Julio Genao's Reviews > Rivers of London

Rivers of London by Ben Aaronovitch
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Recommended to Julio by: Erika

city people be like:

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first of all, i wasn't too keen on what happens to lesley, but i guess you can't make an omelette without—

*ducks flung shoe*

anyway.

this painfully-white guy i used to know read this book too, and he said aaronovitch's handling of race annoyed him, because while there is awesomeness like various london water goddesses being nigerians, aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.

and it's true, mostly. that's gross.

usually.

but somehow, i got through this book and all the way through the next one in the series without once being offended by that stuff.

i noted it; read up on the author's background; but mostly i was just like... hah, yeah, all the nigerians i ever met were totally like that.

i think a certain thing happens to you when you live in a huge, multicultural city like london (or nyc) that entitles you to a kind of bald and horrendously un-PC pragmatism about our differences that some people (who don't happen to grow up living on top of one another in a glorious shitpile of cultures) never have a reason to develop.

it's not something i'm proud of, exactly—not exactly—but life in a place like that encourages a certain... a certain...

well, look.

when someone in the neighborhood asks me where to buy bootlegged (and thus cheaper) cigarettes, i send them to "the arabs."

it's just a thing.

that we do here.

it sounds gross, but ...the place is literally run by arabs. and all places like it in this city are almost always run by arabs. like, that's where one goes. to the arabs. and everyone here knows what that means.

when you want some twee macrobiotic coconut water shit, you go to the korean market.

a greasy spoon: a greek diner named for athena or zeus or whatever.

a bag of chips and a sandwich: your local dominican bodega, of course. (ayo, bodega cat! get off muh chipz, ok! i'm rilly serious this time!)

diamonds?

you bettuh believe your goyim ass is going to the jews.

and just you try to catch a yellow cab not driven by a south asian dude. (the 'gypsy' cabs are all driven by dominicans, which i know not just because i live here, but because i am a dominican and i literally used to be a dominican gypsy cab driver. and yes disappointed drunk people on their way home from bars or clubs often ask to pay their fare in blowjobs)

so as a native new yorker in love with new york, i appreciated aaronovitch's plainly visible love for his london in just those ways. and while i've never lived there, i can certainly believe everything he wrote about it.

i recognized new york in it.

i felt like i got it, the racial side-stuff, and nothing bothered me about it, especially since i was pretty much over the moon with having a mixed-race MC and various non-punchline queers and very strong female characters to boot.

the mystery isn't bad at all; its your basic paranormal police procedural, and i'm really happy i read it, as it diverted my feeble mind during a difficult time—

trying to quit going to the arabs for cigarettes.

------------

PS: hilariously, it is somehow also NYC convention to pronounce "arabs" like an appalachian hillbilly or something, for no reason i can fathom. as in: "yo, i'm gonna go to the AE-rabz for a loosie, you want?"
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Reading Progress

May 20, 2013 – Shelved
May 20, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
June 21, 2013 – Shelved as: to-read
February 27, 2015 – Started Reading
February 27, 2015 –
13.0% "did research on police procedural a back when I was trying to decide whether to be a suspense thriller writer \n \n this shit is good. \n \n plus one billion points for mixed-race hero"
March 2, 2015 – Finished Reading

Comments Showing 1-46 of 46 (46 new)

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message 1: by Pam (new) - added it

Pam Faste aka Peejakers Ooh, this sounds good. I remember looking at this blurb before. Possibly I bought it. Hmm. It's pretty bad that I don't know what's on my Kindle :/


Julio Genao I have the same problem. I end up searching for everything because it takes too long to scroll


message 3: by Mel (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mel This really sounds good :-) Especially since I have it on my to-read pile already...

And nice 'anecdote' about NYC and living in international cities :-) I can relate...


Sadie Forsythe This makes me want to come to NYC (or London, but I've done London) and I'm generally not a big city girl. I like my people far away.


Julio Genao my sis says toronto is the same way, and when i visited montreal i spent the cab ride from the rail terminal listening to a guyanese radio station. it was just like home :-P


Ije the Devourer of Books I have to read this. Just to see what he said about Nigerians. Naija peepal. We run tings!!!


Julio Genao TINGZ NO RUN WE


Julio Genao those were hysterical. IT WILL NOT BETTER FOR YOU!!!!

but the smack in the second one made me laugh so hard I farted a little bit


Ije the Devourer of Books I know. The funny thing is they kind of pick up what Nigerians would do or would like to do. The one with the names is just so real. Always happened to me in my UK schools. I never slapped any one. Not yet (evil grin).


Julio Genao I loved them. Thank you, sistah


Ije the Devourer of Books It was a pleasure my brodda :)


message 13: by Fangtasia (new)

Fangtasia Papiiiii! Are you trying to quit smoking? ZOMG! I totes know what you are going through, if that is the case.

Voy a ti y pago doble, mi niño hermoso.

I did it, cold-turkey, three years ago. Not something I'd ever go through again, which is why I'm not picking it again either. Still have on me the 50 lbs I gained, but I feel pretty good about having stopped and very grateful for the insights quitting gave me into myself. Among other things, it made me humble. I'll never judge a junkie again, ever.


Julio Genao you and me both. I still have the 50 from the first time I quit....


message 15: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir Did I send you this Blake Morrison poem before, Joolz? I love it.

Please, darling, no more diets.
I’ve heard the talk on why it’s
good for one’s self esteem. I watched you
jogging lanes and pounding treadmills.
I’ve even shed two kilos of my own.
But enough. What are love handles
between friends? For half a stone
it isn’t worth the sweat.
I’ve had it up to here with crisp bread.
I doubt the premise too.
Try and see it from my point of view.
I want not less but more of you.



Julio Genao d'aaaaaaaaw.


Sadie Forsythe I want to have it all fancified and printed/framed!


♣ Irish Smurfétté ♣ FAWESOME.


Ije the Devourer of Books That's a lovely poem. :)


MLE  Fabulous, and educational review. You know for those of use who grew up in places so small we snicker every time we have to fill out our town name in the city box on forms.


Nancy julio wrote: "i think a certain thing happens to you when you live in a huge, multicultural city like london (or nyc) that entitles you to a kind of bald and horrendously un-PC pragmatism about our differences that some people (who don't happen to grow up living on top of one another in a glorious shitpile of cultures) never have a reason to develop."

Very well said! So you can imagine how difficult it was for me to adjust to small-town NH (which was about 93% white at the time) after spending most of my childhood in the Bronx. I'm feeling like some EYE-talian food....


Julio Genao MLE wrote: "Fabulous, and educational review. You know for those of use who grew up in places so small we snicker every time we have to fill out our town name in the city box on forms."

thanks, mle! hope I didn't come off sounding too condescending. you know how every year half this city moves to Florida to die :-P


Julio Genao Nancy wrote: "I'm feeling like some EYE-talian food...."

dammit, now you have me gaggin for some, too. LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE


MLE  julio wrote: "MLE wrote: "Fabulous, and educational review. You know for those of use who grew up in places so small we snicker every time we have to fill out our town name in the city box on forms."

thanks, m..."


No, not at all.

Where they run into all the people from here that are there.


Sylvia You should listen to the audio and see if you don't add a star :)


Julio Genao Sylvia wrote: "You should listen to the audio and see if you don't add a star :)"

i think i may just do that. ije says the narrator's terrific


message 27: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir julio wrote: "Nancy wrote: "I'm feeling like some EYE-talian food...."

dammit, now you have me gaggin for some, too. LOOK WHAT YOU HAVE DONE"


I coincidentally had pizza with sundried tomatoes, portobello mushrooms, olives, and fresh basil for lunch.


Julio Genao boastful people be boastful, mai gah, so rude


Nancy Miriam wrote: "I coincidentally had pizza with sundried tomatoes, po..."

Did it look like this?



message 30: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir Kinda, but I made it myself so the crust wasn't great. I have not mastered pizza crust.


Julio Genao it's hard! some people say NYC pizza tastes like NYC pizza because of the unique mineral profile of our aquifers, which is where the water for the dough comes from.

i have no idea.

only that canadian pizza is hilarious

*flees*


message 32: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir I can believe that. I tried buying German rye and making bread at home but it tasted totally different.


Erika Ije the Devourer of Books wrote: "Here you are. Naija cartoons. :)



http://youtu.be/ArmTWTQWkKw
http://youtu.be/L6wagRZRC-k"


Lmfao!! That second one especially.

And Julio? You're so right about everything you said.


message 34: by Julio (last edited Nov 10, 2015 04:26AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Julio Genao thass right. deez country folk like that scandalized whitebread dude I mentioned? need ta reckanize


message 35: by Kalamah (new)

Kalamah when someone in the neighborhood asks me where to buy bootlegged (and thus cheaper) cigarettes, i send them to "the arabs."

As an Arab, I was almost (jokingly) offended... and then had a flashback to my collection of uncles and sundry and went, "...yeah, okay, fair point there" and promptly cracked up. It is definitely A Thing, and there's a long-running tradition that we do the 'smoking weird shit that smells weird, with weird colored smoke' thing too. And of course this is including the other traditions of 100+ year old wooden family heirloom hookahs I wasn't even allowed to breathe near, much less watch anyone use.

(I am willfully ignoring that unwritten internet rule of 'necro-commenting is bad' because it doesn't seem to apply to GR etiquette, thankfully. Still learning the ropes here as I settle in.)


Julio Genao nah, you're welcome to comment as ye see fit.

another thing that happens at the smoke shops here is they call you "my friend" and if you're pretentious or friendly (or both) you call them "habibi."

I've always wondered if they hated that.


message 37: by Mir (new) - rated it 3 stars

Mir The Arab guy at my gas station calls all men "My brother". (He doesn't speak to women unless it is absolutely unavoidable.)


Julio Genao ...awks


Kimberlyn "when you want some twee macrobiotic coconut water shit, you go to the korean market"

OMG, I love you. I grew up in NJ, but going into the city every weekend--you've so capped it! Thanks for a great review--I'm in the middle of reading the book, I am an AFAM woman, and I totally get what you mean!


Julio Genao hope you like it! I've inhaled the whole series and impatiently await the next installment :-)


Erika julio wrote: "hope you like it! I've inhaled the whole series and impatiently await the next installment :-)"

I can't wait, tbh.


message 42: by Chris Apolant (new)

Chris Apolant this painfully-white guy i used to know read this book too

aaronovitch himself is not nigerian, and people who speak authoritatively about races not their own are typically embarrassing and distasteful.


Such as yourself? I've had the misfortune of coming across your reviews on here before, and a shit load of them never fail to bring race, particularly your disdain for whites, into the mix.


Ije the Devourer of Books Well you do not have to read his reviews do you? This is Julio's space to express what he feels about this book, about race or about anything else! His reviews are not written to please you or anyone else.

Go and write your own review!


message 44: by Stuart (new) - added it

Stuart Dequincy The reviewer is spot on, it's not racism, it is more like understanding! I live in London one of the most multi-cultural cities in the world. All the dozens of ethnicities have their own idiosyncrasies, their own character. It is not stereotyping it is just their thing. Only residents of such an environment would understand. I myself love it, I can eat Caribean food one night, African the next. A kebab when I am drunk and chopsticks for Chinese....... boo yah. Yee Haa


Kaylee Chris Apolant being white and trying to be understanding of other races is a sin these days. But then so is being white and writing about white people. It’s exhausting trying to make these fuckers happy.


Kaylee Julio you’re a piece of shit


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