Reading Roundup for July 2018


This month’s Reading Roundup offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including slavery, Hannah Gadsby, disabilities, and more. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Book review: Colonizers’ Comeuppance: Space Unicorn Blues by T.J. Berry

Movie review: Sorry to Bother You Is This Summer’s Must-See Dystopian Satire

Book review: Impractical Magic: Lily Anderson’s Undead Girl Gang

Comics review: Pull List: Queering Canon with Doctor Aphra

Book review: Science Fiction and Cultural Identity: Nnedi Okorafor’s Binti Series

Book review: Review: “The Descent of Monsters” by JY Yang

Book review: Review: “Bruja Born” by Zoraida Córdova

Book review: Review: “Six of Crows” by Leigh Bardugo

Book review: Review: “A Darker Shade of Magic” by V.E. Schwab

Book review: Review: “Wake of Vultures” by Lila Bowen

Book review: Review: “Symptoms of Being Human” by Jeff Garvin

Sundry: Kule Loklo Big Time Festival


Other Works

“When You’re An Asexual Assault Survivor, It’s Even Harder To Be Heard” by Katie Julie Kliegman for Buzzfeed: “Because public discourse often overlooks and even outright dismisses asexuality itself, it follows that ace stories of harassment and assault aren’t widely heard, let alone accepted or understood, among those who don’t identify as ace. But that doesn’t mean they don’t happen: In the 2015 asexual community census, a volunteer-run project, 43.5% of nearly 8,000 aces surveyed reported having experienced some form of sexual violence (including rape, assault, and coercion).”

“The World Doesn’t Bend for Disabled Kids (or Disabled Parents)” by Katie Rose Pryal for Catapult: “My mom needed something to hold onto. Fortunately, the psychiatrist had an answer. There was a simple test. Did she put other kids in danger? Did she put herself in danger? Did she damage property?

According to the psychiatrist, if the answer to all three of those questions was no, then the punishment I received—banishment—was too severe. “Kids aren’t all the same,” she said. “And we can’t expect them to be. Especially when they’re four years old. We have to give them some leeway.”

“What do I do?” my mom asked.

“Find better people to carpool with,” the psychiatrist said.”

“‘I broke the contract’: how Hannah Gadsby’s trauma transformed comedy” by Jenny Valentish for Guardian: “Gadsby is keen to go incognito. The easiest way to spot her is that she is the only person in the cafe hiding their face with their hand. But anonymity may no longer be possible. Nanette went up on Netflix a month ago, and has since elicited thorough analysis in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, the Washington Post and Vanity Fair, while Lily Allen, Thandie Newton, Monica Lewinsky, Ellen Page and Roxane Gay have raved and/or wept about it on Twitter (in a tweet to Gadsby, Gay wrote: “You moved me and have really made me think about humour, the self, self-deprecation and the uses of anger”). Across Gadsby’s social networks, the general public also gives effusive thanks. Nanette is not merely an hour of standup. It’s a mass bloodletting.”

“My Great-Grandfather, the Nigerian Slave-Trader” by Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani for New Yorker: “Down the hill, near the river, in an area now overrun by bush, is the grave of my most celebrated ancestor: my great-grandfather Nwaubani Ogogo Oriaku. Nwaubani Ogogo was a slave trader who gained power and wealth by selling other Africans across the Atlantic. “He was a renowned trader,” my father told me proudly. “He dealt in palm produce and human beings.””

“How Enslaved Chefs Helped Shape American Cuisine” by Kelley Fanto Deetz for Smithsonian Magazine: “It’s not easy uncovering the histories of enslaved cooks, who left few records of their own and whose stories often appear in the historical record as asides—incidental details sprinkled through the stories of the people who held them in bondage. In my recent study of enslaved cooks, I relied on archaeological evidence and material culture—the rooms where they once lived, the heavy cast iron pots they lugged around, the gardens they planted—and documents such as slaveholders’ letters, cookbooks, and plantation records to learn about their experiences. These remnants, scant though they are, make it clear that enslaved cooks were central players in the birth of our nation’s cultural heritage.”

“Summer of Rage” by Rebecca Traister for The Cut: “News media hasn’t taken these groups as seriously as they’ve taken Trump supporters because they don’t take people of color, they don’t take women — or the validity of their political anger — very seriously. Look no further than another tweet sent by Brian Stelter on Wednesday, chiding the liberal activist Amy Siskind for comparing border-crossing checkpoints to the dystopian authoritarian state of Margaret Atwood’s Gilead. “We are not ‘a few steps from The Handmaids Tale,’” Stelter tweeted dismissively. “I don’t think this kind of fear-mongering helps anybody.” The message was clear: Your fury at injustice is overdramatic, exaggerated, invalid. This was 24 hours before Anthony Kennedy resigned from the Supreme Court.”

“Bourdain Confidential” by Maria Bustillos for Popula: “Had Bourdain succeeded in bringing a more inclusive and egalitarian dimension to American culture? What is tourism now? Isn’t it doomed, all this determined globetrotting for two weeks a year, with the obligatory “authentic” “hole in the wall but AMAZING” dining—wasn’t it all just breathing on the Lascaux murals, and trundling dutifully past the Vermeers? Is it immoral even to get on an airplane? What was the goal of his work, ultimately? How did he see it?

So… one topic, and try to persuade him to say different things from those he’d already said in interviews. I braced myself for fifteen minutes of attempted psyche vacuuming.

Instead he spent two and a half hours with me in the comfy Irish bar, blabbing about everything under the sun. The transcript of this conversation is in excess of 20,000 words. And nobody bothered us in all that time, it was like there was a force field around him.”

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