Reading Round Up for August 2021

This month’s Reading Round Up offers a collection of some of the best articles I read last month, covering topics including Black New Orleans architecture, Loki, and Britney Spears. Plus a list of my own written work. Get those tabs ready!

My Writing

Blog: Tavish

Feature: “A Stranded Song” by Hridi Das

Review: Alex Brown Reviews The Witch King by H.E. Edgmon

Review: Liz Bourke and Alex Brown Review She Who Became the Sun by Shelley Parker-Chan

Review: This Way Madness Lies: A Lesson in Vengeance by Victoria Lee

Short Fiction: Must-Read Speculative Short Fiction: July 2021

Review: “The Book of Accidents” by Chuck Wendig

Review: Get Your Chaotic Good Fix With Harley Quinn: The Animated Series

Listicle: Anti-Doorstoppers: 10 Great SFF Novellas and Novelettes

Other Works

“The Black Architects Who Built New Orleans” by Eva Fedderly for Architectural Digest: “As anyone who has lived in or visited New Orleans will tell you, it’s a city of sublime architecture. Dreamy rows of pink, yellow, blue, and lavender confections line New Orleans’s oldest neighborhoods. These small stucco dwellings with pointed rooftops and pronounced dormers, known as Creole cottages, are indigenous to America’s Gulf Coast. In New Orleans, they saturate the landscape like jasmine permeates this magic city. Many Creole cottages and their grander sisters, Creole town houses, were designed by a class of distinguished Black architects in the antebellum South. These designers played a crucial role in the city’s architectural landscape, while developing a vernacular style emblematic of this multicultural region.”

“Remembering the Haitian Revolution” by CLR James for Tribune: “The slaves worked on the land, and, like revolutionary peasants everywhere, they aimed at the extermination of their oppressors. But working and living together in gangs of hundreds on the huge sugar-factories which covered the North Plain, they were closer to a modem proletariat than any group of workers in existence at the time, and the rising was, therefore, a thoroughly prepared and organised mass movement. By hard experience they had learnt that isolated efforts were doomed to failure. and in the early months of 1791 in and around Le Cap they were organising for revolution. Voodoo was the medium of the conspiracy. In spite of all prohibitions, the slaves travelled miles to sing and dance and practice the rites and talk; and now, since the revolution, to hear the political news and make their plans.”

“Your Power Ends Where Mine Begins” by Olutimehin Kukoyi for The Republic: “I can tell also of the gushing, anxious love that inspired me to call Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie ‘Mama’. It solved the problem of being Yoruba, irretrievably respectful of elders who respect themselves, and therefore uncomfortable with using the first name of a new friend who was significantly older. ‘Mama’ took two syllables out of Adichie’s unusual, household first name. For four years, ‘mama’ had lain dusty and unused. Here was a chance to say the word again—and mean it. ChiMyMama. She wasn’t my mother; had never asked to be, had never done anything to deserve the label. I called her Mama anyway, because something inside me needed to. So, when she called me a lying user in her essay, I understood that it was because something inside her needed to.”

“Britney Spears’s Conservatorship Nightmare” by Ronan Farrow and Jia Tolentino for New Yorker: “In April, Spears had requested a hearing, in open court, to discuss the terms of the arrangement. It was scheduled for June 23rd. Members of Spears’s team, most of whom have had little or no direct contact with her for years, didn’t expect drastic changes to result. Two years earlier, in the midst of health struggles and pressure from Spears, Jamie had stepped down from his duties overseeing her personal life, and now the team thought that perhaps she wanted to remove him as the conservator of her financial affairs. Some of the team told reporters that they believed Spears liked the conservatorship arrangement, as long as her father wasn’t involved.”

““Don’t Drink the Brown Water”: Our Live Report From Woodstock ’99” by David Moodie, Maureen Callahan, and Mark Schone for SPIN: “It was planned as three days of peace and music. By the end, there was a riot goin’ on. SPIN presents a blow-by-blow, hour-by-hour account of the strangest three days upstate New York has ever seen.”

“Loki, or, A Requiem for Filler Episodes” by Gin Jenny: “My frustration with Loki is partly a bigger frustration with the trends in TV. Around the time of your Mad Mens and your Breaking Bads, we as a culture recognized that not every television show needs to run for twenty-two episodes per season. Hooray! Good point, us! As we rounded the corner on your Game of Throneses, we acceded to the premise that good television should have shorter seasons and that should be the move and that’s what we’re doing now.”

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