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review 2018-09-11 11:16
Gorgeous and Flavourful
Akata Witch - Nnedi Okorafor

This one was fast fun and a different flavour on the usual tropes of it's genre. Big on representation, and an interesting peak into a rich and varied culture and myth set that I confess I know nothing about.

 

The kids feel a bit older than they are (might be a cultural thing), and this thing of putting the end of the world responsibilities onto the children's shoulders is one that constantly sticks in my craw now that I'm older, but I happen to know it was the bomb when I was a kid (Harry Potter, I'm looking at you) so the one star demoted might be an "unintended audience" thing.

 

Wondering what else I can get my hands on from the area, which this book's popularity might make easier, so kudos too for broadening horizons and opening markets.

 

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review 2018-09-09 20:21
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush
The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush - Tomie dePaola

The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush is an inspiring text about the main character Little Gopher pursuing his destiny. Although he is smaller than all the other boys and can never keep up, he perseveres and uses his artistic gift to paint pictures that his people would remember forever. This would be a great book to integrate when teaching a unit on Native Americans or when discussing culture. An extension activity could be to create an anchor chart with key characteristics of legends so students have a better understanding of them. It would also be fun to create a list of descriptive words and give students Indian names. 

 

Guided Reading level: O

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text 2018-07-28 00:29
I'm Alive

[I haven't been on here because I've not been reading... >/<]

 

Anyways...just wanted to say hi and share something, sorry I've got nothing book related. [TW: Implied eating disorder mentioned]

 

---

I broke up with a toxic relationship. This has put me on the path of a new journey, a magical adventure!
.

I stopped talking about my health journey (as in my "weight loss" journey) because it got me to an obsessive point with working out, tracking every little detail and trying and failing to change my diet many, many times.
.

It made my relationship with food worse. I would punish myself when I ate something "bad" by going on a fast, which meant not eating for a day or so. Sometimes I told myself, "okay, I will try to do a 3 day fast, or even a week fast." I seriously wanted to, but I never made it and ended up binge eating something "bad" again and starting the cycle of punishing myself all over again. The fast was seen as a good thing, a cleanse, so to speak.
.

Not only that but beating myself up constantly while on my so-called journey. I would push myself to go beyond what I know my body could do on certain days because I didn't want to let others down by failing. I think that may be one reason why my chronic pain, depression, and anxiety are at an all-time high. I put too much pressure on my mind, body, and soul.
.

Goodbye Diet Culture. We're never, ever getting back together. I'm striving to love myself and my body in all its stages. I am working toward not caring one lick what others think of me and my body. I'm working toward being positive, finding peace and tranquillity.
.

Here are things I want to be routine & practice daily: Meditation, positive affirmations (even if that means talking to myself more), stretching, working up to yoga, remembering gratitude...etc.
.

As for food, no food is bad, but I honestly know that because of my digestive problems and autoimmune, there are foods I should avoid. However, I won't beat myself up if I eat them. I'm trying to learn to eat intuitively and my body is not liking wheat, too much dairy, and meat. Not only do these things make me really sick/in pain or jump-start IBS, they just make me feel sluggish, heavy and generally unwell.
.

I usually write dark poetry(which has its purpose), but I will leave you with something positive I wrote yesterday:
.

Hear Me,
Power of Healing
Let me be free of anxiety

 

Hear Me,
Power of Healing
Let me be cleansed of dark energy

 

Hear Me,
Power of Healing
Cleanse my mind and my space

 

Cleanse, heal, peace
Cleanse, heal, peace
Cleanse, heal, peace

---

 

If you read this, you are beautiful, you are worthy, the world needs you and I love you.

 

Blessed Be!

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review 2018-07-25 08:28
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture
Not That Bad: Dispatches from Rape Culture - Roxane Azimi

This collection of essays addressing rape culture is deeply personal, insightful, and at times scathing and raw. There were several pieces in here that have stuck with me, and I know will continue to do so for years to come. I could relate to almost every essay - the specifics were different, but the feelings were so often very much the same. The title, Not That Bad, echoes through these experiences as a connective thread. Almost every survivor included feeling as though their personal experience wasn't worthy of the depth of their feelings because "it could always be worse."

 

On a personal note, as a survivor I found this collection simultaneously deeply affirming and extremely draining. Reading it made me exhausted and pensive, but ultimately I found the processing this book induced very illuminating and healing. If rape stories trigger you then stay away from this book, but if you're healing and think it might be helpful to hear other voices this is an excellent collection. If your life has been affected by sexual violence, or you know someone who has been affected (sadly, that's most of us), this book shines a light on the darkness. Regardless of your own experiences we all live in a society that progresses rape culture, and this book captures that essence and how it plays out for so many people - that alone makes these essays important and relevant to all of us.

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review 2018-07-17 02:17
Chortling Towards Bethlehem? or We Are Amusing Ourselves to Death
Planet Funny: How Comedy Took Over Our Culture - Ken Jennings

This is going to be much shorter -- and much more vague --than it should have been, because I was in a rush to get out the door on the day I took this back to the library and therefore forgot to take my notes out of the book. Which is a crying shame because I can't cite some of my favorite lines (on the other hand, I don't have to pick from my favorites). I'm actually pretty annoyed with myself because of this -- I spent time on those notes.

 

I'm going to try to save a little time here and just copy the Publisher's synopsis:

 

From the brilliantly witty and exuberant New York Times bestselling author Ken Jennings, a history of humor—from fart jokes on clay Sumerian tablets all the way up to the latest Twitter gags and Facebook memes—that tells the story of how comedy came to rule the modern world.

 

For millennia of human history, the future belonged to the strong. To the parent who could kill the most animals with sticks and to the child who could survive the winter or the epidemic. When the Industrial Revolution came, masters of business efficiency prospered instead, and after that we placed our hope in scientific visionaries. Today, in a clear sign of evolution totally sliding off the rails, our most coveted trait is not strength or productivity or even innovation, but being funny. Yes, funniness.

 

Consider: presidential candidates now have to prepare funny "zingers" for debates. Newspaper headlines and church marquees, once fairly staid affairs, must now be “clever,” stuffed with puns and winks. Airline safety tutorials—those terrifying laminated cards about the possibilities of fire, explosion, depressurization, and drowning—have been replaced by joke-filled videos with multimillion-dollar budgets and dance routines.

In Planet Funny, Ken Jennings explores this brave new comedic world and what it means—or doesn’t—to be funny in it now. Tracing the evolution of humor from the caveman days to the bawdy middle-class antics of Chaucer to Monty Python’s game-changing silliness to the fast-paced meta-humor of The Simpsons, Jennings explains how we built our humor-saturated modern age, where lots of us get our news from comedy shows and a comic figure can even be elected President of the United States purely on showmanship. Entertaining, astounding, and completely head-scratching, Planet Funny is a full taxonomy of what spawned and defines the modern sense of humor.


In short, Jennings is writing about the way that humor -- the entertainment culture in general, really, but largely through humor -- has taken over the cultural discourse in this country, so much so that you can't make a serious point about anything anymore without injecting a smile or a laugh. This could be subtitled, Neil Postman was right. Jennings looks at this phenomenon through a historical lens (mostly over the last century) and a contemporary lens -- analyzing and commenting on both.

 

The initial chapters on defining humor, the history of humor and academic humor studies are probably the best part of the book -- not just because of their scope and subject matter, but because how Jennings is able to be amusing and insightful while informing. (although the amusing part is problematic given the thesis of the book). I enjoyed learning about the use of humor in the 20th Century -- who doesn't associate the two? I don't remember a time when the best advertisements/commercials weren't the funniest (other than things like the crying Native American anti-litter AdCouncil stuff). But there was actually a time when that was looked down on? Who knew?

 

I also particularly liked the history of Mystery Science Theater 3000 and then pivoting that into a look on the way even entertainment changed in the last few decades because of the funny-ification of all things. Jennings gives a pretty decent defense of Alanis' "Ironic" (while enjoying a few shots at it, too) -- and the ensuing discussion of Irony the cultural waves embracing and shying away from Irony, Enjoying things Ironically, and a need for sincerity was excellent.

 

Politics, obviously, has fallen prey to this comedy-take over as well. From Nixon shocking everyone by showing up on Laugh-In to Clinton (pre-presidential candidate) on The Tonight Show to then-candidate on The Arsenio Hall show to every political player doing Late Night shows. Obama appearing on Maron's podcast and Between Two Ferns (crediting that appearance with saving ObamaCare?) and onto the entire Trump campaign. At this point, the book got derailed -- I think -- by getting too political. If Jennings had kept it to Trump's embracing/exploiting the comedy takeover, I probably would have enjoyed it -- but he spent too much on Trump's politics (while having ignored Nixon's, Clinton's, Obama's), enough to turn off even Never-Trump types.

I'm pretty sure that the book was almost complete about the time that Louis CK's career was felled by allegations of sexual misconduct -- which is a shame, because Jennings had to go back and water-down a lot of insightful comments from Louis CK by saying something about the allegations while quoting the comedian. At the same time, it's good that the book wasn't completed and/or released without the chance to distance the man from the points used -- otherwise I think Jennings would've had to spend too much time defending the use of those quotations.

 

I think Jennings lost his way in the last chapter and a half or so -- and I lost a lot of my appreciation for the book as a whole at that point. On the whole, it's insightful writing, peppered with a good amount of analysis, research, interviews, and laughs -- outside of his weekly trivia newsletters, I haven't read Jennings and he really impressed me here. In short, it's a fun book, a thought-provoking book, and one that should get more attention and discussion than it is. I may quibble a bit with some of the details, but I think on the whole Jennings is on to something here -- and I fear that it's something that not enough people are going to take seriously until it's too late.

 

2018 Library Love Challenge

Source: irresponsiblereader.com/2018/07/16/planet-funny-by-ken-jennings-chortling-towards-bethlehem-or-we-are-amusing-ourselves-to-death
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