Here's the thing about bell hooks. I love her. I don't agree with her all the time and I really don't have the... I guess emotional fortitude to be asHere's the thing about bell hooks. I love her. I don't agree with her all the time and I really don't have the... I guess emotional fortitude to be as angry as she is. I mean, I admire it; I just know that I don't have that in me.
This book is a collection of essays where Ms. hooks talks about how being angry at systems of oppression and how our need to internalize and stifle that anger is yet another system of oppression. Unfortunately for angry people, being angry isn't necessarily healthy, either. So the book is always seemingly trapped in that space.
bell hooks is pretty awesome. Read it if you want to get mad. ...more
In this book, bell hooks has a piece on Madonna and why she's culturally insensitive and socially irresponsible. I first read that piece in 2001, wellIn this book, bell hooks has a piece on Madonna and why she's culturally insensitive and socially irresponsible. I first read that piece in 2001, well before her much-publicized and maligned baby-swiping. The essay is dated; it talks a lot about Truth Or Dare and Madonna's rise to stardom. And at the time, I thought, "She's definitely a poser, but I don't know if she's worth the vitriol, bell!"
Six years later, I absolutely believe she's worth the vitriol. And I say this as a fan.
This book is pretty awesome; it talks about how racist ideologies affect our daily interactions and our sexual perceptions. It definitely shaped how I saw people I've dated and how I choose my friends. Of course, I have to offer my usual bell hooks disclaimer, which is that I don't always agree with her... but I do like her a lot and enjoy reading what she has to say. ...more
This is one of my favorites. It's not my favorite, because I had completely forgotten about it until I saw someone else had put it in their list, butThis is one of my favorites. It's not my favorite, because I had completely forgotten about it until I saw someone else had put it in their list, but it's definitely in my top five. Wait. Top ten; I haven't read it in nearly ten years. But I assume I still like it as much as I did.
Everybody knows the story by now, so I won't recap it. But I will say that the best part of the book is when you find out that the glove Curley wears all the time is filled with vaseline to "keep [his] hand soft" for his wife! Isn't that the nastiest shit?! That's been a running joke with my more literary friends since we read it. Oh my god, that's the most horrifying thing. And it's not even that it's nasty itself (unless, of course, you think a glove full of vaseline is nasty) but it keeps making me think of Burt Reynolds in Striptease, where he's walking around with vaseline in his boots because he likes how it feels squishing between his toes. Which is definitely nasty.
Anyway, fun fact: Apparently there was a tv movie version of Of Mice and Men, and Ted Neeley played Curley. Ted Neeley, of course, is my *boyfriend* and most well-known for playing Jesus in the 1973 film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. He kept that hand soft for *me*. I just saw him live the other day, and the man is 64 and hits those fucking high notes like he's eating Cheerios. A-plus.
This review stopped being about the book a long time ago, didn't it?...more
The most unfortunate thing about this book is that the chick who wrote it is amazing at first lines. The first lines of her stories are ALL killer. AnThe most unfortunate thing about this book is that the chick who wrote it is amazing at first lines. The first lines of her stories are ALL killer. And as a writer, I know how hard it is to get that perfect first sentence.
The rest of the stories drag on for what seems like years. You're reading and thinking to yourself, "I thought this was a collection of SHORT STORIES and you realize that, yeah, you've only read eight pages... but it felt like twenty and you haven't really gone anywhere. I'm probably being too harsh because she definitely has her moments, but I would be a liar if I said I didn't put it down and not finish it in a fit of rage.
And you know who can't get a book deal? Yours truly! So upsetting. Hey, I bought her book; guess the joke's on me....more
This is pretty funny overall; it's a collection of diary entries written by a poor college student in Philly. The author now writes for Scrubs, so herThis is pretty funny overall; it's a collection of diary entries written by a poor college student in Philly. The author now writes for Scrubs, so her days of brokeness are probably over.
The bad: She won't shut up about going to Penn and how Ivy League she is. Some of us who managed to somehow not be Ivy League grads are pretty darn smart and capable. I know this because I was accepted to Columbia but declined to go to my non-Ivy alma mater, and I don't think I could've gotten a more brilliant, funnier, more adept group of friends.
She also has terrible money management skills; like she talks about going to the club and buying drinks. Maybe I'm just a cheap bastard (something I've been accused of on more than one occasion) but I just can't imagine spending money I don't have on drinks at the club. Of course, I also don't drink, but even if I did... one drink is like eight bucks! Do you know what eight bucks can buy you? A couple of times I found myself completely dumbfounded by her decisions. But hey, it makes for good reading....more
David Roediger has a mullet but I still like him a lot. All of his books are really straightforward about what point he's trying to get across, and thDavid Roediger has a mullet but I still like him a lot. All of his books are really straightforward about what point he's trying to get across, and there's no pussyfooting. He believes that whiteness is a social construction created in opposition to blackness/Otherness, and its sole purpose is to terrorize and oppress. He's white, but he also makes it clear he has no investment in this thing called "whiteness", and that's what keeps him from getting defensive when we talk about things like race privilege.
He's a good guy.
Anyway, he didn't write this book, but he did compile and edit it. It's a collection of essays, artwork, poems, prose, and deep thoughts by black intellectuals, activists, and icons on what "whiteness" entails and how it came to exist historically. My only complaint is that it's kind of meandering and there's no real order to things, but it also introduced me to people like Nell Painter, who I now love. Pick it up if you don't have time to read the cultural criticism canon; it's kind of like a Cliff's Notes in that respect....more