Reading Round Up for September 2020

This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read, covering topics including Black grief, John Boyega, and Pauli Murray. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Book review: The Summer of Everything by Julian Winters

TV review: Like Dragons Hoarding Gold: Lovecraft Country, “A History of Violence”

Book review: Stone and Steel by Eboni Dunbar

Book review: “No hope without change, no change without sacrifice.”: Master of Poisons by Andrea Hairston

TV review: Magic Isn’t About Freedom, But Power: Lovecraft Country, “Strange Case”

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

Book review: Yellow Jessamine by Caitlin Starling

Book review: Cradle and Grave by Anya Ow

TV review: What Makes a Monster: Lovecraft Country, “Meet Me in Daegu”

Book review: “Take Risks, Follow Your Heart, and Move Forward”: Legendborn by Tracy Deonn

Book review: “Oh, Relax It’s Only Magic”: The Scapegracers by Hannah Abigail Clarke

Book review: Cupcakes and Cacti, Meteors and Magic: Miss Meteor by Tehlor Kay Mejia and Anna-Marie McLemore

TV review: Hippolyta Takes Center Stage: Lovecraft Country, “I Am”

Other Works

“The Relentlessness of Black Grief” by Marissa Evans for The Atlantic: “Grief in this country has always had an equity problem, and 2020 has only amplified the issue, as Black deaths have come in back-to-back blows, from the coronavirus, police brutality, and the natural deaths of those we look up to most. Each new death, each new example of an old injustice, renews our grief, sending little shock waves of sorrow. We are in the middle of a Black bereavement crisis, and we do not have the privilege or time to grieve.”

“Cultural Appropriation: Some More Practical Advice” by Jeanette Ng: “But there is more to appropriation and misrepresentation than lists of facts. It is very true that an outsider can and will often get little details of the lived experience wrong to the point that it is distracting and drags one out of the narrative. The exact dyes that are be available to a dressmaker in the 16th century, or when a certain type of soup dumpling was invented. A writer remembering to sharpen their quill and blot their page. The sorts of crops that would be cultivated in a certain region and whether or not they would have share of an ox.”

“The Many Lives of Pauli Murray” by Kathryn Schulz for The New Yorker: “Murray was right. Plessy was overturned in a decade—and, when it was, Robinson owed her a lot more than ten dollars. In her final law-school paper, Murray had formalized the idea she’d hatched in class that day, arguing that segregation violated the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments of the United States Constitution. Some years later, when Robinson joined with Thurgood Marshall and others to try to end Jim Crow, he remembered Murray’s paper, fished it out of his files, and presented it to his colleagues—the team that, in 1954, successfully argued Brown v. Board of Education.”

“Horns, Feathers, and Scales: Reclaiming Genderqueer Monstrousness” by Tessa Gratton for “In my early twenties I had a reoccurring waking dream. Sometimes I saw it as I was trying to sleep, sometimes when my vision blurred from working too hard on an essay for class. Sometimes in class, or at lunch. I’d hold my left forearm before me and see a tiny cut at the wrist.”

“The New Reconstruction” by Adam Serwer for The Atlantic: “After George Floyd was killed, Donald Trump sensed an opportunity. Americans, anguished and angry over Floyd’s death, had erupted in protest—some set fires, broke the windows of department stores, and stormed a police precinct. Commentators reached for historical analogies, circling in on 1968 and the twilight of the civil-rights era, when riots and rebellion engulfed one American city after another. Back then, Richard Nixon seized on a message of “law and order.” He would restore normalcy by suppressing protest with the iron hand of the state. In return for his promise of pacification, Americans gave him the White House.”

“John Boyega: ‘I’m the only cast member whose experience of Star Wars was based on their race’” by Jimi Famurewa for GQ Magazine: “If you really want to know what shaped John Boyega’s attitude to high-pressure situations – if you want the creation myth that perhaps explains why he reacts the way he does when he is cornered or challenged or merely required to stand up and be counted – then you probably need to know about the time he was stranded at sea in Nigeria. It was eight years ago now, in the soupy, grey-skied heat of the country’s 2012 rainy season. He was 20 years old, fresh from his film debut in Attack The Block and back in his ancestral motherland to appear in the screen adaptation of Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novel Half Of A Yellow Sun.”

“They Know How to Prevent Megafires. Why Won’t Anybody Listen?” by Elizabeth Weil for ProPublica: “What a week. Rough for all Californians. Exhausting for the firefighters on the front lines. Heart-shattering for those who lost homes and loved ones. But a special “Truman Show” kind of hell for the cadre of men and women who’ve not just watched California burn, fire ax in hand, for the past two or three or five decades, but who’ve also fully understood the fire policy that created the landscape that is now up in flames.”

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