Imagine

We think of ourselves as civilization accomplished, but I’ve come to believe that we’re not even close to civilized yet—rather, we’re just barely out of our infancy as a species. Civilization means “an advanced stage of social development and organization,” and while the present is nearly always more advanced than the past, “more advanced” is…

Will Everyone Complaining About “Identity Politics” Please Shut Up

I don’t understand how white intellectuals are so dense on the subject of “identity politics.” Sam Harris was the first to frustrate me (he’s done it again recently), and a little while ago I read this whole piece at Brain Pickings on the tragedy of “imprisoning ourselves in the fractal infinity of our ever-subdividing identities,…

We Were Eight Years in Power, by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Five stars, read in November 2017. This book covers the eight years of Barack Obama’s presidency. For each year, there is an article Coates wrote for The Atlantic, preceded by an essay (“a sort of extended blog post,” I think is how he describes it) in which he looks back on his own work and assesses…

And Marian Was Wounded Sore

Written in January 2014. A few years ago I was watching Robin Hood with my family, the 2010 version with Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. During that scene at the end where Marian joins the battle on the beach, I heard my dad—ever the selective movie critic—say something about how of course, they never would…

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah, read April 30 – May 1, 2014 I go back and forth between 4 and 5 stars, I think because the ending didn’t have as much of an impact as I was expecting. But then I remember how I basically devoured this book, loving every minute that I was reading, feeling completely absorbed and…

The Origin of Others, by Toni Morrison

Four stars, read in December 2017. When I think back on this book, the anecdote I remember is the one Morrison shares about coming across a woman near the fence on her property. The scene of their meeting is peaceful and friendly (because fences are “where the most interesting things always happen”), and Morrison’s thoughts…

The Essential Dykes to Watch Out For, by Alison Bechdel

Five stars, read in July 2014. For the first 50 pages it seemed like I wasn’t making any progress—it’s one of those books that looks longer than it is, so you feel like it will never end. Once I got to the last hundred or so pages, I was hoping it never would. It’s funny, really, because several of…

What Happened, by Hillary Rodham Clinton 

Four stars, or maybe 3.5, read in September 2017. I haven’t actually spoken to many people about Hillary Clinton, because I try not to for my own sanity. But when I have, and when I’ve read articles and books about her, they have almost never—the “almost” might not even be necessary—been entirely reasonable. Hillary has said…

An Autobiography, by Angela Davis

Five stars, read in April 2017. Yes, once again a post has taken me this long to write. For years I have been meaning to find out more about Angela Davis, and as so often happens, now that I’ve finally met her books I cannot believe it took me so long—or that in all my reading, she’s…

Books for People Who Wonder Why Everything Is So Fucked Up

Because that’s what I’ve been reading for several years now, but this year, it’s almost all I can read. Rather than explain in advance, because I am on the verge of developing carpal tunnel after a week and a half spent cataloging Vietnamese books for the library, I will just put this random collection here—if you’re wondering…

My Goodbye Post to Facebook

I’m reading a lot to try and figure out why the world is the way it is. I can’t say it makes me feel much better, but it does help—if you can’t fix what’s wrong, at least being able to name it allows you to stay sane. The last book I finished was The Age…

Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde

Four stars, read in March and April 2017. I have meant to read Audre Lorde for so long, and now that I have, I see the irony of it having been her prose that I read first, and not her poetry. Poetry was everything to Lorde, not just a form of art but a framework…

Women, Race and Class, by Angela Davis

Five stars, read in March 2017. Yes, it took me that long to write this post. Note: I got my copy of this book through interlibrary loan and used it long enough to transcribe all the quotes I wanted to share, but I no longer have access to the book. All the actual text should…

Dietland, by Sarai Walker

Three and a half stars, read in March 2017. This book was a strange mix of things. I loved the premise and the protagonist’s character development, but was a little confused and unsatisfied by the progression and conclusion of the Jennifer storyline. In the first place, it seemed weird to me that the protagonist was…

Chin Up, Claws Out

I went to the Women’s March in Austin, and it was the most okay I have felt since November. It was an amazing day, and I drained my phone’s entire battery in a few hours because I couldn’t stop taking pictures. The diversity, the signs, the almost 50,000 people. Seeing my sweet nieces holding up…

We Should All Be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie 

Four stars, read in January 2017 (though I watched the TEDTalk it’s based on at least a couple years ago). I hadn’t technically read this yet because it’s essentially a transcript of that TEDTalk. But we just got a few brand new copies of it at the library, so I took it home and it…

FABC Challenge 2016

Challenge page at the Female Authors Book Club on Goodreads. My 2015 FABC Challenge summary. 1. A work of fiction Black Rabbit Hall, by Eve Chase The Miniaturist, by Jessie Burton My Name is Lucy Barton, by Elizabeth Strout The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry, by Rachel Joyce 2. A work of non-fiction Dark Money: The Hidden History…

Juliet Takes a Breath, by Gabby Rivera

Four stars, maybe five. Read in December 2016. I’d been excited about this book for a while, and there was a surprise right up front because for some reason—because of the glorious cover design—I had thought it was a graphic novel. It is not. It has a very self-published look underneath that fabulous cover, which was…

Fear of Flying, by Erica Jong

Four stars, read in December 2016. This was fascinating, though slightly different than I expected. I’d had the impression that the protagonist leaves her marriage and goes through a process of sexual liberation meeting many men—but it’s actually just one man, and that sort of changes the dynamic. It’s also surprisingly heavy on the Freudian psychology…

Shrill: Notes From a Loud Woman, by Lindy West

Five stars, read in August 2016. This was every bit as brilliant as I knew it would be. I kept track of so many quotes I wanted to share, and by quotes I mean chapters, basically. I should probably just link to “Hello, I Am Fat,” because every word of it is gold, and I…

It’s Time For More Women of Color in Comic Book Movies — PANELS

It’s official: we’re all mad for Black Panther. You could argue, if you wanted, that people’s enormous reaction to Black Panther’s inclusion in Captain America: Civil War indicates just how thirsty fans are for representation in comics and related media. And even as we celebrate an awesome showing of an awesome character in a huge…