Friday Links

Matisse - The Cut-Outs: The Parakeet and the Mermaid, 1952

Matisse - The Cut-Outs: The Parakeet and the Mermaid, 1952

Happy Friday! Here are some links from the interwebs that I have collected over the past few weeks. 

Podcasts:

On Being: "The Sum of All Human Knowledge" - Krista Tippet and Jimmy Wales, the co-founder of Wikipedia. I found this interesting and a little frustrating towards the end when the two discuss facts and emotion. Wales disregards emotions stating that "emotion can certainly cloud your ability to correctly identify what's going on in the world." I highly disagree and think that this comes from a very privileged perspective. Oppressed groups are sometimes fighting for their lives and basic human rights when presenting factual truths to an opposing, usually power-wielding, party. Their emotion and pain is part of their truth. Too often have I seen the oppressed disregarded because of their anger, passion, and "emotions."  Thoughts anyone? 

Ted Radio Hour: "The Act of Listening" 

News that probably (hopefully) won't ruin the mood at a party:

Thanks To The Internet, You Can Now Visit Every MoMA Exhibition That Ever Happened

Print is not dead!

Carla Hayden has been officially sworn in as the first woman and African-American librarian of Congress. Also, she is the first actual "librarian" of congress, holding a Masters in Library Science. All the other white men before her were not actually librarians.

News that will ruin the mood at a party:

When a journalist is issued an arrest warrant

Does this mean curvy women can't wear form fitting clothing without losing their jobs

The free market doesn't care if you live or die:

"You can argue all you want that the Founding Fathers wanted us to be free to tan ourselves to melanoma-town, but I would argue that the “freedom” to make uninformed choices in an environment where unregulated industry has a bottomless well of money with which to persuade public opinion is no kind of freedom at all."

Hey pro-lifers, maternal deaths in Texas nearly doubled after the state slashed its family planning budget. 

"In schools, mental health should be everybody's job. Too often, it ends up being no one's."

Ijeoma Oluo laying down the truth: 

"If you support Trump, you are a White Supremacist. Full stop. Not just the passive amount of White Supremacy that we all end up participating in, in an inherently White Supremacist system—you are an active, hateful, dangerous White Supremacist... You can be in the PTA and you can pay your taxes and you can volunteer at your local homeless shelter and at the same time you can be actively upholding the oppression of others. It has been done before and it is being done now."

 

 

August Reads

August, you were lovely. I was out of town a lot and maybe did a bit too much; my body shut down last week and I got a pretty bad cold. In Seattle we kind of go crazy during the summer. There is definitely some weather related FOMO and anxiety; the sun is out so we HAVE TO go outside, we HAVE TO go backpacking and camping and kayaking and swimming and have outdoor picnics and see outdoor movies and BE OUTSIDE ALL THE TIME, or in my case be out of town every weekend. August is the height of this manic behavior because we all know this is the LAST MONTH OF SUMMER. That being said, I am ready for September and for rain and for reasons to stay under blankets and wear my giant grandma sweaters, which is, by the way, what I am wearing while I sit here and type this. Okay, ya, so on to the books. 

But first! I have decided to be more disciplined in recording the annotations I make in books, whether they be direct quotes or connections or observations. Now my tumblr page will hold my annotations instead of me attempting to list them here or instead of me forgetting all about them. I started to feel as though my posts were  becoming far too quote heavy, mostly because I'm lazy and don't want to explain shit myself. But no more of that! So, yes, quoteables are now on the tumblr. Check em' out. 

Book 32/52: An Unspoken Hunger: stories from the field by Terry Tempest Williams

I picked up this little gem of nature writing at one of my favorites bookstores in Seattle, Ophelia's. It is the perfect used book store with cats and rabbits and a spiral staircase and a cool loft. It is also next to a great record store and bakery, so basically the block you want to be stranded on during a zombie apocalypse. Terry Tempest Williams is a must-read author for those interested in nature writing and environmentalism. This was my first book by her and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Quotes here

If this book interests you, you might also like Pilgrim at Tinker Creek by Annie Dillard

Book 33/52: Unabrow: misadventures of a late bloomer by Una LaMarche

When I first saw this book I thought I had been spelling unibrow wrong my entire life and then I realized this is a whole "play on words" thing with the authors name. I picked up this books because 1.) I, too, was a unibrow child, and 2.) I was in desperate need for some comic relief. I read some heavy books in July and I needed a break. Unabrow is a comedy style memoir by Una LaMarche, who writes a blog called the "Sassy Curmudgeon." I found this book hilarious and could relate to a lot of her quirks, like solving conflicts through song and dance, but my only criticism is that the author could be a little too self-deprecating. Yet, (ironic) self-deprecation is a huge part of female comedy, so I don't know. Funny books by women are so important and cathartic for me. Female comedians reclaim shit that was taken from them in the best way. So, ya, I suggest you read this if you like Amy Poehler, Mindy Kaling, Tina Fey, Kristin Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Amy Schumer, Sarah Silverman, aka THE CANON OF FUNNY WOMEN. Quotes here

Book 34/52: H is for Hawk by Helen Macdonald

H is for Hawk was incredible. Helen Macdonald is a brilliant and prolific writer. In this memoir, the author decides to train a goshawk, one of nature's most viscous predators, after the death of her beloved father. Through training her wild goshawk, named Mabel, the author uncovers the layers of her grief and the core of her own humanity. Read this book. It has been on too many important top ten lists to count and even Obama put it on his summer reading list. The hype is real. And because I can't help myself, here is just one quote:

"The archaeology of grief is not ordered. It is more like earth under a spade, turning up things you had forgotten. Surprising things comes to light: not simply memories, but states of mind, emotions, older ways of seeing the world." More quotes here

If this books interests you, you might also like The Year of Magical Thinking by Joan Didion

Book 35/52: Shrill: notes from a loud woman by Lindy West

This book was probably one of the most important books I have read this year. Lindy West, who is a Seattle resident, is a powerhouse journalist, fighting against internet trolls, misogynists, rape culture, and body shamers. As a fat woman, she chronicles what it was like growing up as a "big" girl. West does an exceptional job at describing how our fat shaming/thin obsessed culture permeates the lives of women. As a woman who has never had the female body that supposedly, according to our society, holds the potential for happiness and fulfillment; I found myself yelling war cries in solidarity with this text. This book is a game changer for how we view the bodies of women. It left me thinking, if loving one's body fully, just as it is, is a radical act, then what kind of world are we living in? If loving one's self is radical then hating one's self is the norm. We should start asking why we live in a world where self hate is the status quo and unapologetic women who love their bodies are the revolution.

AND one quote because it is just too important (more quotes here).

 "Society’s monomaniacal fixation on female thinness isn’t a distant abstraction, something to be pulled apart by academics in women’s studies classrooms or leveraged for traffic in shallow “body-positive” listicles (“Check Out These 11 Fat Chicks Who You Somehow Still Kind of Want to Bang – No 7 Is Almost Like a Regular Woman!”). It is a constant, pervasive taint that warps every woman’s life. And, by extension, it is in the amniotic fluid of every major cultural shift. Women matter. Women are half of us. When you raise women to believe that we are insignificant, that we are broken, that we are sick, that the only cure is starvation and restraint and smallness; when you pit women against one another, keep us shackled by shame and hunger, obsessing over our flaws, rather than our power and potential; when you leverage all of that to sap our money and our time – that moves the rudder of the world. It steers humanity toward conservatism and walls and the narrow interests of men, and it keeps us adrift in waters where women’s safety and humanity are secondary to men’s pleasure and convenience."

If this books interests you, you should check out the episode Tell Me I'm Fat on This American Life. 

So that was August! I'm currently reading The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy and I'm pretty sure I will be haunted by this book forever. 

"Whoa we're (more than) half way there!"

Whoa whoa whoa! Somehow I am still on track (actually, ahead of schedule) to read 52 books this year. I know, I'm just as surprised as you are. I have never been one for keeping goals. I cannot tell you how many half marathons I have "trained" for and never ran or how many weekly schedules I have meticulously planned and only got half way through Tuesday and said "to hell with this exercising and meal planning life style, I'm getting Thai food and binge watching reruns of Broad City." That being said, I have learned making specific goals does not work for me; goals actually make me more anxious, which then leads to quitting at the first sign of failure. I need to keep things loosey goosey or else I turn into a creature unbeknownst to myself (a moody little bitch who takes her failures out on those around her... *cough* my husband; bless his heart.) So ya, whoa! I am actually keeping with up with a goal! Possibly because it's about books, which is a sedentary activity where I can simultaneously hide from the world in my down comforter. 

With that being said I'd like to make a (more than) halfway post, reflecting on what I have read so far this year and what I would like to read for the rest of the year. 

I have read 34 books this year (check them out here) and not a single one has been written by a white man. Take that patriarchy! I made a spreadsheet at the beginning of 2016 of books I'd like to read and I have strayed away a bit, which is cool because this whole plan is loosey goosey, remember? 

Since I I have 20(ish) weeks left in 2016, I'd like to let you all know what I am interested in reading for the rest of 2016. 

Fiction:

Non-fiction:

I specifically a stoked to read Shrill by Lindy West, Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi, and The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead. And White Teeth... and The God of Small Things... and basically all of these books. 

Season 1, Episode 2: The Lorelais' First Day at Chilton

I tried to go to Gilmore Girls trivia in Seattle last week but the bar hit capacity and they wouldn't let us in. I thought of ways I could flirt with the bouncer but then I realized my sad life; the only time I would ever flirt with a bouncer to get into a bar would be for Gilmore Girls trivia, or Harry Potter trivia, or Lord of the Rings trivia... That being said, my patient friend waited with me outside while I answered the first round of trivia from the street and I got all of them right. I don't win at many things in my life, but this would have been one of them, I am sure. Then we ate ice cream sundaes to drown our sorrows. 

So moving on... Let's get to reviewing all 153 episodes of Gilmore Girls in 153 words or less. 

XTC "The Man Who Murdered Love" is a great song. 

Lorelai and her Paul Frank thermal, very important. I myself wore a Paul Frank shirt in my sixth grade school picture. Inspired by Lorelai? maybe... 

I remember it was like the coolest pop culture knowledge to know that Chad Michael Murray was on Gilmore Girls BEFORE One Tree Hill. Rory before Peyton... or Brooke... or however the hell he ends up with. 

Jackson is the original hipster who wears his beanies above his ears. 

When Kirk isn't Kirk yet but a DSL installation guy.

Lane's foxy sweatshirt is also very important

Lorelai talking about dating Luke in Season 1 EPISODE 2, those bastards made us wait so long.

I'm not sure how this is ending up to be mostly about early 2000s fashion...  

July Reads

 

July is over, somehow. I read six books this month, somehow. Damn, it feels good to be back on schedule to reading 52 books this year. 

Book 27/52: Freedom is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the foundations of a movement by Angela Y. Davis

Angela Davis is incredible. She is a former member of the Black Panther Party and a champion of black liberation and intersectionality. I picked this book up at Powell's books in Portland, OR during the week of the shootings of Philando Castile and Alton Sterling. This books is a collection of interviews and speeches by Angela Davis. It addresses the importance of intersectionality and solidarity in the fight against state violence, from Ferguson to Palestine. You should most definitely give this book a read. Below are some quotes:

"No amount of psychological therapy or group training can effectively address racism in this country, unless we also begin to dismantle the structures of racism."

"What we often assume belongs most intimately to ourselves and to our emotional life has been produced elsewhere and has been recruited to do the work os racism and repression... It's interesting that in this era of global capitalism the corporations have learned how to do that: the corporations have learned how to access aspects of our lives that cause us to often express our innermost dreams in terms of capitalist commodities"

"We will have to go to great lengths. We cannot go on as usual. We cannot pivot the center. We cannot be moderate. We will have to be willing to stand up and say no with out combines spirits, our collective intellects, and our many bodies." 

Book 28/52: Invisible Man Got the Whole World Watching: a young black man's education - Mychal Denzel Smith

Another incredibly important book to read. The title plays off of the classic novel Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison. Smith goes on in the title, suggesting that black lives are still systematically invisible but are publicly scrutinized, politicized, and exploited for the state. The whole world was watching Ferguson, but systematically Ferguson is invisible. The whole world was watching the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman case, but Trayvon was dead. Gone. Humanity invisible. Smith also touches on popular culture, feminism and mental health in the black community; the latter two are unique topics coming from a male author. I HIGHLY recommend this read. 

Book 29/52: Citizen: an American lyric by Claudia Rankine

Another book on race in American. Are you seeing a theme here? Well, get used to it. When shit goes down, I run to the books. In the words of Joan Didion "information is control." When I see the blood on my hands of institutionalized racism,  I run to the books. Then I run to the protest. Perhaps information is more than just control, perhaps information is redemption. I found out about Citizen after Johari Osayi Idusuyi was seen reading it at a Trump rally last fall; who said reading can't be a form of protest? Give this book of poems a read, perhaps even as an act of protest. 

"Yes, and the body has memory. The physical carriage hauls more than its weight. The body is the threshold across which each objectionable call passes into consciousness- all the unintimidated, unblinking and unflappable resilience does not erase the moments lived through..."

"Because white men can't police their imagination, black men are dying"

"And where is the safest place when that place must be someplace other than the body?"

Book 30/52: Reading Lolita in Tehran: a memoir in books by Azar Nafisi

This book was good. Not great. But good. I read it after reading Persepolis because I wanted to know more about Iran. The book is Azar Nafisi's memoir of her time living and working in Iran as a professor of English literature. She is fired from the university for refusing to wear the veil, but continues to teach devoted students out of her home in a secretive book group. The book dragged on a bit and that is what made it good but not great. If you want to read it, go ahead, but I am not jumping up and down insisting you should. 

Book 31/52: Prayers for the Stolen by Jennifer Clement

I read this book in a matter of hours while taking refuge in a backpacking tent, hiding from a swarm of mosquitoes. I really appreciated this book. It tells the story of a girl growing up in one of Mexico's most dangerous mountain towns; almost all the girls have to pretend to be boys to keep from being kidnapped by the drug cartel. I appreciate this book because of the subtle strength and tenacity shown in the women characters, even in the most unjust situations. This novel also contains fascinating metaphors and some touches of magical realism. I definitely recommend it. 

Book 32/52: The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver

Now this was weird, I usually love Barbara Kingsolver's work. Not this time though; I did not enjoy this book at all. So much that I didn't finish it (but I am counting it as read because I read over 75% of it). This book is where Kentucky, Tuscon, and a Central American refugee crisis meet in a poorly written novel, wrapped in an ignorant, white-washed bow. The main character is beyond annoying; she is like a living and breathing embodiment of white guilt and ignorance, so "shocked" by the horrors of the lives of Central American refugee. At one point, after a Guatemalan man confesses a horror from his past, she ends weeping and confessing how guilty she feels about her white life, then the man comforts her. GROSS! I just couldn't with this book. Don't read it. I have the Poisenwood Bible on my list, hopefully it isn't as awful as this train wreck of a book.