When I ship packages I go to a nearby pack and ship company. There is always polka music playing. That makes me happy. They also have 3D printed dinosaurs on the counter to show off what their printer can do. I want to work here when I grow up.
The average age of the employees has to be around 110. They are all very frail men. They toddle over to the counter and ask my name. They type it using one finger on each hand. They stare at the screen. They stare at me. Finally, “We have shipped for you, yes?” they ask in a Slavic accent.
”Yes,” I reply because we have this conversation about once a month. “But you can’t ever find me in the system.”
”Hmmm.” They look at me closely to see if I’m up to no good. “I’ll look another way.” They type something else. I’m not sure what it is but that doesn’t find me either. I give them my address to type in for the label. Never does anyone take this information and do whatever magic is required to put me in the system permanently. I don’t suggest it because I don’t want to be accused of impertinence.
I give him the last name of my Secret Sister that I send to in another state. Her name and address are saved in the computer. I point out the oddness of that and we both take a second to ponder the absurdities of life while nodding sagely.
He prints the label and holds it out for my inspection. I cross out my name because Secret Sister stuff is anonymous. He clicks his tongue indulgently at my weirdness.
I love these guys. Too bad I don’t actually exist in their world.
A lot of strange things happen around me. The person who I tell all these things to has suggested that I start a blog. Little does she know that I did just that… in 2004. So, in honor of her I’ve decided to write up some of the oddness of my days. I’m not sure if the people around me are just odd or if I’m somehow causing the absurdity or if I am just good at recognizing how weird everyone else is.
Yesterday I did a recheck of a dog that wasn’t healing up as quickly as I would have liked. The dog was on antibiotics and should have had one day of medication left. Since he was better but not all the way cured, I told the owner that I would get her a few more days of antibiotics and that should take care of the infection.
The owner pulled herself up to her full height and got suddenly feisty. “I have LOTS of antibiotics left! I don’t need more!”
This is not my first rodeo. I glanced quickly at the computer to make sure the fault here was not mine. Very clearly the label on the Rx said to give the pills every 12 hours. “You’ve been giving the pills once a day?”
“Yes!” How dare I question her treatment of the dog? I explained that the label said twice a day. She did not want to back down. I swear that woman was considering throwing hands. We convinced her eventually. Then we had to console her when she decided that she was the worst dog owner in the history of dog owners and that she had broken her dog. Nah, just finish what you have at twice a day and we’ll call it good.
There is a restaurant near my office that keeps luring me in by having a lot of vegetarian options even though they never really taste all that good. Also, the first time I went there, this happened.
“Hillary Clinton owns the Big Pharma companies.” I hate it when people get their conspiracies confused.
Yeah, I’ve gone back. Bad food and weird customers. I don’t understand it myself. Anyway, today I was seated for the first time in the same area where the chemtrail discussion took place. I was a bit nervous. There were two elderly ladies getting ready to leave the booth behind where I was sitting down. They were in a discussion about where one’s scarf had gotten to. It was not entirely clear to either woman if the owner of the scarf had actually been wearing it at any point today once they thought about it.
I sat down and suddenly one of them latched onto my right tricep. She had a good, strong grip. I thought maybe she was going to ask me to look under my table for the scarf. I looked up at her. She looked at me expectantly. I said, “Yes?”
“Aren’t you Andrea?” she asked while giving my arm a vigorous shake.
“Really?” Still shaking me. She was unconvinced clearly. Maybe this Andrea is a known liar.
“You could be her.” She gestured emphatically to my face with her free hand. “Your whole face. You could be her.” Shake, shake. She still seemed to think that I could be Andrea trying to deny knowing her. She peered closer. “You could be.” Then she let go and wandered off.
A little while later, a lady walked into the restaurant, grabbed 2 menus and some silverware from the hostess stand, and went to go seat herself. A waitress stopped her and asked if she could help her. She said yes and gave the waitress her drink order and then seated herself. The waitress took her drink to her. No one ever came to join her. In a little bit she came up to the waitress station and asked why her food was taking so long. The waitress told her that she had said she wasn’t going to order food yet. They decided together that that was a very good reason for the food to not have showed up.
There was literally a disturbance in the space time continuum while I was there. After I ate my whole lunch, it was 1:24. I settled in with my book, pleased that I had extra time to read. It didn’t occur to me that it didn’t make any sense for it to be 1:24. I left work at 1 and it had been a lot longer than 24 minutes ago. I realized when I saw the time on my phone flip from 1:24 to 1:41. I’m not sure what kind of Matrix-level fun house I was in but I got out.
While I’m on the subject of lines of discussions I think have issues on Book Twitter, let’s talk about who gets to have an opinion on a book.
Here’s the scenario.
Person A reads an ARC and says, “Hey, guys? This book is pretty messed up. It is racist (or sexist or whatever). Here’s some quotes that illustrate my points.”
Then People B through K pick up the argument. They retweet person A and start talking about how racist the book is whenever anyone else brings it up.
Person M pipes with up, “I don’t know about that. I read it and I didn’t get that sense from it.”
Oh, now it is on. People B through K start yelling at Person M. “You’re such a racist. Why do you hate Person A so much? Why can’t you listen to what she has to say?”
Then the side arguments start. Person J tweets, “I see you people at the end of the alphabet. I’m remember you weren’t here for Person A.” At that point I imagine most end of the alphabet people are like, “What are you talking about? Who’s Person A? I never heard of her.”
Eventually Person Z says, “Hey, Person B? Have you even read this book?”
Person B will come back with all kinds of excuses for why she hasn’t read the book.
She doesn’t need to read it to know that it is racist because Person A said it was and why can’t you believe people?
Person A puts her opinion out there. That’s fine. People who find that they tend to agree with Person A’s opinions can then decide that they agree that this sounds like a book that they would find offensive. They are welcome to pass on it for themselves. They are welcome to retweet Person A so people know that the book may have problems. If they see the book brought up in other discussion they can say that they HEARD that it was horrible from Person A.
They can not say that they know for a fact that the book is racist.
Person A may have misquoted the book or taken quotes out of context to make it appear in a bad light.
Person A may or may not have misinterpreted the book.
(At least Person A in this scenario has read the book. We all know this happens a lot based just on cover blurbs which are notoriously inaccurate.)
A person who has not read the book can not know if Person A is telling the truth or not because they have not examined the evidence for themselves. If they want to get involved in the fight, they need to know the facts. They shouldn’t be relying on hearsay.
A person who has not read the book should be not leading the charge to get the book pulled. (Should anyone? That’s a discussion post for another time.)
If you don’t have the facts, you don’t get to have an opinion.
This should be common sense like not forwarding news articles that fit in with your political views until you make an attempt to see if they are factual. I once saw a person beg people on Twitter to explain a book to her that she hadn’t read. She had heard that it might be offensive but she didn’t know. She didn’t want to read it because, you guessed it, it would be harmful. She had many people say that they read it and they didn’t take it that way at all. Finally she got someone who agreed with her and then she went on a rampage against the book and author armed with nothing but a stranger’s say so on Twitter. I unfollowed at that point so I don’t know what happened.
I see how it could happen. One of the biggest books of the last few years is The Vegetarian by Han Kang. Everyone loves this book. When I first heard of it I was excited. Yeah, a book about a vegetarian. Oh, it is about coming out to her family? That’s boring but whatever. Wait, this is basically a story about her descent into mental illness and vegetarianism is considered the first warning sign? #%#$ you, I’m not reading that. I’d just end up throwing it against a wall.
That’s how I feel every single time someone brings up that book. This is the first time I wrote that opinion down. You know why? I haven’t read the book. I don’t know if what I imagine the book to be is what it actually is so I don’t get to have an opinion on it because my opinion would not be informed. I feel very strongly that this book would be offensive to me. I don’t want to waste my time reading it because I would just be looking for something to piss me off. For these reasons, I don’t get to discuss this book. If another vegetarian read it and wrote a post that factually backed up my theory, I’d be retweeting the heck out of it though.
Be informed before you type. There, I just fixed 90% of the Internet for you.
I’ve had this post written for a while. It was even scheduled to post but didn’t. I figured that might be a sign from the universe not to kick a hornet’s nest. But I’m getting more and more annoyed by this and it turns out that there may be people who agree with me.
Yeah, I watched a whole youtube video so you know it was interesting. She talks about this at about the 12 minute mark.
The first thing you’re going to want to know about me is: Am I a boy, or am I a girl?
Riley Cavanaugh is many things: Punk rock. Snarky. Rebellious. And gender fluid. Some days Riley identifies as a boy, and others as a girl. The thing is…Riley isn’t exactly out yet. And between starting a new school and having a congressman father running for reelection in uber-conservative Orange County, the pressure—media and otherwise—is building up in Riley’s so-called “normal” life.
On the advice of a therapist, Riley starts an anonymous blog to vent those pent-up feelings and tell the truth of what it’s REALLY like to be a gender fluid teenager. But just as Riley’s starting to settle in at school—even developing feelings for a mysterious outcast—the blog goes viral, and an unnamed commenter discovers Riley’s real identity, threatening exposure. Riley must make a choice: walk away from what the blog has created—a lifeline, new friends, a cause to believe in—or stand up, come out, and risk everything.
Riley is a congressman’s child in a conservative part of California. The congressman is pushing for educational reform so Riley is taken out of private school and put in a public one for the first time. First day jitters are worse because Riley is gender fluid and is unsure of how to present on the first day of school. Within minutes of arriving at school, Riley overhears people guessing, “Is that a boy or a girl?” and one person decides to use “It” instead of any pronoun.
As part of Riley’s therapy after a suicide attempt, the psychologist recommends starting a blog. The second post goes viral. (Yeah, right.) Riley becomes an online star and eventually is outed publicly. It is a huge problem because Riley’s parents didn’t know.
An interesting aspect of the book is that the gender that Riley was assigned at birth is never stated. The author never uses any pronouns to refer to Riley. I’m extra impressed by this because it was hard to write this review without pronouns, let alone a whole book. (Some reviews I’ve read have taken issue with this because pronouns are a difficult part of life for some people.)
This is a very character driven novel. Riley and friends are the focus more than the plot. Bec is a new friend at school. She’s a social outcast and she’s in a band. She befriends Riley and becomes a potential love interest. Solo is a former outcast turned athlete who befriends Riley. This causes tension with his friends on the football team.
There is a lot of violence and abuse hurled at Riley in the book. Several characters have either committed suicide or have attempted.
Symptoms of Being Human does a great job of introducing gender fluidity to an audience who may not be familiar with the term. The author is not gender fluid but obviously did a lot of research into the subject. I’ve only seen one review by a person who identified as being gender fluid on Goodreads and that was a positive review for the book. The feel of this book reminds me a lot of None of the Above. The intent of the book is to educate on the subject. Large information dumps don’t bother me at all but some people get annoyed by it.
I think this book is a good one for people to read especially if they aren’t familiar with gender fluidity. Riley has a unique voice and perspective on the world.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Lakshmi Sen was born with a magical ability to perceive the secret longings in others. Putting aside her own dreams to help run her widowed mother's struggling Seattle sari shop, Mystic Elegance, Lakshmi knows exactly how to bring happiness to customers -- from lonely immigrants to starry-eyed young brides. And to honor her father's dying wish, she has agreed to marry a respectable Indian doctor who will uphold her family's traditions. But when a famous Indian actress chooses Mystic Elegance to provide her wedding trousseau, Lakshmi finds herself falling for the actress's sexy chauffeur -- all-American Nick Dunbar -- and her powers seem to desert her just as she needs them most. As Nick draws Lakshmi into his world, however, new dreams awaken in her, and she begins to uncover deeper, startling longings in her mother, her friends, her fiance, and even herself.
I was so excited to hear about this author. I love light and fluffy books with magical realism. A book set in a sari shop by an ownvoices author sounded wonderful.
Lakshmi Sen is visited by the goddess Lakshmi in utero and given a gift of being able to know what people want. She is also made incredibly beautiful but is warned to hide that beauty for reasons that aren’t clear. It is never really discussed after the first part of the story either.
She co-owns a sari shop with her mother. She can tell what customers truly need when they come in. She’s developing a reputation for it. That draws a Bollywood actress to the store for her wedding outfits. But Lakshmi’s gift disappears when she enters the store with her driver.
This is the where the book started to lose me. The driver, Nick, is the guy we are supposed to root for in the story. But he doesn’t seem to offer anything good to Lakshmi. Just his presence is harming her. She loses customers when he is around because she is unable to do her job.
There is colorism in this book. An elderly customer comes in to the store and starts talking about how she uses skin lightening cream. It could almost be dismissed as the fancy of a woman who is a ridiculous character but it isn’t pointed out as such. Then later a woman is being described as ugly and part of the description is how her skin is so dark. Later, the elderly woman from the shop is complimented and she says that the skin lightening cream is working.
Nick makes several casually racist comments to Lakshmi that aren’t commented on. He invites her to meet his family. He says that his sister would love to try on saris because she likes “ethnic clothes.” I was like, “Excuse me?” but nothing is mentioned about it in the story. Then when he gets there his mother “compliments” Lakshmi by telling her that she looks so exotic. Yeah. Then he all but orders her to forget about her trip to India to meet the man her mother wants her to marry. On the basis of what? They barely know each other and she’s supposed to give up all previous plans for him? This guy seems like a control freak that she should get away from quickly.
The book never redeemed Nick for me. It tried but he is still interfering with her work even though the book tried to spin it more positively.
Let’s count this one as an ‘I read it so you don’t have to’ book.
About Anjali Banerjee
“I was born in India, raised in Canada and California, and I now live in the Pacific Northwest, in a cottage in the woods, with my husband and five rescued cats.“
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Reese Eddings has enough to do just keeping her rattletrap merchant vessel, the TMS Earthrise, profitable enough to pay food for herself and her micro-crew. So when a mysterious benefactor from her past shows up demanding she rescue a man from slavers, her first reaction is to say "NO!" And then to remember that she sort of promised to repay the loan. But she doesn't remember signing up to tangle with pirates and slavers over a space elf prince...
I love the universe that M.C.A. Hogarth has created for her books. In the future, humans create human/animal hybrids called the Pelted who then leave the galaxy. They spread out onto new worlds and form an Alliance. They totally leave their human creators behind.
Human still live in this galaxy except for a few adventurous ones who venture out into Alliance space. Reese was born on Mars. Now she has fled from the life that was planned for her there and is trying to make a living as a trader. It isn’t going well. She was bailed out once. She’s almost broke again.
Now she has to go rescue an Eldritch who fell into the hands of slavers. The Eldritch are a reclusive race. They don’t leave their planets much because they are highly empathetic. Too many beings makes it hard for them. Everything Reese knows about them comes from the romance novels she gets monthly that feature Eldritch as mysterious heroes. It turns out that Eldritch are much more annoying than in the books.
Reese is prickly. She doesn’t open herself up emotionally easily. This is an area of conflict between her and the feline crew members who respond to everyone emotionally and sexually. As a Mars native who was born under a dome and who now lives on a ship, she gets agoraphobia whenever she has to be on a planet with an endless horizon.
Reese is only just getting used to running the Earthrise in the black—and with an Eldritch in her crew—when a trip to a colony world gives rise to a whole new problem: Hirianthial is showing powers that even the Eldritch rarely have, and that only in legend. He badly needs training, support and advice, and the only place he can find them is... at home.
To see the world of the Eldritch is a once in a lifetime opportunity, a thing of fantasies and rumor. And to finally meet the Eldritch Queen, the author of so many of Reese's windfalls! You'd have to twist her arm to get her to admit it, but Reese can't wait to go. But a court out of fantasy and a breathtaking land aren't enough compensation when they come packaged with a rabidly xenophobic species whose world is falling apart. The last thing they want any part of is some mortal interloper.
Is Reese ready for the Eldritch world? Better to ask: are they ready for her?
Not going to lie. I didn’t expect a space opera series to end up focusing so much on horses. I’m not complaining. I like horses.
After trying to open up a new trade route, Reese and the crew fall into the hands of slavers again. Hirianthial, the Eldritch crew member fights back. He realizes that his psychic powers are getting more powerful. In fact, the only person he’s ever heard of with these powers went insane and killed a lot of people on the Eldritch planet.
The Eldritch have kept the planet closed off forever. Bringing a crew of non-Eldritch in is going to be a problem.
The slow romance between Reese and Hirianthial continues. I enjoyed the idea of Reese trying to build a relationship based on what she read in romance books. She gets a bit annoyed when he doesn’t act like the heroes she reads about.
This is a very different book than the first one. There are a lot more politics than space travel. I love the diverse crew, especially Alacazam. He’s an alien that looks like a fuzzy basketball. He communicates through thoughts and helps cheer everyone else.
The Queen of the Eldritch has offered Reese Eddings a life out of a fairy tale, one beyond the imagination of a poor girl from Mars who’d expected to spend her life eking out a living with a rattletrap merchant vessel. Unfortunately, the day Reese reached out to accept Liolesa’s offer, Hirianthial’s enemies betrayed him--and his entire planet--to a race of sociopathic shapeshifters with dreams of conquest. Now the only thing between Reese and a castle of her very own is a maniacal alien despot, his native quisling and all the Eldritch dead-set on preventing the incursion of aliens at any cost, including the ousting of their current usurper, who happens to be an alien himself...
Reese, Hirianthial and the crew of the Earthrise have been battling these pirates since Hirianthial’s capture inspired their fateful meeting, but to beat them Reese will have to own the power she’s always denied herself, and Hirianthial must make peace with his bloody past and uncertain future.
Right as everything is coming together for Reese and her crew, a coup throws the planet into chaos. Now Reese is hiding refugees and political prisoners. Hirianthial is off planet with the deposed Queen getting medical treatment for his injuries he got during the attack. The only way back together is to get the rightful Queen back on the throne.
This book is about making a new civilization from the remains of an old one. How do they want to live? What does it take to rule? Liolesa, the deposed queen has been shoring up her people with off-World goods for years without their knowledge. What happens when the isolationists who take over have to face the truth?
There is the repeated rape of a female prisoner in this story. It happens off the page but it isn’t graphically described. However, her reactions to this repeated trauma are described.
This is a good ending to the story. There is a short story that takes place between books two and three that I haven’t read yet. This author has other series set in the same universe to that I’m looking forward to reading.
About M.C.A. Hogarth
Daughter of two Cuban political exiles, M.C.A. Hogarth was born a foreigner in the American melting pot and has had a fascination for the gaps in cultures and the bridges that span them ever since. She has been many things—-web database architect, product manager, technical writer and massage therapist—-but is currently a full-time parent, artist, writer and anthropologist to aliens, both human and otherwise.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
Bestselling Christian author, activist, and scholar Tony Campolo and his son Bart, an avowed Humanist, debate their spiritual differences and explore similarities involving faith, belief, and hope that they share.
Over a Thanksgiving dinner, fifty-year-old Bart Campolo announced to his Evangelical pastor father, Tony Campolo, that after a lifetime immersed in the Christian faith, he no longer believed in God. The revelation shook the Campolo family dynamic and forced father and son to each reconsider his own personal journey of faith—dual spiritual investigations into theology, faith, and Humanism that eventually led Bart and Tony back to one another.
The last time I read a book by Tony Campolo I ended up in a police manhunt so I was a little concerned about picking up this one. I had heard about Bart Campolo leaving Christianity and working as a Humanist chaplain. It was big news in the Christian community. Either it was seen as proof that you can escape your upbringing or it was seen as proof that the Campolos had always been too liberal anyway so obviously they are going to go astray.
This book comes from the discussions that they had after Bart came out as not believing in God. The book is written in alternating chapters with each man expressing their point of view on a particular topic.
The first thing that surprised me was a preface chapter written by Peggy Campolo, Tony’s wife and Bart’s mom. She talks about how she didn’t identify with Christianity during the early years of the Tony’s ministry while her kids were growing up. She has since become a believer and seems to feel a lot of guilt. She thinks that if she was a Christian while Bart was growing up then he wouldn’t have left as an adult. This is typical of the baggage that gets put on parents if the children leave a religion.
I was frustrated while reading Tony’s chapters. Because Bart has now lived on both sides of the debate, he is able to discuss options openly. Tony freely states that he has never known a life where he wasn’t certain of the presence of God in his life. It is obvious that he sees Bart as a wandering child who he hopes gets back to the right path. In the meantime he not really listening to what he has to say. He just seems to be patting him on the head as he speaks and then saying, “Oh, you don’t mean that.”
“For the Christian parents of positive secular humanists like Bart, however, I have some advice: Take every opportunity to affirm and encourage your children whenever they say or do something that reflects your Kingdom values, and let them know that you see a direct connection between their behavior and the love of God, even if they don’t. Doing so demonstrates that you notice and appreciate your kids’ goodness while maintaining your own understanding of its ultimate source, and also opens up opportunities for you to talk about what gets lost when God drops out of the picture.”
Obviously he is still hung up on the idea that you can’t be a good person if you don’t have a God dictating what is right and what is wrong. Bart does a good job discussing why this isn’t true. Too bad his father wasn’t listening.
Tony also talks a lot about guilt. He doesn’t understand how people without God handle all their guilt. He says he lies awake at night feeling guilty about all the harm he does until he is able to let God take the guilt away from him. I don’t think most people have those kinds of guilty feelings. Has he ever considered that maybe the guilt comes from following a religion that teaches that you are a horrible person?
The idea behind this book was to help families have conversations about some members leaving Christianity. I don’t think this book fosters productive conversation because it felt to me like the humanist was explaining over and over and the Christian was just waiting for him to see things the “right” way again. This might be better for people who need to talk to Christians. Bart gives answers to a lot of the questions that he’s been asked. It could help to have some well thought out answers on hand for the common questions.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
I read a lot of comments on my twitter feed about the idea of books being harmful. I don’t get it. At least, I don’t get it in the context that a lot of people seem to using the term.
Harmful to a Group
This I understand. I can see how a book that characterizes a particular race or gender as less intelligent than everyone else, for example, could be harmful if people in other groups thought this was a fact and then acted on that information. This is why books like Pr@tocols of the Elders of Zi@n are harmful because they have incited hate and violence towards people.
I’m not arguing about that. But that doesn’t seem to be how the term is being used.
Harmful to an Individual
The idea seems to be that people should not be exposed to books/TV/movies that will offend or misrepresent them because it is permanently damaging to their psyche.
I’ve thought a lot about this and I can think of several books that have deeply offended me. There are those that still anger me when I think of them years later. There are things that I wish I never saw or read. There was one that I was listening to last week that I wish I could warn everyone away from because the representation of something very important to me was so misleading. But, I do not feel personally harmed by any of those books. I don’t think that I have been damaged by being exposed to ideas I hate or having people write about aspects of my identity in derogatory ways. I’ve cussed out authors in my mind and then walked away from books. No permanent harm done.
I’m not saying people should read things that they find offensive. If it isn’t right for you, that’s fine. Walk away and don’t look back. Whatever works for you. But are you so malleable that you will let a book change your feelings about yourself? That’s what I think of when I see people using the word “harm” in this context.
I think this might be a generational thing. I don’t seem to see anyone over 30 using this terminology.
Am I the only person confused by this? Are older people just better at looking at BS and not taking personally? Is this a self esteem thing that we’ll never understand because we weren’t raised in a time when that was considered important?
Readers over 30, have you ever been harmed by a book?
Fifteen-year-old Jack Bishop has mad skills with cars and engines, but knows he’ll never get a driver’s license because of his epilepsy. Agreeing to participate in an experimental clinical trial to find new treatments for his disease, he finds himself in a completely different body—that of a girl his age, Jacqueline, who defies the expectations of her era.
Jack starts to travel back in time during his seizures. It takes a few times before he realizes what is going on. Each time he is in the past for a longer period. He gets dropped into a body of a girl in the 1920s named Jacqueline. It is very Quantum Leap.
The town Jacqueline lives in is being terrorized by a local minister. Jack is being dropped into different points in time to try to save the town. But everything he does changes the timeline.
I enjoyed this book but it frustrated me. It left me with several questions. Years will pass while Jack is in the past but he is not in a coma. He is going on with his life in the present day. How? Does anyone notice that he is not quite himself? The same things happen with Jacqueline in the past. Who is in their bodies when Jack/Jacqueline isn’t? Is Jacqueline in Jack? Are they just switching places? Hopefully this will be addressed in future installments of the story. This is book one of a series.
The author is transgender. Had I not known that going into the book, I might have missed the exploration of gender and sexuality that happens in the story. When Jack first finds himself in a female body he is very uncomfortable. Over time he no longer has an issue with it. Jacqueline is not considered to be a conventionally feminine woman of her time but she is still a more feminine person than Jack is in the future. Jacqueline has a relationship with a man named Lucas that starts when Jack is in her body. When he jumps back into his own body he misses Lucas and worries about him. That relationship fuels his desire to learn to master time travel to get back and help Jacqueline. The author never comes out and says what gender or sexual orientation anyone is considered. They just are who they are and love who they love. It is so matter of fact that that is the reason why I might have missed the complexity if I wasn’t specifically looking at the gender dynamics.
This is a fun time travel mystery. Read it if you like historical fiction with some suspense.
About Everett Maroon
Everett Maroon is a memoirist, pop culture commentator, and speculative fiction writer. He has a B.A. in English from Syracuse University and went through an English literature master’s program there. He is a member of the Pacific Northwest Writer’s Association; Bumbling into Body Hair was a finalist in their 2010 literary contest for memoir. Everett writes about writing and living in the Northwest at trans/plant/portation.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges:
“In the bestselling tradition of Bill Bryson and Tony Horwitz, Rinker Buck’s “The Oregon Trail” is a major work of participatory history: an epic account of traveling the 2,000-mile length of the Oregon Trail the old-fashioned way, in a covered wagon with a team of mules–which hasn’t been done in a century–that also tells the rich history of the trail, the people who made the migration, and its significance to the country.”
I’m telling lies already. JoAnn recommended this one.
“Naturalist Tim Gallagher journeys deep into the savagely beautiful Sierra Madre, home to rich wildlife and other natural treasures—and also to Mexican drug cartels—in a dangerous quest to locate the rarest bird in the world—the possibly extinct Imperial Woodpecker, the largest of all carpinteros.”
I think this one came from a Goodreads recommendation.
“In these provocative, powerful essays acclaimed writer/journalist Jeff Chang (Can’t Stop Won’t Stop, Who We Be) takes an incisive and wide-ranging look at the recent tragedies and widespread protests that have shaken the country. Through deep reporting with key activists and thinkers, passionately personal writing, and distinguished cultural criticism, We Gon’ Be Alright links #BlackLivesMatter to #OscarsSoWhite, Ferguson to Washington D.C., the Great Migration to resurgent nativism. Chang explores the rise and fall of the idea of “diversity,” the roots of student protest, changing ideas about Asian Americanness, and the impact of a century of racial separation in housing. He argues that resegregation is the unexamined condition of our time, the undoing of which is key to moving the nation forward to racial justice and cultural equity.”
“The Magnolia Story is the first book from Chip and Joanna, offering their fans a detailed look at their life together. From the very first renovation project they ever tackled together, to the project that nearly cost them everything; from the childhood memories that shaped them, to the twists and turns that led them to the life they share on the farm today.”
“Gilbert was a young mother when she boldly uprooted her family to move around the world, studying Mandarin in China, Arabic in Lebanon, and Spanish in Mexico, with her toddler son and all-American husband along for the ride. Their story takes us from Beijing to Beirut, from Cyprus to Chiang Mai—and also explores recent breakthroughs in bilingual brain mapping and the controversial debates happening in linguistics right now.”
“In his memoir American on Purpose, Craig Ferguson, host of The Late, Late Show, traces his journey from working-class Glasgow to the comedic limelight of Hollywood and American citizenship. Moving and achingly funny, American on Purpose moves from Ferguson’s early life as an alcoholic to his stint on The Drew Carey Show to his decision to become a U.S. citizen in its unique and honest look at his version of the American dream.”
“Fifteen years ago, Krista Bremer was a surfer and an aspiring journalist who dreamed of a comfortable American life of adventure, romance, and opportunity. Then, on a running trail in North Carolina, she met Ismail, sincere, passionate, kind, yet from a very different world. Raised a Muslim—one of eight siblings born in an impoverished fishing village in Libya—his faith informed his life. When she and Ismail made the decision to become a family, Krista embarked on a journey she never could have imagined, an accidental jihad: a quest for spiritual and intellectual growth that would open her mind, and more important, her heart.”
“When Joe and his girlfriend Joy decide to trade in their life on a cold Lancashire fish market to run a bar in the Tenerife sunshine, they anticipate a paradise of sea, sand and siestas. Little did they expect their foreign fantasy to turn out to be about as exotic as a wet Monday morning.
Amidst a host of eccentric locals, homesickness and the occasional cockroach infestation, pint-pulling novices Joe and Joy struggle with the expat culture and learn that, although the skies might be bluer, the grass is definitely not always greener.”
“In early 20th century British East Africa, there are rules for the British and different ones for the Africans. Vera McIntosh, the daughter of Scottish missionaries, doesn’t feel she belongs to either group; having grown up in Africa, she is not interested in being the well-bred Scottish woman her mother would like her to be. More than anything she dreams of seeing again the handsome police officer she’s danced with. But more grisly circumstances bring Justin Tolliver to her family’s home.
The body of Vera’s uncle, Dr. Josiah Pennyman, is found with a tribesman’s spear in his back. Tolliver, an idealistic Assistant District Superintendent of Police, is assigned to the case. He first focuses on Gichinga Mbura, a Kikuyu medicine man who has been known to hatefully condemn Pennyman because Pennyman’s cures are increasingly preferred over his. But the spear belonged to the Maasai tribe, not Kikuyu, and it’s doubtful Mbura would have used it to kill his enemy. Tolliver’s superior wants him to arrest the medicine man and be done with it, but Tolliver pleads that he have the chance to prove the man’s guilt.”
This one is problematic. In an attempt to illustrate the racial attitudes of the time when it is set, it gets a little too white savior-y for my liking.
“In West Africa in 2070, after fifteen-year-old “shadow speaker” Ejii witnesses her father’s beheading, she embarks on a dangerous journey across the Sahara to find Jaa, her father’s killer, and upon finding her, she also discovers a greater purpose to her life and to the mystical powers she possesses.”
“Speculative fiction, art and graphic stories from African authors, based on African folklore, myths and legends about monsters. African Monsters is the second in a coffee table book series with dark fiction and art about monsters from around the world.”
“In a time of death and terror, Leymah Gbowee brought Liberia’s women together–and together they led a nation to peace. As a young woman, Gbowee was broken by the Liberian civil war, a brutal conflict that tore apart her life and claimed the lives of countless relatives and friends. As a young mother trapped in a nightmare of domestic abuse, she found the courage to turn her bitterness into action, propelled by her realization that it is women who suffer most during conflicts–and that the power of women working together can create an unstoppable force. In 2003, the passionate and charismatic Gbowee helped organize and then led the Liberian Mass Action for Peace, a coalition of Christian and Muslim women who sat in public protest, confronting Liberia’s ruthless president and rebel warlords, and even held a sex strike.”
“Everfair is a wonderful Neo-Victorian alternate history novel that explores the question of what might have come of Belgium’s disastrous colonization of the Congo if the native populations had learned about steam technology a bit earlier.”
“Trevor Noah’s unlikely path from apartheid South Africa to the desk of The Daily Show began with a criminal act: his birth. Trevor was born to a white Swiss father and a black Xhosa mother at a time when such a union was punishable by five years in prison. Living proof of his parents’ indiscretion, Trevor was kept mostly indoors for the earliest years of his life, bound by the extreme and often absurd measures his mother took to hide him from a government that could, at any moment, steal him away. Finally liberated by the end of South Africa’s tyrannical white rule, Trevor and his mother set forth on a grand adventure, living openly and freely and embracing the opportunities won by a centuries-long struggle.”
I transfer all my audiobooks to my iPod instead of listening to them on my phone. Why would I do that? Am I just tragically old and unhip? (Possibly, if I use the word unhip.)
Here’s why I don’t listen to books on my phone
My phone is big. Seriously, who wants to carry that nonsense around when you are trying to work out? Yes, I listen to audiobooks when I work out. iPods are much easier to carry.
My phone’s battery is crap. If I was going to listen to several hours of an audiobook, it would need to lie down and have a recharge when I need it to be doing other things.
Yes, this is ok. It says so on the book info on my library website.
So how do you transfer them? Audible makes it easy but Overdrive is obnoxious.
1. Download to the Overdrive Media Console on your computer.
2. Select Transfer on the top menu. Follow the instructions on the pop up menu to transfer all the files. This is a slow process. Give it at least 10 minutes. Go do something else while this is happening.
3. The files are imported as Music and not Audiobooks. Find them in your music library and hover your cursor next to the name. When 3 dots appear click on it to bring up this menu. Select Get Info.
4. Choose Options on the top menu.
5. Change the file type from Music to Audiobook for each file. Make sure that the Remember playback position is checked so it doesn’t start each file from the beginning every time you stop and start.
There you go. Audiobooks on your iPod so you can save your precious phone battery time for other things.
“In a tiny, dilapidated trailer in northeastern Oregon, a young woman saw a vision of the Virgin Mary in an ordinary landscape painting hanging on her bedroom wall. After being met with skepticism from the local parish, the Catholic diocese officially placed the matter “under investigation.” Investigative journalist Randall Sullivan wanted to know how exactly one might conduct the official inquiry into such an incident, so he set off to interview theologians, historians, and postulators from the Sacred Congregation of the Causes for Saints. These men, dubbed by the author as “miracle detectives,” were charged by the Vatican with testing the miraculous and judging the holy.”
She also sent along some tea and some really cute bookmarks.
This is a hugely popular and funny knitting blog. I don’t knit. I am a failed knitter. For some reason I’ve been following this blog for over 1o years. I’m the ultimate lurker. I’ve never commented. I admire the way she’s made a professional life from knitting. She makes amazing stuff at the speed of light. Seriously, she makes socks as quickly as I read books.
This blog points out the nonsense done in the name of religion. Find out about what the religious right is calling persecution these days. I don’t agree with them on everything since they are very against any non-western medicine.
This is the opposite of No Longer Quivering. This is a site for families who believe that their goal in life is to raise their daughters to be homemakers. I go on Wednesdays for their link up. Here you can find posts about why women should stay home and not be educated. It is good to raise your blood pressure every so often.
For the past few years I’ve been dabbling in some genealogy research. Here’s what I know on paper.
My mom’s side:
She’s English and Welsh. On both sides of her family she traces back to noble English families. Two of these families tried to overthrow the King (different times) and failed miserably. So, disgraced families → descending from daughters married off not so well → diminished circumstances → Hey, I heard that they found this place across the ocean → showing up in America in the 1600s → being hillbillies in western PA.
My dad’s side:
His father is English but not from fancy families like my mother. They also came here in the 1600s. My grandmother’s parents came from Poland.
I took the ancestry.com DNA test. I didn’t expect to find anything new out. I was hoping to match with relatives to try to find out more about the Polish side of the family.
My results (and fighting words)
So imagine my shock when I opened the results page and saw this blasphemy.
I’m not Irish. I was actually really mad. It was like there was latent British snobbery that I didn’t know I had that rose up in my soul at the very idea.
This explained it a little more. I think what they may mean by Irish is Celtic and that would be the Welsh part of my DNA. Then I amused myself by imagining what a real Scottish person would think if they got DNA results that said Irish.
The DNA results nailed the 25% Eastern European since I have 1 Polish grandparent.
The Europe West may be my mother’s side again. Her families are French if you go back far enough. There is also some more Celtic DNA in this explanation.
Scandinavia – possibly the Vikings in England? To the best of my knowledge I don’t have any wandering Swedes in my history.
I was surprised with a long family history in England that I’m only considered 4% Great Britain.
This is what I’m really proud of though.
What the …? How does that show up? I’d say that is in everyone but it didn’t show up in the husband’s test.
So far the only close relative I’ve matched up with is my half-cousin. It pegged us as cousins. We have one grandfather in common.
My family celebrates Christmas. The 24th and 25th of December are pretty busy for my family because we do lots of bouncing around. Luckily everyone lives relatively close.
My husband’s family has Italian heritage and on Christmas Eve, they gather at his grandfather’s house and have The Feast of Seven Fishes. Basically, Grampy cooks a dinner with seven different types of seafood, he always includes haddock, shrimp, scallops, and smelts. We all spend a few hours together eating, talking, and listening to Christmas music.
After Grampy’s house, we head to my grandmother’s house. At Grammy’s we enjoy snacks, desserts, and drinks. Around 8:30 pm, we go outside for the Christmas Parade. The parade is a city tradition where local companies, fire trucks, and people decorate their vehicles or create floats with Christmas lights and decorations and drive through the city. Some people blare holiday music, beep horns, and throw candy. Every year Santa and Mrs. Claus are the last float in the parade. After the parade we make our way home.
Christmas day, my husband and I open presents together. Then we go to my parents’ house for breakfast and exchanging gifts. My mom loves to stuff our stockings with random little toys and gadgets, I have no idea where she finds so many unique trinkets. Next, we drive to his parents’ house to exchange presents and spend time together. My in-laws always get me something bookish. Finally we go to my sister’s house for Christmas dinner. I am always in charge of dessert and typically make an apple pie, a thin mint cookie pie, and at least one other dessert (nearly every year someone requests that I try some new recipe that they found).
Needless to say, we are quite busy on the 24th and 25th. But, I wouldn’t have it any other way.
This is not a scientifically accurate survey. I’m not sure how long I’ve been following these bloggers but it has been a while. There aren’t many people left from when I first started reading blogs. While thinking about this topic I had to take time to mourn the loss of so many great blogs.
I am a failed knitter. So why do I follow a knitting blog? It’s funny. She is also amazing because she goes through knitting projects like I go through books. She inspired me to try knitting socks because she made it seem so easy. I’m still a failed knitter.
I’ve been following here for at least 10 years. I’ve never commented. I’m the ultimate creeper.
I’m also impressed by the fact that she is an author of books about knitting and teaches all over and yet the blog which has crazy amounts of traffic is not monetized. Instead she raises huge amounts of money every year for Doctors Without Borders.
I have no idea how long I’ve been following Sheila. It probably started with It’s Monday! What are you reading? but I don’t even remember how it started. She runs bookish events in her community and online and has the most amazing book club ever. They dress up and have food.
I know how I found this one. I found it from her comments on Joshilyn Jackson’s dearly departed blog, Faster Than Kudzu. I think. Now I’m doubting myself. Anyway, let’s pretend that’s true.
Again, I’m a world champion lurker. Following for years. Never commenting. Bad human. I tend to never comment on blogs with lots of comments. I feel like they don’t need me.
She writes about live with two teenagers with autism which was actually helpful. Her son was diagnosed years before her daughter. When she started mentioning signs in her daughter, light bulbs went off here. That’s when I started saying that I didn’t think Z had just the whole host of mental problems she was already labelled with but was probably autistic.
She has dogs too which is always good blog fare.
I was going to add more but then I realized that everyone else is fairly new. Most of them are book blogs and I only started following them in the last few years which is an eternity in blog years but not so much in my mind.
I sort of pride myself on not being one of those book bloggers who is always oooohing and aaaaahing over the latest book I bought. I’m cheap. I use the library. I don’t buy books for myself. So how did I end up with all of these?
Those are pictures of all the books on my shelves that I haven’t read yet. Most of them I didn’t buy. They are books I either won or were gifts in swaps. I like swaps. I like buying books for other people.
That doesn’t even count the ebooks on my iPad.
I’m joining this challenge to #ReadMyOwnDamnBooks. I want to get at least partway through this stack in the next year.
I made an Owned TBR list on Goodreads. There are 33 books on the list. My challenge is at least try these books in the next year. Then they need to move on unless they are so amazing that I keep them for rereads. I was going to say that I needed to read anything else that came in the house but then I remembered about BEA. I need to open up some book shelf space. These books need to get moving.
I’m Denise and I have a book blog, I am Shelfless, where I post book reviews and random stuff. Heather is hosting me today (Thank you so much, Heather!) as a part of the Guest of the Month Club hosted by Emily Reads Everything! This month’s topic is…
What Do You Do When You Aren’t Blogging?
I mostly spend my time tweaking my blog and helping with house chores but when I’m not, I usually do these:
I transcribe the lectures I recorded on my device.
It has been a habit of mine to record the lectures of my professors while I take handwritten notes as well. I can’t always follow through the lecture because it’s hard for me to take notes and listen at the same time and I tend to get distracted in often circumstances when my classmate asks me questions. Recording really helps me a lot, especially if it’s a major subject! Some of my professors include additional information regarding the topics so if I missed something when I was writing notes during the class, I could replay the recordings and transcribe it with my previous notes.
I pet my dog.
Whether I feel frustrated, stressed, tired, happy, sad or in deep thoughts, I pet my dog. I don’t know how to explain it, but I love him so much! I hope you like the picture above — that’s my dog, Cosmo, with his favorite boot (he actually stole it from my mom and never gave it back)! Oh, if you have bread he will try to give his right paw so you will shake hand with him! That’s his way of shake my hand and give me my bread.
I stalk visit authors’ websites.
I visit and browse through websites of my favorite authors and sometimes random authors that I see on my twitter feed. When I go through the website, I open all the pages, read blog posts, take quizzes, subscribe to newsletters and many more! Occasionally, I send an email to an author to make a conversation through the author’s contact form on the website.
Yeahhh, I think that’s pretty obvious! After I’m finished with school work, weekdays or weekends, I read. A lot. Reading has always been my own teleportation device and I don’t remember a time when I have never read a book. I get sucked into books easily so I probably won’t be able to hear or see you unless you tap my arm or do crazy things in front of me. Confession: I once read the House of Night series + other books on a Saturday. That was a very unproductive yet a bookish day for me! Recently, I read the Throne of Glass series for four hours on a school day. I was so lucky I didn’t get late for class!
Welcome to Read This, a collection of book reviews and giveaways that were posted in the past week or so from around the web. This is a collection of book reviews & contests from real reviewers. If you want to be included in the next edition start with the guidelines, then use the submission form. Want to read more reviews? Check out Read This for a list of the latest reviews and stellar reviewers. You can also follow on twitter for the latest round ups. Read This is now accepting photo submissions for each edition.