Reading Roundup for February 2019


This month’s Reading Roundup offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including identity politics, the FBI harassing Black-owned bookstores, and the Thibodaux Massacre. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Book review: A Steampunk Mystery with Real Bite: P. Djèlí Clark’s The Haunting of Tram Car 015

Book review: “Raise the Wild Cry”: The Cassandra by Sharma Shields

Book review: “The Test” by Sylvain Neuvel

Book review: “In Other Lands” by Sarah Rees Brennan


Comics review: Pull List: Buffy the Vampire Slayer and DIE and the Lure of Nostalgia


Reread: Introducing the Children of Blood and Bone Reread

Reread: Reading Children of Blood and Bone: Chapters 1-8

Reread: Reading Children of Blood and Bone, Chapters 9-17


Listicle: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction February 2019


Other Works

“Identity Politics Strengthens Democracy” by Stacey Abrams for Foreign Affairs: “But Fukuyama’s criticism relies on a number of misjudgments. First, Fukuyama complains that “again and again, groups have come to believe that their identities—whether national, religious, ethnic, sexual, gender, or otherwise—are not receiving adequate recognition.” In the United States, marginalized groups have indeed come to believe this—because it is true. Fukuyama also warns that Americans are fragmenting “into segments based on ever-narrower identities, threatening the possibility of deliberation and collective action by society as a whole.” But what Fukuyama laments as “fracturing” is in reality the result of marginalized groups finally overcoming centuries-long efforts to erase them from the American polity—activism that will strengthen democratic rule, not threaten it.”

“The Thibodaux Massacre Left 60 African-Americans Dead and Spelled the End of Unionized Farm Labor in the South for Decades” by Calvin Schermerhorn for Smithsonian Magazine: “On November 23, 1887, a mass shooting of African-American farm workers in Louisiana left some 60 dead. Bodies were dumped in unmarked graves while the white press cheered a victory against a fledgling black union. It was one of the bloodiest days in United States labor history, and while statues went up and public places were named for some of those involved, there is no marker of the Thibodaux Massacre.”

“The Librarian at the Nexus of the Harlem Renaissance” by Cara Giaimo for Atlas Obscura: “You might not know about Regina Anderson, but you’ve probably heard of many of her friends. On a typical day in 1923 or 1924, Anderson might leave her desk at the 135th Street Branch of the New York Public Library and drop a letter to W.E.B. Du Bois in the mailbox. She may go home to her apartment on St. Nicholas Avenue to check up on her couchsurfer, Zora Neale Hurston. Or she might hit the town with Countee Cullen, and then finish out the night cooking bacon and eggs for Langston Hughes.”

“The FBI’s War on Black-Owned Bookstores” by Joshua Clark Davis for The Atlantic: “In the spring of 1968, FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover announced to his agents that COINTELPRO, the counter-intelligence program established in 1956 to combat communists, should focus on preventing the rise of a “Black ‘messiah’” who sought to “unify and electrify the militant black nationalist movement.” The program, Hoover insisted, should target figures as ideologically diverse as the Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael (later Kwame Ture), Martin Luther King Jr., and Nation of Islam leader Elijah Muhammad.”

“How W.E.B. Du Bois Meticulously Visualized 20th-Century Black America” by Jasmine Weber for Hyper Allergic: “W.E.B. Du Bois is best known for his sharp, sociological imagination and groundbreaking book of racial philosophy, The Souls of Black Folk. But the writer, historian, and Pan-African civil rights activist also had a remarkable visual mind. Among his many talents, Du Bois was a designer and curator of Black culture, the most explicit example being his data portraits, which vibrantly visualized the complexities of racial segregation, which Du Bois iconically dubbed “the color line.””

“The deadly truth about a world built for men – from stab vests to car crashes” by Caroline Criado-Perez for The Guardian: “These silences, these gaps, have consequences. They impact on women’s lives, every day. The impact can be relatively minor – struggling to reach a top shelf set at a male height norm, for example. Irritating, certainly. But not life-threatening. Not like crashing in a car whose safety tests don’t account for women’s measurements. Not like dying from a stab wound because your police body armour doesn’t fit you properly. For these women, the consequences of living in a world built around male data can be deadly.”

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