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[personal profile] emma_in_dream
This collection of journalistic essays about life as second generation Lebanese Australians is really interesting. It would be great for a school library as the collection is accessibly written and eclectically covers a variety of topics.


My only quibble is that some of the essays are about the experiences of the authors while others are the result of interviews but the essays are not marked to show this distinction. It would be helpful if there was a header on each essay giving a very general overview of who was interviewed.

Books 4-6

Sep. 29th, 2010 01:19 pm
[identity profile] tala-tale.livejournal.com
"Gifted" by Nikita Lalwani. Read more... )

"Girl Made of Dust" by Nathalie Abi-Ezzi. Read more... )

"Song for Night" by Chris Abani. Read more... )
[identity profile] hive-mind-d86.livejournal.com
The Prophet by Kahlil Gibran

Once in a while a book comes along that manages to be full of thought and soul and somehow stays easy on the eyes.

This book is like a chapter of Okri written in the style of the Bible.

Incredibly readable, accessible and absorbing, it will make your heart feel a little lighter. It flows like poetry. It reads like mythology. I sat down meaning to skim over the back and ended up finishing it in one sitting, migraine be damned.

This is simply beautiful.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
27. Doris Pilkington, Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence
This was a surprisingly easy read for something so heartbreaking. I could probably give it to my seven-year-old niece - there wasn't anything there too old for her to comprehend. The parts that are truly hard to comprehend are hard for me too at age 28: how did we (white Australians) do that. How are we still doing it? I liked that this was a realistic book about Indigenous Australians' agency, not about passive victims. But it excuses nothing.

28. Amin Maalouf, Balthasar's Odyssey
This book was traumatic in a totally silly way that I'm sure the author didn't intend: it's about a man who gets hold of a book that he really really wants to read... and then it's taken out of his hands before he can read it. As a bookworm, I find this distressing. And it gets worse from there as he goes from country to country looking for his lost book.

29. Tobias Buckell, Crystal Rain
30. Tobias Buckell, Ragamuffin
31. Tobias Buckell, Sly Mongoose
I'll take these three together, as they're a trilogy. I'm glad I read them in order - some people had said it doesn't matter which order you read them in, but I think it does. This is space opera/military SF, but it's also very definitely postcolonial literature. But you can enjoy it purely as space opera if that's what you prefer. I liked it both ways. I also enjoyed in Sly Mongoose, after two books about alien overlords and space pirates and airships, the sudden SURPRISE ZOMBIES. I would like to add a trigger warning for Sly Mongoose. Folks with eating disorders: there is a bulimic character, and this is described in detail.

Finally, a question: who else is trying to read 50 books by POC this year? Are you running out of time? Are you getting edgy about it? I started late, and I've got 19 books to go, and there are 17 weeks left of the year. That's cutting it a little fine for my taste.
vass: Jon Stewart reading a dictionary (books)
[personal profile] vass
Amin Maalouf, The First Century After Beatrice (translated Dorothy S Blair)
I'm really not sure what I think of this book. I think it's important but flawed. I'd very much like other people's opinions and analysis. It's short, for what that's worth. It was first published in 1992.

The First Century After Beatrice is SF; the McGuffin is a bean that, when ingested by a man, ensures that all his children will be sons. This bean is transmitted as a traditional folk-remedy all over the global south, and at first dismissed as just that, but it is soon discovered to be completely effective. The birth rate of girls drops. The population drops. The planet is in crisis.

The Beatrice of the title is the narrator's daughter, and this is one of the points where I'm uncomfortable with the book. We only see Beatrice (and her mother Clarence, a journalist) through the lens of a narrator who clearly loves an idealised version of her who existed long before her birth. It is not satisfactorily demonstrated (to me, at least) that Beatrice has an existence outside her father's idealised version of her. When Beatrice says "You know, when I meet the man of my life, I'd like him to be just like you," it's way too fantasy-fulfilling on behalf of the narrator. And it's plain horrible that the narrator admits himself that he couldn't love Clarence anymore if she didn't give him a daughter, specifically Beatrice. And it doesn't pass Bechdel.

Also, the narrator talks very fiercely about how the global north needs the global south, and how the people of the global south are not, in his words, "those migrant multitudes, very close at hand, too close to us; and, in the distance, those crazed hordes, determined to destroy a world which they no longer understood, and who, first and foremost, were punishing themselves," but he doesn't show that, he only tells. There is not one single character living in the global south, and in a book about the divide between the global north and the global south, that is notable. Even the villains were northern. I was particularly struck that he didn't depict any people in the global south resisting the crisis. They were all passive victims and aggressors. All the resistance was provided by global north intellectuals, all of them but Clarence men. And was it necessary to have Clarence in a coma so she could come home to live with her family? It felt too much like fridging for me.

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