I would tell you the story about how I managed to get a copy of this book for free, but I don't want anyone at the bookstore to get in trouble, so I gI would tell you the story about how I managed to get a copy of this book for free, but I don't want anyone at the bookstore to get in trouble, so I guess I won't. Which I suppose means I actually have to talk about the story instead. Geisha is about an "artificial" girl raised with a human family in a world where most artificials exist in some sort of service profession (the fact that she is artificial is somehow instantly recognized by most people in this world, who frequenty assume she is a prostitute.) Trained as a bodyguard with her brothers, she's trying to make a living as an artist until the prospect of not being able to pay rent forces her to beg for a job from her father in the family business. Which is of course where our story starts.
As much as I enjoyed this story, I think my comic collection is now fully saturated with cutesy girl comics. I need something by Alan Moore or Joe Sacco next. Or maybe some old Gaiman that I still don't have......more
I was finally motivated to pull this weighty tome down off of the shelf after an intriguing review by my sister of Hrdy's most recent work: Mothers anI was finally motivated to pull this weighty tome down off of the shelf after an intriguing review by my sister of Hrdy's most recent work: Mothers and Others. An anthropologist, Hrdy uses human history, observations of our closest evolutionary relatives, and even social insects to examine what is really the true nature of motherhood. As a feminist, she is perhaps not surprised to find that much of what we have traditionally viewed as natural maternal behavior is in fact wishful thinking.
I found this book incredibly impressive and profoundly influential. Many times I've found both Andrew and I reciting anecdotes and arguments from this book in discussions on gender and parenting. (There were quite a number of sections I just had to read aloud to Andrew.)
Though I didn't always agree with her every point, I look forward to reading other work by Hrdy, and will continue to recommend her far and wide. ...more
Nikki Giovanni won my heart years ago with her collection Love Poems. I read this book somewhere, borrowed from someone or someplace, but then had toNikki Giovanni won my heart years ago with her collection Love Poems. I read this book somewhere, borrowed from someone or someplace, but then had to get a copy of my own, mostly for the poem "Road Rage," though there is so much other fabulousness in this book, and even "Road Rage" itself is made more fabulous by all the other poems that continue and expand on its story of the developers who destroy the little natural area behind her house. ...more
It's hard to say when my relationship to this novel began. But let's begin with the list. My most recent goodreads project (I always have a project),It's hard to say when my relationship to this novel began. But let's begin with the list. My most recent goodreads project (I always have a project), has been tagging all the books from Bookslut's 100 Best Books of the 20th century. I don't remember how it started -- perhaps a question on Facebook from Bloomsbury Review about how often one read current books versus classics. And now here I am, butting heads agains the Bookslut 100 yet again (Why, oh why, did we ever decide to include plays?). But why did I fixate on this novel in particular? Perhaps it was Michael Schaub's enthusiastic review, it was also partly a residual effect from all those hours I spent pouring over the Eighth Day Books catalog in my early twenties. Whatever the reasons, they were strong enough to send me on a very directed mission to the bookstore in a torrential downpour.
This book did not disappoint.
It's one of those books that I have a hard time writing about intelligently. It's just too good. From the very first page I had that sensation of trust that comes from relaxing into a book that has been written by a master of the form. As the narrator, who is also a novelist, sets up the story, it is obvious both that Greene understands people and understands novels. But of course, if he didn't, he wouldn't have the reputation that he does, no would his works appear on so many lists of modern classics.
So, of course I don't aim to add to the scholarly discourse on this novel. My personal response: it was certainly interesting to read this story of religious conversion (and how religious love is entwined with romantic love) in the midst of my current estrangement from religion. Indeed, any moments of distance from this book I had were the result of trying to insert my current experience into the book to argue, which of course didn't work.
Despite that small dissonance, I was still blown away by this novel. I want to go to Eighth Day books and buy Greene's complete works. Except I'm not allowed to buy any more books until 2014. Drat....more
I don't really recall how this book made its way into my collection. Though given the topic, I suspect my sister, Jessa, may have been involved. ThisI don't really recall how this book made its way into my collection. Though given the topic, I suspect my sister, Jessa, may have been involved. This book is a collection of essays about what life was like for women in Eastern Europe under Communist regimes. These stories are mostly about deprivation: sharing small apartments with multiple families, the changing availability of toilet paper, repairing nylons over and over and over again, hoarding food, supplies, even plastic bags, because you never know when they will disappear from the stores. A Western reporter visits, and notes in her article as a sign of their deprivation that women still wash their clothing in tubs of boiling water here, and Drakulić is annoyed, devoting an entire essay to laundry.
There is some devoted to the consequences of communism that are already familiar to us -- the censors, the party line, the extensive wire-tapping, the government-controlled media. But precisely because these are the known stories, Drakulić brings them all back to how they affect women. It takes a while to sink in that no matter how many Cold Ware movies we've seen, no matter how many fat Russian novels we've read, these stories are new. Even now, ten years after it was written, this book is still a revelation.
Spoiler: There's not really a whole lot of laughter. ...more
Okay. So, after my last X-Men paperback, I decided I was going to go back to the very beginning of that universe/reboot, and read the whole thing in oOkay. So, after my last X-Men paperback, I decided I was going to go back to the very beginning of that universe/reboot, and read the whole thing in order. I researched online and found issue #1 of that series, and put a hold at the library for that (this) trade paperback. I was pretty happy with this plan.
This plan sucked. Issue #1 it may have been, but still it was a jump-in to already existing plotlines and characters, with very little introduction to either. I did finally figure out who that lone gambler was in the New Orleans story in Fables, but I still don't know why I should care about him. Rogue was somewhere in between the wilting flower of the movies and the badass she becomes later in this series. I tried to find a character I really liked, but after several too many thong shots and seriously, I don't care if they do just have ginormous breasts, when they're fighting they would want those babies strapped down and not projecting straight out like glue-gunned on cantaloupes, I was all too happy when the story came to an end.
This experiment is over for now. There are too many comics series I actually like, I can let go of the superhero comics for now. ...more
Reading the newspapers or watching the daily news on TV, it's easy to come to the conclusion that in regards(review originally published on Bookslut)
Reading the newspapers or watching the daily news on TV, it's easy to come to the conclusion that in regards to evolution, the people of America belong to two highly polarized camps. In one corner, you have the Godless scientists, supporters of evolution, genetic engineering, and cloning, determined to stomp out all last vestiges of religion from American culture, and make life over in their own images. In the other, evangelistic fundamentalists, proponents of a 6,000 year-old Earth, a 7 24-hour day creation, and Noah's flood as the cause of the Grand Canyon, determined to institute religious law and bring about the rapture. The only people in the middle seem to be apathetic and don't care one way or another. Each new headline ratchets up the tension and increases the stakes, until it seems that it must have always been this way, science and religion locked in conflict over the future of the human race ever since Darwin stepped off of the Beagle.
Thankfully, we have Peter J. Bowler, professor of the history of science from Queen's University in Belfast, to bring us some much needed perspective. His remarkable little book, Monkey Trials and Gorilla Sermons, goes back to the first pre-Darwinian inklings that life on earth may not always have been as it appears today, and traces the conversation about the origins of man and their implications through the ages to the present day. Even the most familiar events along this journey are illuminated afresh by Bowler's use of current historical research. For example, the famous crushing of Samuel Wilberforce, bishop of Oxford, by scientist Thomas Huxley at the 1860 meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, when Huxley declared that he would rather have an ape for an ancestor than a man who misused his intelligence to attack a theory he didn't understand. According to modern understanding, this event was invented by later followers of Darwin. In reality, there was no decisive victory on that day. Darwin's theory of evolution was accepted very gradually by the scientific community. In time, parts of his theory were even accepted by most religious thinkers, until the return to tradionalism in many Christian movements led to fresh attacks, particularly on the teaching of evolution, in the early twentieth century. Though it wasn't until well the 1950s and '60s that even the more unpopular materialist aspects of Darwinism were accepted by the majority of the scientific community, setting a far different stage for the current conflict.
The final section of the book is devoted to the modern debates. Bowler links the rise of intelligent design and young-Earth creationism with the rise of fundamentalism worldwide. A brief discussion on the social forces that are making fundamentalism so appealing to so many these days, and why any fundamentalist movement would necessarily be opposed to the scientific theory of evolution, is enough to make any liberal fall into despair. On the other side, a few modern evolutionary scientists have grown so hostile to any form of religion that one has even gone so far as to declare all of the world's religions a danger to humanity. But thankfully, that is not where the book ends. For much of the history of this debate, there were many movements in Christianity that tried to accept some version of evolution, but the final breaking point was always natural selection as the primary mechanism. There were those who could accept common ancestors, who could accept random variation, but when it came to natural selection, most of these Christians simply replaced this with God. It's not too surprising, for decades natural selection made even the most avowed Darwinists nervous. This partial acceptance made these theologies easy to criticize for both scientists and more conservative Christians. However, today there are a number of religious thinkers who are able to reconcile their visions of God and Christ with all of evolutionary theory. Indeed, a few have even suggested that a universe ruled by natural selection is the only possible universe in which intelligent creatures with free will could emerge. They have thus made the modern theory of evolution essential to their theology.
What is made most clear from this book is that our ideas about the nature of the human race and the universe in which we live are always changing. We will probably never come to some static interpretation of how the world is and why, but this book gives me faith that we have some good directions to move in....more
While at the Art Institute in Chicago, Jessa & I saw Nilima Sheikh's exhibit, "Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams." There was a lot of text intWhile at the Art Institute in Chicago, Jessa & I saw Nilima Sheikh's exhibit, "Each Night Put Kashmir in Your Dreams." There was a lot of text interwoven in the art, and Jessa and I had some divergent opinions about the appropriateness of such intermingling. I came down in favor of the text. The exhibit itself was inspired by poetry, particularly the poem, "I see Kashmir from Ne Delhi at Midnight" by Ali. I was intrigued by the exhibition, so when I saw a collection of Ali's poems in the museum store I snatched it up.
These poems are a roller coaster (that mostly goes down). They will make you miss your home even if you've fled it. They will make you despair the idea of your home being destroyed by war. They will make you yearn temporarily for something so "romantic" as being a war exile and then immediately feel like an utter ass for ever entertaining such a thought.
What I knew about Kashmir before this was almost nothing, and now I want to know more, especially some of the religion and mythology alluded to. I'd no idea Kashmir could have ever been thought Persian (I thought Persia = Old Iran). Why did I never take world history? I should read more Lal Ded.
I love best the poem "Farewell": "They make a desolation and call it peace." "We can't ask them: Are you done with the world?" "My memory keeps getting in the way of your history."
But they are all wonderful. They all tighten something in my chest and twist my mouth. Beautiful. Heartbreaking. ...more
This was one of the texts from a poetry class that I took in college. I the class and enjoyed the book. I have tried a few other poetry writing guidesThis was one of the texts from a poetry class that I took in college. I the class and enjoyed the book. I have tried a few other poetry writing guides since then, but have liked none so well as this....more
I was at the library with Solomon, mostly just to return all our library books and pick up a hold before we went on vacation, when I saw the danger siI was at the library with Solomon, mostly just to return all our library books and pick up a hold before we went on vacation, when I saw the danger sign: The Book Burrow was open. New plan: load up on cheap library discards to keep the kids entertained in the car. We ended up buying eight books. Clearly, this was one. I snatched it off the shelf, delighted. It had been years and years and years since I had read Hopeless Savages. I couldn't remember where I had left off or had any idea where in relation to this story that might be, but I figured it would be a diverting vacation read in any case.
Somehow, this book is exactly where I left off. In fact, the last issue I read was the first one included in this collection. Perfect!
This volume is mostly about Arsenal Fierce. If you're not already familiar with the Hopeless-Savage clan, Arsenal is the oldest daughter of retired punk rockers Dirk Hopeless & Nikki Savage. She runs a martial arts dojo, and the story of this volume takes place on a trip to Hong Kong for a match.
This series is fun. It features many girls and women who kick ass in all kinds of ways, a fierce punk rock ethos, a functional and relatable gay couple (ten years later, that's still hard to find in comics -- what's up with that?), spies, chase scenes, some great reversals, and, can I say it one more time? Strong women.
Recommended to fans of punk and girls who take names. Also, if you like Scott Pilgrim, read this!...more
(This is not the version of the book I read. My edition is an Oxford Classic predating ISBNs.)
Book reading in this house really slowed down here for a(This is not the version of the book I read. My edition is an Oxford Classic predating ISBNs.)
Book reading in this house really slowed down here for a while, not because I wasn't reading, but because I was taking a 10 week Modern Poetry course online. I read nearly nothing else. Except this, slowly. Motivated by what I felt was an underperformance on a bunch of those "How Many of These Classics Have You Read?" memes going around Facebook, I tossed this into my bag for my homecoming trip. While Memoirs wasn't on any of those lists, any Dostoyevsky should raise my book nerd cred, right?
As it turns out, Memoirs is a strange sort of book. It's more of a series of character studies and recollections than anything with a forward-driving narrative, which contributed to the slowness with which I finished it. Whenever I was reading it, I enjoyed it, remarked on its insightfulness, pondered its ramifications for humanity in general and not just those living in a Siberian prison. But whenever I had to put it down, it was easy to leave it there -- especially during my overextended weeks of my ModPo class.
This book is remarkable both for the clarity of Dostoyevsky's descriptions and also for the amazing chasm between how prisoners are treated in this book and how they are treated now in the U.S. Not that I think modern prisoners should be flogged... But still. Everything must change....more