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text 2018-02-01 16:26
January Reading
Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore
My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.
Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg,Wioletta Grzegorzewska,Eliza Marciniak
 Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science - James Mahaffey,Keith Sellon-Wright
Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg
Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin

Eleven books read:

Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore

My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle  

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.  

Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak  

Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - James Mahaffey

Someone To Love - Mary Balogh (DNF)

Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner  

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden 

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg  

Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip  

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin  

 

Women Writers Bingo: 3/25

(Personal take: Finish 25 books by new-to-me female authors in 2018*)

Finished in January: Wioletta Greg, Rose Lerner, Katherine Arden

 

Gender Balance:

Fiction: 7 by women, 0 by men, 0 by non-binary

Non fiction: 1 by women, 3 by men, 0 by non-binary

 

Format:

Paper books that I own: 0

Paper books from library: 5

E-books that I own: 1

E-books from library: 1

Audiobooks that I own: 4

 

February Goals:

1. Finish reading for Hugo Award nominations (Jade City, Prey of the Gods, Winter Tide).

2. Read at least one book for black history month

3. Stop ordering fucking library books.

 

 

*Women Writers Bingo Bonus Points:

5 of those books in translation: 1/5 (Swallowing Mercury)

5 of those books are non-fiction: 0/5

 

Bingo Companion Round:

5 books by non-binary authors: 0/5

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text 2018-01-31 19:44
Reading progress update: I've read 14%.
Recovery: Freedom from Our Addictions - Russell Brand

My American friends probably don't know Russell Brand (apart from Char who watched his video that I shared on FB and sighed his petition! Thank you for doing that.), but he's a stand-up comedian, actor, writer and social activist. The establishment like to treat him as a joke because he actually dares to advocate for a better, fairer society, one where we're all treated as equal. Anyway, I'm getting off track here. This book is about addiction, specifically recovery from addiction. Russell thoroughly advocates the 12 steps as they saved him from a heroin addiction. He's been clean for almost 15 years. Personally, I'm addicted to just about anything a person can be! He looks at addiction from the stand point of it being symptomatic of an increasingly impersonal culture where we're viewed as consumers, as opposed to actual human beings. So even though my addictions wouldn't be considered severe or life-threatening, I plan to read it all and follow the steps. 

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review 2018-01-07 15:54
More interesting for tone than content.
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.

There are probably better books about the Montgomery Bus Boycott and that year in civil rights, there are certainly better books about Dr. King himself. This one is long on polemics, and short on logistical details an personalities involved.

 

However, what made this book absolutely fascinating to me was the way that Dr. King was positioning it and himself in the political dialogue at the time. The introduction indicates that some of that was to do with editorial guidance from the publisher, such as the frequent "I'm defiantly not a communist!" comments when he's talking about his political background. More of the book is Dr. King himself selling his movement and non-violence and the SCLC to the general public, and you can watch him choosing what incidents and comments to include, what to deal with frankly, what to elide. the last hour and a bit of the audiobook was suggestions for where to go after bus integration, and you can see him lining voting rights in his sights.

 

If he were writing today, I think it would be a very different book, because he would be arguing to a different popular opinion, though of course it would still be filled with the same integrity and pride as this book, and hopefully also with the same victory. It made me very interested in other accounts of the boycott, and in King's later books.

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review 2017-12-26 03:31
Review: A Kind of Freedon
A Kind of Freedom: A Novel - Margaret Wilkerson Sexton

“The best time to start was yesterday...”

I believe that had I read Margaret Wilkerson Sexton's debut novel ten years ago—even five—I would've been ecstatic, in love. There's so much weight to this book, and with its finely drawn characters, A Kind of Freedom demands attention. It is a wonderful, multi-generational story. Each generation lives amongst devastation and beauty. Each generation gives voice to hope and resignation. And through the eyes of each generation, we see a city rise and fall.

Sexton's writing here reminds me most of Gloria Naylor's. A Kind of Freedom is an intense story of dreams deferred by discrimination and poverty. Sexton's vivid depiction addresses many social issues that together weave a tapestry of injustice. She delves into the psychology of this family and the city. Yet, like Naylor's stories, A Kind of Freedom does not lose sight of the story at the center of the novel. Add to this Sexton's stunning portrait of New Orleans; the setting may be considered an additional character.

“...the next best time is now.”

While I greatly enjoyed A Kind of Freedom, I didn't fall in love. And this is merely, or so I believe, because I hadn't read it sooner in life. The story has many qualities I love, but it doesn't surprise me, not does it capture my heart the same way other similar stories have. I think this may have most to do with characters who were not developed as fully as they could've been. Evelyn, Jackie, and T.C. are all great characters, but I know that I could've spent more time in the mind of each. That said, T.C. was nearly perfect and he was certainly the most unforgettable of the three. With the others, I felt more like an observer to their trials, but with T.C. I was there, inside.

A Kind of Freedom is a good novel that I think could've been made stronger with another hundred pages to flesh out some of these characters. New Orleans and T.C. are both very compelling, but there's something missing from the rest of the story that kept me distant. That something may be a generational connection (T.C. is my closest contemporary), but I think it has more to do with really delving into the soul of these characters. Keep in mind that I'm a very character-driven reader and that I place great emphasis on character development. As far as plot, A Kind of Freedom is a very tightly and neatly written story. Most readers looking for a captivating and insightful story will be greatly pleased with this one

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review 2017-12-20 06:02
The Freedom of the Ignored
The Freedom of the Ignored - Bill O'Neill

A solid collection of poetry, mostly centered around O'Neill's experiences in the state senate. While the language itself didn't blow my socks off I was fascinated by the intimate peek into senate life. With politics taking up a fair amount of my attention these days this was a portrait that really held my attention - it also helped remind me how these governing institutions are comprised of distinct individuals, not just cyphers with an R or D next to their names. There are also some really moving poems about O'Neill's wife, whose disability deeply impacts their lives. I'm glad I read this humanizing account of O'Neill's life, and what it can be like to serve in political office.

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