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Quarterly Challenges > Alwynne Q4 Non-fiction challenge 2020

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message 1: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I tend to plan what I want to read and then go off track. So my initial list's tentative, not fixed:

Anne Boyer's The Undying

Carolyne Larrington's The Land of the Green Man: A Journey Through the Supernatural Landscapes of the British Isles

Yasmin Khan's The Raj at War: A People’s History of India’s Second World War

Vivien Gornick's Approaching Eye Level

Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals

Banine's Days in the Caucasus

Natalia Ginzburg's The Little Virtues

Patricia Albers's Shadows, Fire, Snow: The Life of Tina Modotti


message 2: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I've read two of Boyer's previous books she's a poet, critic and fiercely feminist and politically committed and the mix of influences produces a kind of writing that seems fairly unique.

The Larrington sounds informative but also quite accessible, I reread Susan Cooper's 'The Dark is Rising' series frequently as well as Alan Garner's work but I don't have a very clear idea of the folklore that they draw on for their stories.

Despite my heritage I've read very little Indian history and Khan's work's well-regarded.

Gornick is another writer I'm already familiar with, so keen to read more by her.

Audre Lorde again I admire and I've seen references to this in essays/articles.

Banine sounds a little like Teffi and again it's an area of the world/period of history I've read about and this offers a very different perspective.

Natalia Ginzburg's someone I've been meaning to read, and I've read some reviews that make these essays sound unmissable.

Rachel Holmes's Eleanor Marx: A Life was a surprise favourite, brilliantly written, so looking forward to her new book. The Pankhurst's particularly exciting as overlaps with a period I'm already interested in, but it's vast so not sure when I can fit it in...

I love Tina Modotti's work, but never read a formal account of her life.


message 3: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) | 637 comments Looks like a lot of fine learning ahead for you, Alwynne.


message 4: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments Possibly! Was talking about reading choices with another GR friend and the fact that a lot of the contemporary fiction I've tried recently hasn't worked for me, I've found the writing/prose style disappointing, or a lot of themes/topics just not that engaging. At least with non-fiction there's some kind of guaranteed return in investing time in terms of different social/cultural/historical perspectives...


message 6: by Alwynne (last edited Nov 06, 2020 06:01AM) (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I've just finished Audre Lorde's The Cancer Journals very powerful and very readable, link to my review here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...

I'm currently reading Anne Boyer's The Undying which refers to Lorde's work, so thought I'd read it before continuing with Boyer.


message 7: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I've also just read So Mayer's (non-binary author) essay A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing fascinating account of Nazi suppression of 'queer and non-normative' cultures, as well as a call to arms to resist cultural erasure both past and present. Link to my review here:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 8: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I've just finished Letters from Tove Letters from Tove by Tove Jansson , I've been dipping in and out of these and really enjoyed them, the style, the insight into Tove Jansson's life and work. Highly recommended.

Link to my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 9: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 2093 comments Mod
Alwynne wrote: "I've also just read So Mayer's (non-binary author) essay A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing fascinating account of Nazi suppression of 'queer and non-normative' cultures, as well as a cal..."

I thought they simply rounded them up and killed them, as with the Romany and anyone with a disability. Was there suppression that allowed queer and non-normative persons to still live their lives?


message 10: by Alwynne (last edited Nov 25, 2020 10:44AM) (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments Carol wrote: "Alwynne wrote: "I've also just read So Mayer's (non-binary author) essay A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing fascinating account of Nazi suppression of 'queer and non-normative' cultures, ..."

Mayer's focusing on the ways that the culture that flourished under Weimar was targeted and slowly destroyed in the years leading up to the camps. The PR campaign, of a kind, to justify subsequent persecution and discredit ideas/movements linked to this area of culture. Does that help? Do you think the review needs to be clearer on that?


message 11: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments Realised my reply sounded a bit abrupt Carol, was trying to do too many things at once. I think that what Mayer's interested in is how these groups come to be marginalised and turned into the object of hate in such a way that they could be victimised and in the case of Nazi Germany murdered. Particularly as not that long before they had been able to live fairly openly and freely in Weimar-era Germany.


message 12: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 2093 comments Mod
Alwynne wrote: "Carol wrote: "Alwynne wrote: "I've also just read So Mayer's (non-binary author) essay A Nazi Word for a Nazi Thing fascinating account of Nazi suppression of 'queer and non-normati..."

Thanks; that totally makes sense and I appreciate the additional explanation. I wasn’t thinking at all critically of your review and can’t imagine that it’s lacking, knowing how thoughtful your reviews are.


message 13: by Carol (new)

Carol (carolfromnc) | 2093 comments Mod
Alwynne wrote: "Realised my reply sounded a bit abrupt Carol, was trying to do too many things at once. I think that what Mayer's interested in is how these groups come to be marginalised and turned into the objec..."

Not at all. No worries.


message 14: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments Thanks Carol appreciate it! And glad that helped clarify things.


message 15: by Alwynne (last edited Dec 05, 2020 06:29PM) (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments My fourth completed book for this is Emma Donoghue's Inseparable: Desire Between Women in Literature

Link to my review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 16: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments My fifth book is a brief, childhood memoir by H. D. The Gift

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 17: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments Gamel Woolsey's memoir of living through the Spanish Civil War, Death's Other Kingdom

Link to review:

https://www.goodreads.com/review/show...


message 18: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) | 637 comments You've done so well on this challenge, Alwynne. The Gift sounds really good.


message 19: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments I cheated a bit by opting for short and/or easy to get through books! But I was pleased to read as many as I have, and thanks : ) I really liked 'The Gift' turned out to be far more seasonal than I'd realised. Everything okay with you? Lots of gloom and doom here as Christmas either cancelled or cut back but planning to work my way through reading, although weird not seeing various people.


message 20: by Story (new)

Story (storyheart) | 637 comments I'm fine; thanks for asking! Not a huge Christmas fan so it's actually been a relief to have a low-expectation, guilt-free 'festive' season.


message 21: by Alwynne (new)

Alwynne | 944 comments No me neither, exhausting, expensive plus I don't like alchohol that much. I forgot to add that Gamel Woolsey was the niece of the woman who wrote the Katy books, made me wonder if I should reread them at some point.


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