Love in the Time of Cholera by Marquez, Garcia Gabriel (Pearl Ruled)
The Shore of Women by Sargent, Pamela – read
When Will There Be Good News? by Atkinson, Kate – read (No Review)
The Book of Joan by Yuknavitch, Lidia – read (No Review)
Out of mesopotamia by Salar, Abdoh
In Search Of The Lost Chord: 1967 And The Hippie Idea by Goldberg, Danny
To Hold Up the Sky by Liu, Cixin
A Good Man Is Hard to Find and Other Stories by O’Connor, Flannery- read (No Review)
The Wives of Henry Oades by Moran, Johanna- read (No Review)
Spirits and Thieves by Rhodes, Morgan – read (No Review)
The Rush’s Edge by Smith, Ginger – read
The women’s revolution, Russia 1905-1917 by Cox, Judy – read
George Orwell Illustrated by Smith, David
Marx’s Capital by Smith, David -read
The Fire Next Time by Baldwin, James – read
Sex in the world of myth by Leeming, David Adams
The goddess by Leeming, David Adams
The conspiracy trial of the Chicago Seven by Schultz, John
A People’s History of the United States by Zinn, Howard – reading
The Weight of Ink by Kadish, Rachel – read
Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell by Clarke, Susanna
Thinking in Pictures by Grandin, Temple
My Beloved World by Sotomayor, Sonia
The Sirens of Titan by Vonnegut, Kurt
Super Heroes: A Modern Mythology by Reynolds, Richard – read (No Review)
The Relentless Moon by Kowal, Mary Robinette
The Language Of The Night by Le Guin, Ursula K.
Trapped in the Mirror: Adult Children of Narcissists in Their Struggle for Self by Golomb, Elan
Watchmen as literature by Van Ness, Sara J.- read (No Review)
Parable of the Sower by Butler, Octavia E.
Junk City by Boilard, Jon -read (No Review)
The Music Book by Osborn, Karen – read
Back to the wine jug by Taylor, Joe
Watchmen by Moore, Alan – read (No Review)
The Nickel Boys by Whitehead, Colson – read
The Water Dancer by Coates, Ta-Nehisi
Dark mirror by Gellman, Barton – read (No Review)
Playing in the Dark by Morrison, Toni
Peter, Paul and Mary Magdalene by Ehrman, Bart D.
Berkeley at War: The 1960s by Rorabaugh, W.J.
Things that can and cannot be said by Roy, Arundhati – read
Cinderella Liberator by Solnit, Rebecca – read
Berkeley: The Student Revolt by Draper, Hal – read
The Books of Earthsea by Le Guin, Ursula K.
Robert Duncan in San Francisco by Rumaker, Michael -read (No Review)
History as mystery by Parenti, Michael – read (No Review)
Feminisms redux by Edited by Warhol-Down, Robyn and Herndl, Diane Price
American Audacity: In Defense of Literary Daring by Giraldi, William
A Book of Book Lists by Johnson, Alex – read (No Review)
Becoming Superman by Straczynski, J. Michael
Howl on Trial by Morgan, Bill and Peters, Nancy Joyce – read (No Review)
Future Perfect: American Science Fiction of the Nineteenth Century by Franklin, H. Bruce
Legends edited by Silverberg, Robert – read (No Review)
Six Memos for the Next Millennium by Calvino, Italo Why I Read by Lesser, Wendy
Side Life by Toutonghi, Steve – read (No Review)
This is how You Lose the Time War by El-Mohtar, Amal and Gladstone, Max
The Future of Another Timeline by Newitz, Annalee – read
Gideon the Ninth by Muir, Tamsyn – read
Sixteenth Watch by Cole, Myke – read (No Review)
The City In The Middle Of The Night by Anders, Charlie Jane – read
The Lost War by Anderson, Justin – read (No Review)
Small days and nights by Tishani, Doshi – read
The Shadow King by Mengiste, Maaza – read
Mickey Mouse: From Walt to the World by Deja, Andreas
Title: The Women’s Revolution
Author: Judy Cox
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publisher Blurb: The dominant view of the Russian Revolution of 1917 is of a movement led by prominent men like Vladimir Lenin and Leon Trotsky. Despite the demonstrations of female workers for ‘bread and herrings’, which sparked the February Revolution, in most historical accounts of this momentous period, women are too often relegated to the footnotes. Judy Cox argues that women were essential to the success of the revolution and to the development of the Bolshevik Party.
A thousand years ago, in a place barely remembered, my pursuit of a history degree involved picking electives about places I didn’t know. Thus Russia, one quarter with a paper on the October 1917 Revolution led by golden boy Alexander Kerensky. In addition to the text, A History of Russia by Nicholas Valentine Riasanovsky, I read Robert K. Massie‘s biography of Peter the Great. Having learned a little about the Streltsy, revolutions, and communism, I moved on.
My search for identity leads me to delve into feminism and what it means to be a feminist. Along with my history degree, this brings a strain of “where are the women?” into my reading.
A book sale gives me The Women’s Revolution by Judy Cox. This slender book works as supplemental material to Russian histories, but cannot be considered a primary history book.
A brief summary of women in revolutionary history during the years 1905 – 1917 begins the book. The second part of the book is a list with brief biographies of the women mentioned in part 1. The Women’s Revolution stands as an addition to Russian studies, adding a list of women overshadowed by their more famous male counterparts to investigate. I think of it more as a type of bibliography than anything.
Title: Cinderella Liberator
Author: Rebecca Solnit
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publisher Blurb: Rebecca Solnit reimagines a classic fairytale with a fresh, feminist Cinderella and new plot twists that will inspire young readers to change the world.
Fairytales made no sense to me. Even as I tried to fit myself into what society believed girls should want, which included some fairytale version of finding a husband and having children, it didn’t make sense. And I didn’t understand why.
I mean, why should Cinderella want to go to the ball so much, and why would she want to marry a prince? Did that really mean happily ever after? What if she – what if I – wanted something different?
The appeal of being rescued is certainly be understandable, especially when growing up in a dysfunctional, unpredictable environment. When your whole life feels hopeless, rescue seems like the best chance. When one wants to be rescued from misery, there is no understanding about agency. So, in some ways, Cinderella’s traditional gambit of marrying the prince and leaving behind her wicked steps makes a tremendous amount of sense. If only there was another way ….
Rebecca Solnit’s Cinderella Liberator begins with the familiar story. But when the lizards become stagecoach women for Cinderella’s carriage, one sits up and takes notice. And when Cinderella asks if the lizards want to be human, the reader understands this isn’t the same Cinderella of childhood.
At its base as a political structure, feminism is about the right to make choices based upon personal agency. Women get to choose what they want to do, or should be allowed to, anyway. Solnit takes that one step further. Not only does Cinderella get to choose, but so do the animals who help her get to the ball. The entire cast gets a makeover.
This more equitable story in which Cinderella opens a cake store and become friends with the prince who wants to work on a farm is one everyone should read. Especially those with small children entering the world of make-believe and fairy tales.
Solnit’s version is more hopeful and happier, giving children (and adults) space to learn about equality and choice. It certainly gave me happiness and hope.
Title: Berkeley: The Student Revolt
Author: Hal Draper
Published: 2020 (Haymarket Books edition)
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publisher Blurb: “There’s a time when the operation of the machine becomes so odious, makes you so sick at heart, that you can’t take part! You can’t even passively take part! And you’ve got to put your bodies upon the gears and upon the wheels … upon the levers, upon all the apparatus, and you’ve got to make it stop!”
Brimming with lessons still relevant for today’s activists, Berkeley: The Student Revolt is a classic of on-the-ground historical reportage.
There’s something about this period of history which fascinates me deeply. I can’t go to Berkeley or San Francisco without being aware of the history I walk through. Reading Hal Draper’s Berkeley: The Student Revolt written in 1965, is on the ground “I was there” reporting.
Draper brings together all the minute by minute details to explain how the Free Speech Movement exploded on campus one day in September, 1964. Although, as most historians will tell you and Draper certainly does, things don’t happen overnight because there are mitigating factors. The history leading to the Free Speech Movement is rich and dense, filled with many factors.
Draper writes of the peaceful student protests demanding to be able to express their opinions, political or otherwise, on campus. To be able to raise money and recruit volunteers for off campus events. Many had spent the previous summer in the Deep South working for civil rights.
To have their own rights stunted in the face of an unpopular war (Vietnam) and the treatment of African-Americans caused deep anger and resentment. In the face of a dictatorial Chancellor who had been hired based on his research about labor movements which should have made him sympathetic but didn’t, student unrest grew.
Draper was there, amongst the students as a library employee, his knowledge of the inner workings makes this an excellent resource in the body of work still evolving about dissent, protests in the face of bureaucrats who use might makes right to get their rules obeyed.
Over the fifty years since, this very scenario has played out more times than I like to remember. In 2019 during a deadly global pandemic, government leaders are using the same playbook to shut down the rights of us all to be healthy and safe.
Confusing, contradictory, obfuscatory dictums fly through the media. Responses to any common sense calls for reasonable actions on the part of leaders are met with ridicule and often threatened violence.
What amazed me as I read was how very young these students were, how mature and deeply committed they were to their cause. They understood it was about something larger than themselves. Mario Savio’s thoughtful speeches give an insight I hadn’t much thought about because I have reaped the benefit of their protests.
At the same time, I was saddened to understand that the more things change, the more they stay the same. Change is always met with resistance, those in power backed by those with greater power and money will always clamp down. Their actions invariably lead to some sort of police action.
Berkeley’s Free Speech Movement opened the door for peaceful protests and thoughtful discussions about the First Amendment and its role on college campuses. A discussion which continues now, and is especially important as an ill-informed citizenry continues to misunderstand the power of the First Amendment and try to use it in support of their *-ist rhetoric.
But I have hope because things have changed, the citizenry is allowed to express themselves. Students are allowed free and open discussion of unsavory topics. And the discussion about what First Amendment rights mean continues unabated. Without the student protests and strike at Berkeley, none of this would be possible.
Title: Things That Can and Cannot be Said
Author: Arundhati Roy and John Cusack
Publisher: Haymarket Books
Publisher Blurb: In this rich dialogue on surveillance, empire, and power, Roy and Cusack describe meeting NSA whistleblower Ed Snowden in Moscow.
In late 2014, Arundhati Roy, John Cusack, and Daniel Ellsberg travelled to Moscow to meet with NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden.
The result was a series of essays and dialogues in which Roy and Cusack reflect on their conversations with Snowden.
In these provocative and penetrating discussions, Roy and Cusack discuss the nature of the state, empire, and surveillance in an era of perpetual war, the meaning of flags and patriotism, the role of foundations and NGOs in limiting dissent, and the ways in which capital but not people can freely cross borders.
I’m not sure about the point of this slender book. It’s 100 pages of large font transcriptions of conversations between Cusack and Roy, recollections of an “UnSummit” facilitated by Cusack featuring Edward Snowden and Daniel Ellsberg in Moscow.
What I’d hoped for was a deeper discussion of the effects of Ellsberg’s and Snowden’s espionage. What led them to the conclusion there was no other way than to be whistleblowers? I wanted to know more. I was hoping for something more unfiltered .
Do I know the world’s governments aren’t what they want us to think they are? Of course I do. Do I think corporate governance of charities and NGOs is a bad thing? I don’t know enough to make an informed opinion. But if what Arundhati Roy thinks is what we’re all supposed to think, we are indeed doomed.
It is the utter hopelessness of Cusack and Roy of any government, any people doing good in the world which got to me. This paranoid, pseudo-intellectual view of the world, especially from a white man of privilege, is what brings out the despair. If this is what they think is important, and it gets published, what chance do the rest of us just trying to get through our day have?
It is utterly maddening that an opportunity for two of the most famous whistleblowers to meet was so censored. For readers to not be privy to any of the conversation beyond niceties is hardly better than fanning the flames of a global game of Chicken Little.
The security concerns addressed in Things That Can and Cannot be Said are serious, but there’s no real substance in discussing them. I chose not to be scared simply because two activists who have the resources to walk freely through the streets or sit in cafes and talk tell me I should be.