Reading Round Up for May 2020

This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including George Floyd, the Tongan boys, and the colonization of food. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Book list: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction May 2020

Book review: “You’ve the feel of destiny about you.”: The Mermaid, the Witch, and the Sea by Maggie Tokuda-Hall

History: Historic Sites: Colorado and New Mexico

History: Historic Sites: Ohau, Hawai’i

Short fiction spotlight: Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction: April 2020

Book recs: YA Book Bundles – Science Fiction & Fantasy, Part 1

Book recs: YA Book Bundles – Science Fiction & Fantasy, Part 2

Book list: Clones, Sirens, and Dragons: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction for June & July 2020


Other Works

“Column: George Floyd, Central Park and the familiar terror they inspire” by LZ Granderson for Black: “I didn’t feel well Tuesday. My body was tense, my stomach unsettled, the headache I was trying to push past kept pushing back. On most days I choose to be numb. Tuesday, I decided to feel. I recognize for some the video of George Floyd’s fatal encounter with four Minneapolis police officers is shocking. For me, it was not. I may not always choose to feel, but I am always aware. I learned early on that I didn’t have the luxury of not being aware.”

“Stewed Awakening” by Navneet Alang for Eater: “Only whiteness can deracinate and subsume the world of culinary influences into itself and yet remain unnamed. It’s a complicated little dance of power and desire: The mainstream is white, so what is presented in the mainstream becomes defined as white, and — ta-da — what you see in viral YouTube videos somehow ends up reinforcing a white norm, even though the historical roots of a dish or an ingredient might be the Levant or East Asia. You might say whiteness works by positing itself as a default. You might also say that this sucks. ”

“How Soap Operas Changed TV Forever” by Matt Zoller Seitz for Vulture: “What daytime serials brought to everything else in the culture were these twisting, ongoing plotlines, serialization, open-endedness, and larger-than-life characters filled with huge contradictions. I mean, obviously there was a precedent for that too, particularly serial writers like Charles Dickens, but I’m talking about the radio and television incarnation of that. That’s still what defines TV today. It’s not just primetime dramas. It’s news programs, it’s reality programs, it’s these streaming content shows about real people that everyone lives for now. All of these things are completely built on what was already done in daytime.”

“The real Tongan boys of ‘Ata were not the real Lord of the Flies” by Meleika Gesa for The Spinoff: “The story of the six Tongan boys stranded on ‘Ata was told to me at a young age. The story I was told is different to what the author shared; it also didn’t focus on the rescuer. I knew six boys left home and then found themselves stranded on an island and lived off the land to survive. I’ve been told many stories about both my peoples getting lost by sea. But I remember this one because the boys were stuck on ‘Ata, the “Rock Island”. I also remember that it was the same island where my people were kidnapped and sold as slaves. Colonisation, slavery and racism is tightly woven into the boys’ story, yet the article I read gave it no more weight than if it were a footnote, or they had been taken on an adventure: “…a slave ship appeared on the horizon and sailed off with the natives.””

“Dear Reader” by Lois Lowry for The Bulwark: “I thought that perhaps the book might be a teaching vehicle, a cautionary tale. Choices are important, I told kids. You will be the ones to vote, in the future. Be aware of what you’re voting for—or against. Weigh the choices. Consider the implications, the compromises. Don’t be silenced. Don’t let your humanity be nibbled away. Open your eyes, I told them, the way Jonas, the 12-year-old protagonist, does in the story. Become aware.”

“Bats and Snakes and Dogs and Things Like That” by Christopher Deutsch for Contingent Magazine: “Regulation, not culture, is the key to understanding COVID-19 and other zoonotic diseases. Americans, after all, have plenty of their own exotic meats, including rattlesnake, alligator, turtle soup, rabbit stew, and the infamous Rocky Mountain oysters (bull testes). None of these dishes define American culture writ large. And while Americans eat all kinds of animals not formally part of the meat economy, the formal side of the meat economy has produced its own threats to human health. ”

“Sure, the Velociraptors Are Still On the Loose, But That’s No Reason Not to Reopen Jurassic Park” by Carlos Greaves for McSweeney’s: “That said, you’ll be pleased to know that, rather than double down on our containment efforts, we’ve decided to dissolve the velociraptor containment task force altogether, and focus instead on how we can get people back into the park as quickly as possible. So rather than concentrating on so-called life-saving measures like “staying in designated safe areas” or “masking your scent,” we’ll be focusing on the details that will get our customers really excited, like a wider selection of fun hats, a pterodactyl-shaped gondola ride to the top of the island, and a brand new Gordon Ramsay designed menu at the Cretaceous Cafe.”



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