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[personal profile] yatima
Content warnings for intimate partner violence and child murder.

I struggled with this one a lot. There is no denying that Things Fall Apart is a masterpiece, beautifully and hauntingly written, harnessing all the power of the English language to condemn British colonialism with the stark authority of first-hand experience. It's an immense achievement of reclamation that paves the way for the work of the Nigerian and Nigerian-American writers that I unreservedly love: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichi and Nnedi Okorafor.

Things Fall Apart is also profoundly of its time. The central character Okonkwo, who is brought so vividly to life, is a violently abusive husband and the murderer of his foster son. His sheer awfulness does not detract from the majesty of the story, which evokes both the tribal society of the Igbo and its wrenching fracture. It does, though, make it difficult to spend a lot of time with Okonkwo. This is an important book as the near-contemporaneous The Naked and the Dead and The Old Man and the Sea are important: just be prepared to grit your teeth through way too much period-appropriate misogyny.
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[personal profile] yatima
(Hi! I'm new here. Let's jump in.)

Kel Cheris is a gifted mathematician underemployed as an infantry officer. Shuos Jedao is the technological ghost of a genocidal general. Together, they fight crime, where "crime" is defined as heresy against the calendar. In Yoon Ha Lee's brilliant device, a calendar is a social contract from which physics - and hence, weaponry - flow. Calendrical heresy disables these weapons and thus undermines the power of the state.

If you love bold, original world-building, reflections on colonialism, and complicated relationships between clever protagonists who have every reason to distrust one another, you'll eat up the Machineries of Empire series as avidly as I did. If military SF and n-dimensional chess sound like a bit of a slog, see if you can stick with it anyway. The language and imagery are utterly gorgeous, and these very timely stories have a great deal to say about complicity, responsibility, and the mechanisms of societal control.
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... )
[identity profile] lyras.livejournal.com
I was lucky to see Kei Miller reading from this at a recent writers' festival (during which he charmed me, and I suspect much of the audience, into buying the book). This gave me an idea of how the (two very distinct) narrative voices should sound, which I think was helpful in reading the book.

On to the review, which contains vague spoilers )

Worth reading for anyone who can stand a little unreliable narration.

Miller has a website and blog here.
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
2. Sarita Mandanna, Tiger Hills

Devi is a beautiful, strong-willed young girl, growing up in Coorg, a rural, mountainous area of South India, in the late 1800s. She's in love with Machu, a warrior famous for having killed a tiger single-handedly. Devanna, Machu's younger cousin, is a quiet, intelligent boy, studying to be a doctor, who's in love with Devi. As you might expect, things don't turn out well.

This novel has some beautiful descriptions of scenery (apparently Coorg- spelled Kodagu today- is known as 'the Scotland of India'), but the plot is a bit over-the-top, with tragedy following tragedy. I enjoyed reading to pass the time on a long bus trip, but I'm not sure I can genuinely recommend it, unless you're looking for something to read that won't require a lot of thought.
[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
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
48. B. B. Lal, The Sarasvati Flows On: The Continuity of Indian Culture

A short, easy-to-read (except for one chapter which seems to come from another book entirely) pop non-fiction summary of the Indus or Harappan Civilization, a Bronze Age culture located in the modern countries of India and Pakistan, which had its own writing system, cities, and art, and traded with cultures as far away as Mesopotamia. This is a very nice introduction to the topic, which covers most of the main points and has lots of nice photographs. It's shorter and probably a better book for the non-academic audience than most other summaries of the Indus I know of; on the other hand, Lal is seriously influenced by his personal politics in choosing what and how to discuss. But for someone who is new to the topic, this would be a great book.

49. Lisa Trivedi, Clothing Gandhi's Nation: Homespun and Modern India

A really fascinating investigation of one aspect of the Indian Independence movement. Gandhi was highly in favor of khadi- homemade thread and cloth- and thought that everyone who wanted to see India out from under British rule should not only use and wear khadi exclusively, but should spend half an hour a day making it. He thought that this would restore dignity to the working class, as well as provide a way for India's economy to escape the influence of the British factory system. Needless to say, not everyone actually wanted to spend that much time spinning thread, and the debates around the topic resemble the modern arguments over buying local/fair-trade/organic/etc. Trivedi provides a great account of these debates, the way they changed over time, and how khadi continues to function in the Indian political sphere; she even includes political cartoons about it! This is a non-fiction academic book, but very accessible; highly recommended.

50. Kajri Jain, Gods in the Bazaar: The Economies of Indian Calendar Art

Calendar art (aka bazaar art aka chromolithographs aka poster art) is a particular style of vividly colored, mass-produced art popular in India, particularly in calendars and advertisements, usually depicting religious images. Jain's book takes this often-ignored art seriously, investigating multiple realms of the topic: who produces calendar art? who buys it? how has it changed over time? what do artists say about it? how does it circulate? Despite the subtitle, she really doesn't address the economy of it, but instead focuses on meanings and interpretations. This book is another non-fiction academic title, and one a bit harder to get into than Clothing Gandhi's Nation. But it does have lots of pretty pictures!
[identity profile] wordsofastory.livejournal.com
40. Reza Aslan, How to Win a Cosmic War: God, Globalization, and the End of the War on Terror

A non-fiction pop book dealing with a wide range of subjects, from the history of the state of Israel, to the difference between Islamist groups like Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Jihadist groups like al-Qa'ida (as well as the inaccuracy of referring to al-Qa'ida as any kind of unified group), to historical examples of other 'cosmic wars' such as the Crusades or the Zealot rebellions of the Roman Empire, to the history of Fundamentalist Christianity in the United States, to others. He doesn't always tie these many, many topics together as tightly as one might wish, but if you look at the book as a smorgasbord of various information about the "war on terror", it's a pretty awesome book.

One of my favorite things about Aslan is that he's a much more lyrical, thoughtful writer than I tend to expect from pop non-fiction. Let me quote a paragraph at you: "When I close my eyes, I see white. Strange how synesthetic memory can be. I am certain the insular town of Enid, Oklahoma, where my family alighted three decades ago, was chockablock with buildings, homes, churches, parks. And surely other seasons came and went in the stretch of time we lived there, months when the city's empty streets were not blanketed in snow and the sky did not rumble with dark and silvery clouds. But I remember none of that. Only the clean, all-encompassing whiteness of Enid, Oklahoma, snow as it heaped on the sidewalks, perched on the trees, and settled evenly over the glassy lake." See? How can you not be willing to spend a couple of hundred pages with the man, even if he wasn't telling you fascinating, important things.

Overall, I think I prefer Aslan's other book, No God But God, to this one, but for a broad summary of many things relating to modern Middle Eastern politics and the American response, this book is great.
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[personal profile] sanguinity
15. Jin Haritaworn, with Tamsila Tauqir and Esra Erdem, "Gay Imperialism: Gender and Sexuality Discourse in the ‘War on Terror’". (link is now dead; see ETA below)

Racism is the vehicle that transports white gays and feminists into the political mainstream.
Haritaworn et al discusses the interaction between gay rights and the "war on terror" -- namely, how some white gay activists have struck a mutually-beneficial bargain with neoimperialists, such that "concern" for Muslim queers is used to gay-wash Islamophobic agendas, in return for sexual rights being elevated to the status of a core social value, on par with "freedom" and "democracy." As a result, the social position of white gays is improved, while the position of queer Muslims is worsened. Haritaworn focuses the discussion on Germany and the United Kingdom, and draws parallels with similar neoimperialist bargains struck by white feminists.

There are a lot of rhetorical maneuvers here that are familiar to me. For instance, despite Muslim queers of color being the alleged central figures of the narrative, their voices are written out of the narrative (white gays speak "for" them) unless they are willing to testify in ways that are useful to the imperialist frame:
...the journalists wanted me to respond to the ‘difficulties’ of being gay and Muslim, as well as to the homophobia of Muslim communities in Britain and abroad. I often suggested shifting the focus to the considerable work being done within liberal and progressive Islam. Journalists reacted with silence when I asked them to report on progressive Imams who have conducted Nikahs (Muslim marriage contracts) for same-sex couples, or on parents who had supported their gay children.
Other rhetorical attacks white gay activists include framing people of color as straight oppressors of white gays and as possessors of unique privileges ("imagine someone getting away with saying that about a black person"). Meanwhile, within Muslim communities, since gay-rights rhetoric so often acts as a carrier/justifier for Islamophobia, gay rights becomes equated with anti-Muslim racism, thus worsening the position of Muslim queers.

Some maneuvers detailed by Haritaworn et al are new to me. Most audacious, in my mind, is equating Muslim anti-gay rhetoric with the neo-Nazi anti-gay rhetoric of the British National Party, a move that paints Muslims and neo-Nazis as allies (!?), and thus elevating gays to the ever-coveted "most oppressed" status.

The article is fairly heavy in academic language (I found it rough going in places), but it was well worth my time. Unfortunately, you'll notice that the link above goes to a Google cache of the original article [see ETA below]: one of the white gay activists discussed in the paper appears to have successfully pressured the publisher into declaring the original anthology out of print.

(hat tip)

ETA: The Google Cache no longer works.
[identity profile] whereweather.livejournal.com
#25. This Bridge Called My Back, ed. Cherríe Moraga & Gloria Anzaldúa
1981/'83, Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press

This is another book that is so full of... ideas and thinking and newness, and that has so many visions and so much emotion in it, and that contains both so much I can identify with and so much that seems deeply foreign -- I don't mean only the experiences and attitudes of the women who wrote it, but also, which is harder for me to assimilate, the lens through which they view the world: the moment of history, cultural and political, in which thy formulated these ideas and these manifestoes -- that I feel overwhelmed when I try to think about posting a review of it.

But I also feel kind of like a coward for backing out of reviewing it. What to do? I think I will let it simmer for a while. I may also read the much more recent companion book to it (this bridge we call home, used, I see, as an icon for this group ;), and see if that helps me understand, and bridge the thirty years of historical difference between these women and me.

[tags I would add if I could: assimilation, sociology, spirituality [or: religion/spirituality], puerto rican, a: morales rosario, a: rushin donna kate, a: wong nellie, a: lee mary hope, a: littlebear naomi, a: lim genny, a: yamada mitsuye, a: valerio anita, a: cameron barbara, a: levins morales anita, a: carillo jo, a: daniels gabrielle, a: moschkovich judit, a: davenport doris, a: gossett hattie, a: smith barbara, a: smith beverly, a: clarke cheryl, a: noda barbara, a: woo merle, a: quintanales mirtha, a: anzaldua gloria, a: alarcon norma, a: combahee river collective, a: canaan andrea, a: parker pat] 

(Also, apropos of nothing: Whoo! Halfway through! This book feels like an appropriate one for that milestone.)

[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.
[identity profile] whereweather.livejournal.com
A Small Place, Jamaica Kincaid
1988.  Farrar, Straus and Giroux

I am a fan of Jamaica Kincaid.  In the last year or so I have read her books At the Bottom of the River, Annie John, and Lucy, and got a lot out of each of them.  I was looking forward to reading A Small Place because I was looking forward to learning more about Antigua, the Caribbean island she comes from.  (Both Annie John and At the Bottom of the River are set on Antigua, but since they are pretty much in the mind of a first-person narrator, who is usually a child, there is not the kind of distance that you'd need to be _told about_ Antigua -- the kind of political, historical, or sociological things about it that might be interesting to a grown-up North American reader.)

I am disappointed in A Small Place, partly because... I'm not sure what the book wants to be.  I've seen it described as a "travelogue," and also as a "jeremiad."  The first section, or chapter (like many of Kincaid's books, it is very short: 80 pages of large, clear print), starts off in second-person: it is telling "you," the traveller, what to expect when you arrive in Antigua.  The next two sections are in first person, with many recollections of Kincaid's early life in Antigua, which move out and away to analysis of what the problems of the island are (the second section considers mostly colonialism and slavery, the third the island's desperate political corruption.)  There is also a very short fourth section, which feels sort of tacked on for closure. 

I guess I feel as if the book is not very tight or well-held together, in spite of its size -- and a small book needs that even more, doesn't it?  Although her fiction is also full of digressions, I feel as if they work and shape to a larger whole.  A Small Place is strangely imbalanced, though: analysis, personal recollection, anger carrying the writer away.. Part of the issue, maybe, is that she seems to sort of be writing around or even trying to get at certain ideas and concepts which have, I think, been formulated more concisely and forcefully by various other post-colonialist theorists and writers.   But Kincaid does not want to seem to avail herself of any of that language or intellectual discourse, and so it feels as if she is lurching at things and coming up short.  (It feels odd and audacious to level this criticism at Jamaica Kincaid, whose intellect is profound and formidable and whose writing sometimes borders on genius.  But nonetheless, that is how the book made me feel.)

Despite that, there were entire passages I want to copy out to think about and remember. )
[identity profile] violent-rabbit.livejournal.com
My 1st book:

The Icarus Girl by Helen Oyeyemi

Synopsis: (taken straight from Bloomsbury web site) )

I found it to be a wonderfully magical book. It is, at its core, a meditation on growing up biracial. It reminded me of Pan's labyrinth and Alice in wonderland as much of the fantasy elements had a sinister element to them. The fantastical elements were also used as vehicles for observations on post colonialism and have a wonderful ambiguity as to their concrete nature. (it is late I'm probably not making sense sry)

It seems to be out of print so I offer my copy to anyone who is interested because it is a excellent read and I highly recommend it.
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[personal profile] sage
"Real" Indians and Others : Mixed-blood Urban Native Peoples and Indigenous Nationhood by Bonita Lawrence

This book is a study of 29 individuals in the Toronto Native community identifying as mixed race. )

eta: Just for the record, the author is part Mi'kmaq and undertook the study as part of her own attempts to understand and validate the range of urban mixed-race Aboriginal experience.
[identity profile] mizchalmers.livejournal.com
8. Felicia Pearson, Grace After Midnight

In my last set of reviews, I wrote:

I want to know how the wives felt; I want their motives... I am asking the wrong question. I have missed the point. Not everyone's insides work the way mine do.

The gods of reading sent me Felicia Pearson's memoir to address this exact point. Before I read it, I wasn't sure whether I'd include it here, and I am still antsy, because it's a ghostwritten celebrity memoir. (From the back flap copy: "David Ritz's most recent bestsellers are Tavis Riley's What I Know for Sure and Don Rickles's Rickles' Book. He has also collaborated with Etta James, Aretha Franklin, Marvin Gaye, Ray Charles, Laila Ali, and B.B. King on their life stories..." Not only is he white, he's a Phi Beta Kappa from UT Austin. Hmm.)

Still, Pearson's such a remarkable person - jailed for murder in her teens, only to become one of the most spellbinding actors on The Wire - that I just wanted to know more. There's definitely a voice in the book. Who knows, maybe it's Ritz, but it sounds a lot like Pearson in her interviews. And it gave me a clue to reading those Aboriginal myths.

"His being away might have gotten me mad. Can't say for sure.
Lots of things got me mad.
Back then, though, I wasn't thinking about how I was feeling.
I was just doing."

"Who did I think I was?
Why was I doing what I was doing?
I look back and wonder why.
I look back and ask myself questions that are hard, maybe even impossible to answer.
But at the time questions weren't part of my life. Questions weren't part of my thinking.
I didn't ask.
I just did."

"God knows what'll happen to me.
Does God even care?
Do I even care?
It'll be what it'll be."

In each of these passages, Pearson indulges the introspection that is afforded by the leisure of her post-Wire life; no longer selling drugs, no longer living moment to moment. What I realized, reading this, was that the myths I read and wonder about may have been told and retold by people without the privilege of introspection. I don't have a lot of experience of survival mode. I've experienced it only in passing. But I know, at least theoretically, that it drives away every thought except what is necessary to survive.

I'm sorry if I'm labouring a point that is really obvious to everyone else, but this was such a kick in the pants to me. Psychological complexity of the kind I look for in books is an artefact of the bourgeois novel tradition as an outgrowth of an emerging leisure class almost by definition. When I read a passage that is opaque to me, in which people behave in what seem to me weirdly passive ways, it would probably be smart of me to remember that the status of (for example) women in patriarchal hunter-gatherer societies can be anywhere between marginal and dire, and that I am almost certainly failing to give them the enormous credit they deserve for the resourcefulness it takes just to get by. They're not opaque people. They're people who don't have the luxury of reflection.

Sigh. I am sorry I did not already know this. What can I say, I'm a slow learner. Nevertheless, a resolution: in future I will read myths while bearing in mind that the people described therein are struggling for their lives. And I expect they will make a lot more sense to me.

9. Craig Laurance Gidney, Sea, Swallow Me

I enjoyed pretending that this was the book Junot Diaz's Oscar Wao would have written if he had been gay. The first story, "The Safety of Thorns", was my favourite; I'd had a similar idea but no clue how to tackle it - the old African gods made manifest in America during the slave era. Gidney pulls it off with beauty and melancholy and a defiant ending that pulls hope from a bad, bad place. Many of the other tales retell one of my favourite stories, a story that never grows old: a stranger comes to town, and finds out that he or she is not the only [gay|lesbian|other|just plain weird] person in the world after all. If Desire isn't exactly my friend, one of these concludes, at least he isn't my enemy.

10. Varian Johnson, My Life As A Rhombus

This, interestingly, is a meditation on similar themes, especially the war between reason and desire. It's told, by a male writer, from the point-of-view of a teenage girl who is tutoring in math, and if Rhonda didn't quite ring true for me as a teenage girl, as a math whiz she jumped off the page. Some of the little math exercises set off in boxes beside the story were genuinely witty.

In any case, getting a teen girl's voice right is, I think, fiercely hard, and I may be an unusually picky critic of this. I was a total mess from 13 to 19 (and beyond!) with no insight whatever into my own needs or wants, although I certainly thought I was an expert on both. The protagonists of most YA today seem to me preternaturally ...organized. Rhonda, despite her pregnancy and her difficulty in coming to terms with its outcome, is a good example: straight As, attractive to boys and able to describe her internal state and achieve closure in simple declarative sentences. I'm sure there are teens like that, but I wasn't one, and I didn't know any.

Nevertheless, her story is engaging and affecting, and Johnson achieves one of his stated aims brilliantly. Race is present throughout the whole book without ever once being its focus. Here as in Angela Johnson's The First Part Last, it's an inexpressible relief to read about African-American highschoolers thinking about things other than being African American highschoolers.

11. Gananath Obeyesekere, The Apotheosis of Captain Cook

Maybe this is an exclusively Australian thing (or just a me thing) but did you ever have the fantasy that someone from, say, Sri Lanka would wander into anthropology from the English literature department, take a good hard look at some of the self-serving garbage being served up as delicious food by white apologists for empire even today, and write a long, erudite, witty deconstruction of the genre that is at once generous and devastating? Taking academia to task in its own language, with a knowing wink and the utmost skill? If you share that daydream or think you might like to, if you've ever been a subject of or had glancing contact with or even heard of the British Empire, I beg of you, read this book. It's the Orientalism of the Pacific.

12. Samuel Delany, Tales of Nevèryön

Great God almighty, he's the love child of Henry James and Ursula Le Guin. WHY WASN'T I TOLD???
ext_20269: (tarot - the lovers)
[identity profile] annwfyn.livejournal.com
Two radically different books for me to review today.

First of all, the one I started first, and finished last.

'Dead Aid' by Dambisa Moyo

I picked this book up randomly in Waterstones. Dambisa Moyo is from Zambia, but left in her teens to pursue her education. She's studied economics at Harvard and Oxford, and worked for the World Bank. She also believes that international aid is currently destroying Africa and needs to stop.

First of all, I have to say that I feel like I am far far to uninformed on this subject to be able to critique this book properly, or really at all. I don't know enough about Africa, or enough about the aid industry there, although a lot of what she said was both painful (as a well meaning western liberal) but seemed to ring very true.

Read more... )

And now the other, slightly less brain-worky read of the week.

'Visions of Heat' by Nalini Singh

'Visions of Heat' is a sequal to 'Slave to Sensation' which was one of the book recs I picked up here. It follows a few months on from where 'Slave to Sensation' left off, and although it does feature the same characters Sascha and Lucas are no longer the focus. Instead it's the story of a new couple - Faith DarkStar and Vaughn, the were-jaguar.

Review follows. But beware! Spoilers lurk within )
[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)


Jun. 29th, 2008 05:02 pm
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[personal profile] littlebutfierce
Coming Full Circle: The Process of Decolonization among Post-1965 Filipino Americans - Leny Mendoza Strobel. Read more... )

Whispers from the Cotton Tree Root: Caribbean Fabulist Fiction - Edited by Nalo Hopkinson. Read more... )

Of Love and Other Monsters - Vandana Singh. Read more... )

Filipino Women in Detroit: 1945-1955: Oral Histories from the Filipino American Oral History Project of Michigan - Joseph A. Galura & Emily P. Lawsin. Read more... )

Filter House - Nisi Shawl. Read more... )

Making Waves: An Anthology of Writings By and About Asian American Women - Edited by Asian Women United of California. Read more... )

Days of Disquiet, Nights of Rage: The First Quarter Storm and Related Events - Jose F. Lacaba. Read more... )

Topography of War: Asian American Essays - Edited by Andrea Louie & Johnny Lew. Read more... )

x-posted to my reading journal, [livejournal.com profile] furyofvissarion


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