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text 2018-09-17 23:57
Reading progress update: I've read 72 out of 224 pages.
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

I just think the world ought to be more sort of organised.”
“That’s just fantasy,” said Twoflower.
“I know. That’s the trouble.” Rincewind sighed again. It was all very well going on about pure logic and how the universe was ruled by logic and the harmony of numbers, but the plain fact of the matter was that the disc was manifestly traversing space on the back of a giant turtle and the gods had a habit of going round to atheists’ houses and smashing their windows.


The more the worlds change, huh *grin*


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text 2018-09-17 23:37
Reading progress update: I've read 68 out of 224 pages.
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

The Discworld offers sights far more impressive than those found in universes built by Creators with less imagination but more mechanical aptitude.


These world descriptions kill me.


The disc gods themselves, despite the splendour of the world below them, are seldom satisfied. It is embarrassing to know that one is a god of a world that only exists because every improbability curve must have its far end; especially when one can peer into other dimensions at worlds whose Creators had more mechanical aptitude than imagination No wonder, then, that the disc gods spend more time in bickering than in omnicognizance.


I can't stop laughing. Oh, and luggage wins the BAMF crown so far.


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text 2018-09-17 06:19
Reading progress update: I've read 4 out of 224 pages.
The Color of Magic - Terry Pratchett

This was known as the Big Bang hypothesis.


Lol! OK, I'm sold


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review 2018-04-24 03:21
Morgan Jerkins This Will Be My Undoing
This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America - Morgan Jerkins

I had a hard time with this book of essays, and I know this is an unpopular view.This is a worrying book about young black women and younger women in general. Where did all the work done by previous generations of black women go? Why is this young woman so scared, confused and unprepared for real life? Why is she so ready to feel victimized and unable to express much beyond anger? Where is her agency? Jerkins' unpreparedness is upsetting given the time in which she grew up. Where she chooses to put her anger seems...flailing, at best. If this is the state of young, highly eductaed and smart black women in 2018, there is much too much work to be done. I think that, actually, is her point, but her angle on blame - everyone but herself - feels unthinking often and irrational sometimes.

There are too many moments in this book when you can feel her anger spilling onto anyone instead of herself and her immediate family, who prepared her for adulthood by telling her dating older men would make her a heroin addict and give her AIDS. There is a combination of religious unwillingness to see the truth and very reasonable anger at current situations that constantly beat up against each other in this collection of essays (loosely arranged as a sort of memoir.)

I wanted this book to have a conversation with parts of Roxane Gay's Bad Feminist, which comes just a few short years before this book but between the two collections, a reader feels the difference between justifiable and just anger from a woman of agency (Gay) turn to a mass of vitriol and victimhood. The women are different in many ways, but the way they handle life in their essays seems almost at direct odds sometimes, and well, I guess I feel more inclined to see the gray areas, like Gay so perfectly navigates in Bad Feminist. Instead this book is very right/wrong, yes/no, good/bad, evil/perfect. Everyone feels that way sometimes, but this is supposed to be a book of thoughtful essays, which seems like it should be different from when I have a bad day and call up my girls to bitch.

While I would never say anyone's pain is not warranted or allowed, some of Jerkins' pain seems to be a direct result of fanciful dreams and unrealistic expectations combined with a strict religious upbringing and parents who say things like speaking to an older man is how you get raped and addicted to heroin (seriously - it's not a joke.) So, she's angry - and she has a right to be. But perhaps some of her anger might be pointed at the people who underprepared her for everything from her sexuality to dating to her clear intellect rather than racial or gender animus. She's perfectly free and easy writing about her vagina in painstaking detail, but she doesn't take any of her preconceptions to task as much as she does her physical self. In consistently placing herself as the victim of nearly every single essay, a reader could wonder "where on earth has a woman's agency gone?" And why is she so invested in constantly being someone or something else's victim?

Of course women should be safer riding the subway or walking the city. Of course black women shouldn't be painted with wide brushes and put into boxes, or as Zadie Smith says so eloquently in her book of essays this year, black bodies shouldn't be fetishized. There is an assumption between many lines that Jerkins (with her dreams of marriage by 22, college as husband-finding-factory, strong intellect, individual voice and humanness of many facets - like everyone) has nothing to do with the outcomes she receives. That is, perhaps, the blindness of youth. But if youth is blind, then maybe it shouldn't assume that everyone's situation is exactly the same or that everyone else is the problem. And maybe a better editor would have made this a much stronger book, one that showed something beyond the black woman as willing victim to her own choices and everyone else's.

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review 2018-04-01 17:37
Small Great Things -- My Unpopular Opinion & Female Mansplaining
Small Great Things - Jodi Picoult

Though this has the qualities I associate with fiction, it felt a lot like being forced to listen to a room full of college kids who just read Nietzsche for the first time and come home to perform that knowledge for hours *at* me - without asking 1) if I already know this, 2) if I care to listen to all of their newfound knowledge, and 3) if I agree with their strong opinions.


That's how I felt for much of the second two sections of this book (and I won't even go near the author's note that follows -- beyond saying that it's the best example of mansplaining a woman could hope to portray.) I have no problem with a white writer writing a person of color. I do have a problem with a fiction that is only thinly disguised "racial sensitivity 101" built on a cadre of stereotypical "types." I felt like Jodi Picoult took a class (and I was right - she did!), saw the light, feels woke, got serious, and set out to explain it all to all of us, without asking us to join in the conversation - or what we could hope to bring to it - much like an author who assumes you don't know any of the big words she uses. It was the long passages of internal dialogue that killed this book dead for me. The "aha" moments that took up pages and pages and then more pages repeatedly were so awfully serious and so awfully lecture-like, they could have been lifted from racial sensitivity 101 -- which made them completely unbelievable because as we teach in those classes, changing one's racial mindset takes a long time and is an internal process that cannot be done through thoughts alone. Practice will help, awareness is key, but no change like this happens overnight. I've taught those classes, and they sound just like this book, with the caveat I just made about changing (even when you start out as a stereotype, like every single character in this book.) Nonfiction exists for a reason. I thought this was a story - not a lecture, but I was wrong. Jodi Picoult doesn't realize that she's become the white savior that Kennedy is supposed to portray.


The book felt extremely condescending to the reader. Picoult should now wait while I go take a class on writing, interview a few writers, then I will type my long, heartfelt, dissertation length "aha" moments in a story and she should be FORCED to read my new feelings about writing. Because that's just about how ridiculous the inner dialogue of her characters sounded to me.

Two books I can recommend to Picoult or anyone else who actually cares about race and all the feelings white people are now having that I've read this year that cover similar topics: So You Want to Talk about Race  and Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People about Race. If you want to go deeper, there are so many better books, both fiction and nonfiction.


The story's basic foundation could have held up a lovely tale. Picoult got indulgent with her newfound awareness and had her characters thinking and behaving in unrealistic ways to cram more of that knowledge into their heads, then she polished it off with an ending torn from a Disney Princess's wishbook. It all became very trite and downright silly by the end.

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