Reading Round Up for August 2020

This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including environmental racism, Uighur prisons, and ice cream innovation. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!


My Writing

Historical essay (Napa Valley Life Magazine): The Origin’s of Napa Valley’s Culinary Scenejump to pg 44

Book list: New Young Adult Speculative Fiction August 2020

Book review: Processing Grief in Helene Dunbar’s Prelude for Lost Souls

Book review: Making the Magical Feel Human: Lobizona by Romina Garber

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

Book review: “Dominion: An Anthology of Speculative Fiction from Africa and the African Diaspora” edited by Zelda Knight and Oghenechovwe Donald Ekpeki

Book review: “Turning Point” by Paula Chase

TV review: Monsters Are Scary, But White Supremacy Is the Real Terror: Lovecraft Country, “Sundown”

Book review: The Wild Magic of Emily Tesh’s Drowned Country

Book review: “The Queens of Noise” by Leigh Harlen

TV review: Magic in Light and Dark: Lovecraft Country, “Whitey’s on the Moon”

TV review: In Flames, Not Fear: Lovecraft Country, “Holy Ghost”


Other Works

Civil Rights Activism in the “Jim Crow North”” by Matthew F. Delmont for Black Perspectives: “Where did Jim Crow segregation and civil rights activism take place? A great deal hinges on how this question gets answered. Over the past two decades, scholars have shown how racism permeated the Northeast, Midwest, and West, and how Black people and their allies fought back against the national, state, and local policies and practices that denied them full citizenship and humanity.”

The Bond of Live Things Everywhere: What Black Nature Might Look Like by Roshad Demetrie Meeks for Black Perspectives: “What does African American environmental thought look like? The cover of Camille T. Dungy’s now-classic 2009 anthology suggests one possibility. A Black boy is pictured: his low-fade blends wonderfully with the tall grass in the greyscale image. 1 The child’s eyes are closed; his lips are slightly parted as if he is reciting incantation. His face is towards the sky. Prayerful, he looks. One might wonder what this boy is thinking, and if what he is thinking is beyond the frame of the image like the un-pictured heavens. Or, maybe the boy is meditating on something more immediate, something as close as the beetle on his brow.”

On the Igbo Art of Storytelling by Ikechukwu Ogbu for LitHub: “Over the last few months, I’d been telling myself that I had to become a writer; I could only be a writer. After all, hadn’t that been why I’d written so many stories, as a child? Hadn’t that been why I’d applied to study English Language and Literature though everyone else said I’d make an excellent lawyer? Hadn’t that been the reason I’d recently completed a bad novel, but a novel nonetheless? Still, this was Nigeria; the future for most writers was bleak. But I was going to succeed. Some way, somehow, I’d make it as a writer. What I did not then know, of course, was that the art of telling stories ran in my bloodline; that writing wasn’t just another job available for me to try my hands on. It was instead something I had a calling for, just as a priest might speak of his vocation. I would know this the night I had the most heartfelt conversation with my grandmother.”

Blanked-Out Spots On China’s Maps Helped Us Uncover Xinjiang’s Camps by Alison Killing, Megha Rajagopalan, Christo Buschek for Buzzfeed News: “In the summer of 2018, as it became even harder for journalists to work effectively in Xinjiang, a far-western region of China, we started to look at how we could use satellite imagery to investigate the camps where Uighurs and other Muslim minorities were being detained. At the time we began, it was believed that there were around 1,200 camps in existence, while only several dozen had been found. We wanted to try to find the rest.”

How Men’s Rights Groups Helped Rewrite Regulations on Campus Rape by Hélène Barthélemy for The Nation: “In July 2017, Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos held a summit on Title IX, the 1972 federal statute that bans discrimination on the basis of sex at universities. Inside the Department of Education building, she met with the National Coalition for Men Carolinas (NCFMC), Families Advocating for Campus Equality (FACE), and Stop Abusive and Violent Environments (SAVE), three organizations that claim there is a crisis of false rape allegations against male college students. Outside, despite the sweltering heat in Washington, D.C., more than a 100 people rallied, hoping to prevent the department from rolling back protections for students who are victims of rape, sexual assault, and sexual harassment. “Dear Betsy,” one sign read. “Help end rape culture, don’t perpetuate it.””

The 19th-century entrepreneur who pioneered modern ice cream by Michael Waters for The Hustle: “Food historians have traced a direct line between Marshall and modern staples like edible ice cream cones, liquid nitrogen ice cream, and homemade ice cream makers. Some historians have nicknamed her the “Queen of Ices.” And although she’s largely forgotten, she might be more responsible than anyone for the look and the popularity of today’s ice cream.”

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