscon, and I suggest giving them all a miss for skeevy race issues.
Stone Voice Rising by C Lee Tocci - pseudo-Natives with magic powers just for being Native, and also misappropriational mishmash of at least six different tribes' religious beliefs, that I could recognize. Kokopelli become Popokelli, a demented fae creature who betrays his species and sells out to the (literal) Devil.
Kop and Ex-Kop by Warren Hammond - Locals on a backwater economically depressed planet are being murdered by a serial killer from the orbiting space station, which has technology centuries advanced of what is available planetside. Oh and incidentally, all the space dwellers have perfect milky white skin and the planet dwellers are all dark. Bleck.
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (william hack rose by semyaza)
[personal profile] sophinisba
20. Barack Obama, Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance
This is one of the most reviewed books at the comm and I don't have much more to say, just that I was really impressed by his writing. One of the quotes on the back cover said the memoir had the pacing of a novel and I found that to be true. I loved the way he would keep the story moving and even as he was talking about really complicated issues, and the way he would accomplish several things at once, like the scene where he goes into a barbershop in Chicago and is describing the scene, and his own place among the other men there, and at the same time recording the conversation and the black communities feeling about the election of Harold Washington. I recommend this book very highly.

21. Caille Millner, The Golden Road: Notes on My Gentrification
This is another memoir by a middle-class black writer who also grew up in an area with very few other black people, in this case San Jose, California, where her family started out in Chicano neighborhoods and later moved to the white suburbs. Millner then went to college at Harvard and afterward spent time in South Africa. I really liked it at first! I enjoyed Milner's writing style and her way of selecting telling details, like in this passage from the first chapter where she talks about going to church with her brother and walking past beggars on the front steps: Read more... )

22. Patricia Raybon, My First White Friend: Confessions on Race, Love, and Forgiveness
This was the book I liked least of the four I'm reviewing here, though I did learn things and am glad I read it. Raybon is from an older generation than Obama or Millner and because of that I found that her experience was a little more familiar from other things I'd read, and yet slightly less relevant for understanding race relations as they are today. Read more... )

23. Best African American Essays: 2009
Gerald Early, series editor, and Debra J. Dickerson, guest editor

This is the first volume of what's intended to be an annual series, along the lines of Best American Essays, although it's put out by a different publisher. The companion volume is Best African American Fiction: 2009. Read more... )
[identity profile] lehni.livejournal.com
1. Octavia Butler - Parable of the Sower
2. Octavia Butler - Parable of the Talents
3. Octavia Butler - Bloodchild and other stories

I'm really grateful to this community for introducing me to Octavia's work. My main delight in discovering her are the strong, complex and not always sympathetic female protagonists in her stories, but I also enjoy the realism she brings in her portrayal of dystopia. Parable of the Talents may come off strongly as anti-Christianity which might bother some readers.

I tried reading the first few hundred pages of The Broken Crown by Michelle Sagara but I found it really cliched and frustratingly difficult to follow. I think that the first ten pages will tell you if it's your kind of book or not.

4. Richard Kiyosaki and Lechter, Sharon - Rich Dad, Poor Dad

Personal finance book with an entrepreneurial slant - I had only heard of the blog before reading this. I don't really agree with most of the advice. Kiyossaki also comes off as anti-'wage slave' which isn't very endearing. This book also had some very negative reviews online. The main personal finance book that I would recommend to most of my friends is still Your Money or Your Life by Dominguez and Robin (the 2008 edition has a third author as well).

5. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown - Mixed feelings: the complex lives of mixed race Britons

The first third of this book is a brief history of mixed race relationships more globally; almost all of it was new to me and I found it really interesting. The personal anecdotes throughout the book really help to illustrate the diversity of interracial relationships and families, (although granted the majority of interviewees are white/poc and particularly white/black - not necessarily problematic given the methodology of collection; Alibhai-Brown does discuss the need for further research into the mixed race population and notes issues with self-reporting on government ethnic monitoring forms.) I found it a very worthwhile read and the personal stories prevent the content from seeming too dry. Alibhai-Brown does comment occasionally on her own personal situation (she has a white husband and a mixed-race daughter) but it doesn't detract from her research.

6. Tananarive Due - The Good House

Modern horror and a cautionary tale against dabbling in magic. The book centres around Angela and her relationships with her separated husband, her son and an old boyfriend. I found her relationships a bit boring and found it difficult to sympathise with Angela most of the time, but the book was interesting enough to finish.


Before joining this community I read Growing Up Asian in Australia (ed. Alice Pung), which is an anthology of 'growing up' stories written by Asian-Australians. The collection is pretty diverse and includes mixed race, queer and famous contributors (off the top of my head this includes celebrity chef Kylie Kwong and illustrator/writer Shaun Tan). I really recommend it, particularly for fellow Asians who have grown up in western countries.
[identity profile] sweet-adelheid.livejournal.com
Quick-version reviews:

#22 - Infidel: My Life by Ayaan Hirsi Ali
Hirsi Ali grew up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia and Kenya. Her experiences of Islam cross a spectrum from her (mostly-absent) father's approach, which in some ways allowed interpretation and debate but in other ways was highly traditional, through to devotion to the calls for the renewal of Islam by the Muslim Brotherhood. She's now become in/famous for her calls to consider ways in which Islam may be problematic.

#23 - The Dreaming, Vol 1-3 by Queenie Chan
Although manga is enough of a departure from my regular type of reading that I feel justified in posting it here, I couldn't count the three volumes as separate books. Only the third volume took more than an afternoon/evening to read. In the end, I can't recommend this book, because of what I (ymmv) see as a very problematic treatment of Indigenous Australian cultures and traditions. More info at my LJ.

#24 - Inside Black Australia: An Anthology of Aboriginal Poetry, edited by Kevin Gilbert.
Published in 1988 as a "Bicentennial" year protest, this collection is full of anger, and I found most of it very hard to cope with. I did persevere through to the end though, and I'm glad I did, as Gilbert's own poetry is last in the collection, and despite the fact that his introductions both to other poets and himself had angered and alienated me, I found that some of his poems were *beautiful*, and that they portrayed their anger in a way that allowed me to process it, rather than just putting up a wall. Note: many readers of this comm may find my review difficult or potentially offensive, particularly on "tone argument" grounds.

#25 - The Audacity of Hope by Barack Obama
I started reading this before the election, but only just finished it, for the simple reason that I own it, and thus it wasn't subject to library due dates. It is a great book, and I'll have to boost Dreams from my Father further up my To Read list.
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[identity profile] hapex-legomena.livejournal.com
Secret Identities: The Asian American Superhero Anthology

in short: A new comics anthology edited by Asians, written by Asians, drawn by Asians, about Asians, for everybody.

( more )
sanguinity: woodcut by M.C. Escher, "Snakes" (Default)
[personal profile] sanguinity
All these are from Yes Means Yes! Visions of Female Sexual Power & a World Without Rape, edited by Jaclyn Friedman and Jessica Valenti, and published by Seal Press.

Nota bene: Seal Press, Feministing, Amanda Marcotte )

2. "A Woman's Worth," Javacia N. Harris
3. "Queering Black Female Heterosexuality," Kimberly Springer
4. "What It Feels Like When It Finally Comes: Surviving Incest in Real Life," Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha ([livejournal.com profile] brownstargirl!)
5. "Invasion of Space by a Female," Coco Fusco
6. "Trial By Media: Black Female Lasciviousness and the Question of Consent", Samhita Mukhopadhyay
7. "The Not-Rape Epidemic," Latoya Peterson
8. "Killing Misogyny: A personal Story of Love, Violence, and Strategies for Survival", Cristina Meztli Tzintzun
9. "When Pregnancy is Outlawed, Only Outlaws Will be Pregnant," Tiloma Jayasignhe
10. "Who're You Calling a Whore? A Conversation with Three Sex Workers on Sexuality, Empowerment, and the Industry," Susan Lopez, Mariko Passion, Saundra


Comments/summaries on the individual essays )
sophinisba: Gwen looking sexy from Merlin season 2 promo pics (stokely hallway)
[personal profile] sophinisba
13. Living the Spirit: A Gay American Indian Anthology, compiled by Gay American Indians; Will Roscoe, coordinating editor, 1988

I was excited to come across this book because I've read very little by Native authors and I thought this would make a neat introduction and help me find some authors I'd like to read more of. It was a little bit disappointing to me in that respect because it had less fiction than I'd expected and the more generalizing non-fiction selections felt very dated to me. Still I really liked that it was almost all written by gay and lesbian American Indians, whereas other books I've seen about Two Spirit people are by white anthropologists. (My understanding is that Roscoe is white and did a lot of the editing on this but very little of the writing, and he worked with activists from the San Francisco-based group Gay American Indians.) It has a mix of non-fiction, fiction, poetry, and art by women and men from a lot of different tribes from different parts of the US and Canada. Read more... )

#1-#5(?)

Mar. 10th, 2009 01:01 pm
[identity profile] sairaali.livejournal.com
After months of lurking and reading reviews, I decided to actually start keeping track of my reads. My first four (possibly five?) reviews are here.

The list and just the list:

1. An African Prayer Book Desmond Tutu
2. Anatopsis Chris Abouzeid (although I'm not sure how the author identifies so I'm not sure whether to count it)
3. The Sinner Tess Gerritsen
4. Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits Laila Lailami
5. Radical Welcome Stephanie Spellers
littlebutfierce: (Default)
[personal profile] littlebutfierce
I used to be so diligent about posting here, alas! My reviews have gotten shorter, too. But seeing all the new folks joining & everyone posting their reads has inspired me to try to catch up! Here's what I've read since I finished the challenge last year (using IBARW as my deadline). Links go to my reading journal.

Locating Filipino Americans: Ethnicity & the Cultural Politics of Space - Rick Bonus

America Is in the Heart - Carlos Bulosan

Racing the Dark - Alaya Dawn Johnson

Making More Waves: New Writing by Asian American Women - Edited by Elaine H. Kim, Lilia V. Villanueva, and Asian Women United of California

Take Out: Queer Writing from Asian Pacific America - Edited by Quang Bao and Hanya Yanagihara

Race Manners for the 21st Century: Navigating the Minefield Between Black and White Americans in an Age of Fear - Bruce A. Jacobs

Yellow: Race in America Beyond Black and White - Frank H. Wu

Bum Rush the Page: A Def Poetry Jam - Edited by Tony Medina and Louis Reyes Rivera

Funny Boy - Shyam Selvadurai

Waiting to Be Heard: Youth Speak Out about Inheriting a Violent World - The Students of San Francisco's Thurgood Marshall Academic High School

The Taste of Sweet: Our Complicated Love Affair with Our Favorite Treats - Joanne Chen

The Code Book: The Secret History of Codes and Code-Breaking - Simon Singh

A Century of Migration (Bristol's Asian Communities) - Munawar Hussain

Chinatown Beat - Henry Chang

Stuffed & Starved: From Farm to Fork, the Hidden Battle for the World Food System - Raj Patel

Kin: New Fiction by Black and Asian Women - Edited by Karen McCarthy

Women, Race & Class - Angela Davis

From Outside In: Refugees and British Society - Edited by Nushin Arbabzadah
[identity profile] stephiepenguin.livejournal.com
I started to do the challenge in August 2008, and then failed to post reviews to this community. Following [livejournal.com profile] oyceter's example, I'm just going to briefly post about the books I've read in the first six months of this challenge (with links to bigger reviews if I posted them in my own journal), in the hopes that I will not be overwhelmed by my backlog and therefore post nothing for another six months.

I elected to do a modified 50 books poc challenge - for the twelve months IBARW 2008 to IBARW 2009 I am reading books by Malaysian authors, or ethnically Chinese authors, because although this is my personal experience I very rarely have read them. The plan is for me to have a new challenge every twelve months.

1. Miss Chopsticks - Xue Xinran (translated)
The problems with the rural to urban migration in China weaves through everything in this novel, an exploration of the prejudice against the floating population and the impact of the hukou and the way this impacts women in particular. I am a big fan of Xinran's books, she always reveals a very hidden part of China and especially focuses on women. more here

2. The Woman Warrior - Maxine Hong Kingston
I'd never read any of Kingston's work before, so this was an interesting, at times confusing, but still good introduction.

3. Lust, Caution - Eileen Chang (translated)
Collection of short stories, really awesome stories about women and adventure and China.

4. Empress Orchid - Anchee Min
So it turns out I am not really a big fan of Anchee Min's writing. I found Empress Orchid a novel filled with unsympathetic characters and I raced through just trying to get it over with.

5. Evening is the Whole Day - Preeta Samarasan
This is lyrical and beautiful and engaging, and you're so unsuspecting, one minute it's depressing family politics and the next minute BAM you're in the middle of the 1969 Malaysian race riots. A++ recommend. more here

6. Sweet Mandarin - Helen Tse
Autobiographical exploration of the Chinese diaspora, more of a family history than anything else. more here

7. The Canonisation of Deities (vol 1-3) - unknown (translated)
This is quite graphic, more the words than anything else. The version I read was in Chinese and English, and sometimes I had to pause in reading the English to check out the Chinese because it was so gruesome that I thought there had to be a mistranslation. My mum assures me the ones she read were just as graphic when she was a child. Educational but gruesome.

8. The Gift of Rain - Tan Twan Eng
The horror of reading about WWII and the Japanese in Penang is made the worse by being from Penang. The beautiful, evocative descriptions are compelling on their own, you can close your eyes and see them but when I closed my eyes I could see them, and knowing what happened to my beloved island meant I took a very long time to read this.

9. Growing Up Asian in Australia - Alice Pung (ed)
Identity and nationalism and culture and this was fantastic, a collection of short stories, and some of the stories were just like mine! Which was exciting. This is not all Chinese so sort of doesn't fit, it features other stories as well. A++ more here

10. Tale of Two Cities - Qiu Xiaolong
A book in the Inspector Chen murder mystery series. This one was the same as always, some murdered woman and the man who did her in, and Inspector Chen caught up in the politicking of early 1990s Shanghai.

11. Mao's Last Dancer - Li Cunxin
Autobiography of a student running away to the USA.

12. Zhu, Wen - I Love Dollars and other stories of China (translated)
This very cynical look at humanity in general, and Chinese society, was very bleak and pessimistic. At times there were strains of something worthy in humanity, and was a very effective way to discuss the identity issues in China in the late 1980s-early 1990s. more here

13. Guo, Xiaolu - A Concise Chinese-English Dictionary for Lovers
The story of a young Chinese woman who has travelled to the UK to learn English, and the ways in which she grows, and what it reveals about us as individuals and collective (and the ways in which we refuse to change). more here

14. Lee, Jennifer 8. - The Fortune Cookie Chronicles
An exploration of the paths of Chinese food, the way it has adapted and the way it has had to adapted. Also a great exploration of social justice, race issues, business, identity and the immigrant experience. more here

15. Dai, Sijie - Mr Muo's Traveling Couch (translated)
Mr Muo is China's first psychoanalyst, and this is his road tripping adventure filled with misfortunes and an unsure ending. It was an uncomfortable read, mostly because it was so confronting about fetishes and and really terrible attitudes to women.
[identity profile] staubundsterne.livejournal.com
Hi. This is the first part of my 2008' roundup (I'm so lazy when it comes to writeups, I hope to do better this year), links go back to my journal.

Dorothy Roberts (1997): Killing the Black Body. Race, Reproduction and the Meaning of Liberty. Random House/NY et al.

Dorothy Roberts looks at the history of Black women's bodies, the systemic abuse, starting at the beginning of colonial/modern slavery, over sterilisation abuses in the eugenics boom that had tens of thousands women of color coerced into sterilisation to newer and more streamlined methods of reproductive control like Norplant and Depo-Provera. While examining the effects of governmental policies and control images – Black Welfare Queens and Crack Babies - reproduced by society on Black women's reproductive rights, Roberts never shifts her focal point from her core question: How have these factors shaped Black women's reproductive freedom? (more)


Andrea Smith (2005): Conquest. Sexual Violence and American Indian Genocide. South End Press/Cambridge.

I read this one back-to-back with Killing the Black Body and, wow. Compellingly argued, Andrea Smith analyses how sexual violence is not as much a side-effect but a prequesition of colonialism, how the construction of white women's sexuality as clean and pristine needed a „rapable“ „counterpart“ in the flesh, how systemic abuse and „population control“ intersect and result in medical experimentation and objectification of native women's bodies. The scale and scope of the analysis shines, the critique of the response to gender based violence against women of color makes more than sense and Andrea Smith poses uncomfortable but logical questions: If our current governmental system and the institutions that should guarantee that nobody's voice is erased just don't work what good do they do?*(more)


Cherríe Moraga/Gloria Anzaldúa, Ed. (1981/1983): This Bridge Called My Back. Writings by Radical Women of Color. Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press/New York.

There are a lot of reviews of Bridge in this community and I'm only adding my voice to the chorus. For me, this is writing in the best and most powerful sense, full of passion, emotion, intelligence and empathy. I don't know what to tell you about Bridge except that you should go read it. Now. (more)
[identity profile] emma-in-oz.livejournal.com
This is a collection of stories in Walmajarri and English.

The strongest part of it is definitely the illustrations, which are a striking white on black. I think they must be a set of etchings.

The stories were told in Walmajarri by a series of people, and translated into English by Yangkana Laurel. The series of short stories suffers from a sense of incoherence, I think. Some of the stories are dream time stories, and others are personal stories of the most horrifying sort, describing where massacres occurred and how relatives were slaughtered. Perhaps there is some unifying theme (maybe geographical?) which I do not perceive.

Wulungarra Stories, words and pictures by Yangkana Laurel, Papayi Laurel, Lucy Bell, Elsie Laurel and Stephen Laurel, English version by Yangkana Laurel, 1997
[identity profile] emma-in-oz.livejournal.com
This anthology contains articles, reflective pieces and book reviews written between 1966 and 1982. Reading it is like listening to a radio station that keeps fading in and out. I can hear Walker responding to others, but the other voices have faded out of reception.

Many of the pieces are responses to articles originally published elsewhere - Without the background it's quite hard to grasp the argument. She is passionately conducting a conversation, but all i hear is one part.

The ones that make the most sense are the book reviews. They were intended as introductions to work that the reader is not familiar with, so they stand alone.

I think this collection would be more valuable to readers intimately familiar with the personalities of the women's liberation movement and the civil rights movement in the US in the 1970s.

Alice Walker, In Search of Our Mothers' Gardens: Womanist Prose, 1984

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