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review 2019-09-04 23:49
'We Were Eight Years in Power' is an eye-opening set of essays written during Obama's presidency; it's practically required reading on the subject of racism in the United States
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy - Ta-Nehisi Coates

This is an extraordinary book.

It’s a sobering, sometimes difficult read, eye-opening, and enlightening. I had to put it down on many occasions, being constantly reminded of how Obama’s presidency has been followed by Trump’s is depressing enough, but the central focus is on challenging the American racism (and how the current toxic presidency has exposed this malignant state). Coates openly wrestles with his own changing views on the first Black Presidency, and demonstrates how deeply engrained systemic and societal racism infects everything in this country, Obama or no Obama.

‘We Had Eight Years in Power’ is practically required reading.

Source: www.goodreads.com/book/show/39946134-we-were-eight-years-in-power
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text 2019-06-04 03:44
BEA 2019, Pt 3- The Loot

Got some good stuff at this year's BEA.  My summer is fully booked. 

 

A Heart so Fierce & Broken 
 
Africaville 
 
American Dirt
 
 
Bluff
 
 
Cursed
 
 
Dear Haiti, Love Alaine...
 
 
How to be an AntiRacist
 
 
Imaginary Friend
 
 
Information Wars
 
 
Lalani of the Distant Sea
 
 
Little Weirds
 
 
Me & White Supremacy
 
 
Motherhood so White
 
 
Moving Forward
 
 
Oblivion or Glory
 
 
Princess of the Hither Isles
 
 
Secret Service
 
 
Serpent & Dove
 
 
Sophia, Princess among Beasts
 
 
The Dreaming Tree
 
 
The Flight Girls
 
 
The Nanny
 
 
The Passengers
 
 
The Science of Game of Thrones
 
 
The Storm Crow
 
 
The Water Dancer
 
 
Tristan Strong Punches a Hole in the Sky
 
 
A ASWanderers
 
 
Witcraft
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text 2019-04-29 20:44
Review: We Were Eight Years in Power
We Were Eight Years in Power: An American Tragedy - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Essays aren't really my thing, and political essays are definitely not, so this wasn't the best choice for me.

We Were Eight Years in Power is collection of essays Coates wrote, one from each year of the Obama presidency, a time which paralleled Coates's own rise from novice columnist to acclaimed and authoritative author. Not every essay in this collection is political, but many of them are. Coates is a tremendous writer regardless of the topic he tackles, but he best holds my attention when the subject is more societal or historical.

As a complete collection, We Were Eight Years in Power is a bit too wandering and repetitive. This is like an album which purports to be a collection of the artists “most loved songs,” but leaves out some of the true “greatest hits.” A thoughtful collection overall, but one best suited for lovers of government
.

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review 2019-01-28 00:48
Bodies and Dreamers
Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

Between the World and Me has been praised and criticized by many many reviewers, so I will limit myself to a couple of textual elements that struck me as odd.

 

Coates has some unusual rhetorical devices that take a little getting used to. He constantly refers to "black bodies" in such a way that I assumed he was building to some sort of dualist worldview in which oppressors could break or destroy bodies but could not steal minds or spirits. Instead he makes it clear that he is a materialist who does not believe that there is any part of an individual other than the physical body. If people are nothing more than bodies then discussing the body as if it was a thing apart from the person is an odd argument. He may be arguing that American society devalues black people down to nothing but bodies, or it may be the imbalance of power requires black people to struggle to preserve their bodies on a fundamental level of basic survival.

 

Coates often refers to white Americans as "Dreamers." He means this contemptuously, implying that white people live in a fantasy world of security and opportunity while deliberately ignoring the historic crimes on which American society is built. This is also an odd rhetorical device considering every since Martin Luther King's historic "I Have a Dream" speech, references to "The Dream" have been a staple of the Civil Rights Movement. It is surprising to see the term turned around and applied to whites as a term of derision.

 

Neither of these observations are intended as criticisms of the book as a whole or its author's message. They are just a couple of textual factors I found interesting.

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review 2019-01-11 18:44
Really not into this
Rise of the Black Panther (2018) #1 (of 6) - Ta-Nehisi Coates,Evan Narcisse,Paul Renaud,Brian Stelfreeze

I picked this up for free, and tried it. I'd heard that the glut of Black Panther series - based on the popularity of Coates' series - watered down the Black Panther name, made it harder to keep up with the series, and just burnt people out.   In addition, I'd add that they were stretching the stories, and they ended up just not being all that compelling. 

 

I did not feel this at all.   All the complexity of the original series seems to have been ditched, and I will not be continuing this series. 

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