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review 2020-06-14 00:38
Inheritances sellable and not
The Telling - Ursula K. Le Guin

I don't know what it is with Ursula Le Guin, but every one of her books, whatever the rate I end up giving the whole, have at least one instance where she emotionally wreaks me, and it's always exquisite. It's like looking at the page and feel like telling her "Damn, that's one beautiful dagger you are stabbing me with"*

I feel like pointing it out just because in this case, since it happens to clear my 3stars Le Guin base bar with ease to nestle by World is Forest, Forgiveness, and Left Hand. Maybe even like a caveat. Just so I can qualify that I'm biased and it's all emotionally stabbed city here.

And what stabs ME particularly, beyond the punctual sad, is the theme. While at first sight the theme seems to be religion and spirituality vs technologic advance or consumerism, what it's actually about is culture and all the infinite components that make it, and all the ways introducing an outsider element, even with the best intentions, can fuck it up enough for it to devour itself, or at least severely up-heave and endanger, what it's about is balance, and fanaticism, and dogmatic corruption. The Telling is the passing of cultural information. In it's basis, it's words, stories, oral and written, and funnily enough, when it comes down to it, science and religion are part of it, right along with dances, meals, music, rites, customs, history.

That is my interpretation for this book. As a person that loves books, and myths, and folklore, that seats to watch movies and series as a bonding activity with my family, that cleans while blasting music, that was taught religion formally even if never practiced, that learnt my regional dances from my grandmother and uncles, to cook from my grandfather, to love reading from my mother, and science from my father, this is like a love letter received, and like a verbalization of all that strange juggling or balancing act one does inside with all the pieces that make home/root/culture and seem incongruous, or even like they'd require alternate suspense of disbelief and double-though. Culture is a mess, and it's incongruous, and unfathomably vast, and it's made of big and little pieces that sometimes contradict, and it does never really make sense. But it's the ground you stand upon; to try to erase it is to loose your step. And its life-blood is the word.


*(and if you get internet in heaven, I hope you get this... from my catholic raised, agnostic leaning towards atheism ass... which is a bad joke that only makes sense in theme)

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review 2019-12-29 14:58
You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice - Tom Vanderbilt
You May Also Like: Taste in an Age of Endless Choice - Tom Vanderbilt

Here's a conundrum: how to review a book that's all about how people judge (and review) things? It's well-researched, really interesting, and has the potential to be widely popular. It's fascinating stuff about literal and figurative taste, what we like, and how we like. It is a dense book, full of information, but entertaining nonetheless. I also really like his book Traffic.

What follows is a very specific example of how my attitude towards this book is colored by an unrelated aside, and is not intended to be part of the actual review of the book, but just the bit that sticks out at me as an illustration of some of the concepts he writes about, and that I feel compelled to write about because while I'm aware that other people might read my reviews, they are primarily a journal of reading for me to look back at. So feel free to skip the following.

 <spoiler>I generally like it when nonfiction writers let a little of their personal lives bleed into their work: the pretense of detachment and disinterest and "fair and balanced" is bogus and everyone knows it. And mostly it works well here. But early on he casually observes how his neighborhood in Brooklyn happens to be mostly thin people. Okay, this is a guy who should know that thinness correlates with wealth and that fat people are penalized to hell and gone in the US in healthcare, education, advancement at work as well as the ubiquitous fat-shaming. It's not some kind of statistical fluke that his neighborhood is thin: it's thin privilege letting him be oblivious. Like I said, this is pretty early on, like the introduction or first chapter. So he kind of accidentally mentioned a topic that I know a fair bit about, and that brief flash of annoyance became attached to the signifier Brooklyn. And then (it seemed like constantly but couldn't possibly have been), he kept mentioning Brooklyn. So now even though I really appreciate his writing I'm left feeling really hostile towards smug Brooklynites, which by exposure to only possibly one is unfair both to the innocent smugless residents of one of New York's five boroughs, and probably to the author in particular as well. But there it is: my opinion of the book might well be forever colored by a casual aside and I'm quite likely to always be put on edge when I come across Brooklyn as well. And now I've written about three times as much about my emotional reaction to this aside as I have about the book in general, because that's how people's taste and discussion of same tend to roll. And if anyone else bothers to read this little spoiler, they will probably have an emotional reaction towards what I've written which could easily go "The hell?" or "Oh, me too, I hate that" and life is really complicated isn't it?</spoiler>

 

Library copy

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text 2019-12-25 11:24
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More Male Enhancement Pills Reviews

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review 2019-11-09 21:41
The Testaments - Margaret Atwood
The Testaments - Margaret Atwood

At this point I have written two different reviews for this book and I just can't summon the energy to start over yet again.

 

The Handmaid's Tale is amazing and horrifying, even as a reread after thirty years.

 

The Testaments is also amazing and horrifying, but where the first was a cautionary tale the second is the product of a different perspective. There is agency and volition about some of the ways women of different ages, classes, and circumstances can find to rebel against an oppressive regime.

 

The Testaments is a rallying cry, and really, just what I needed this year.

 

Library copy

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url 2019-05-27 10:12
SEO Management Tool | SEO Meta Tags Editing Software Platform

Managing SEO Optimization for multiple websites parallelly, now a breeze with structured and comprehensive SEO Management Tool.

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