May Reboot

08May14

Eek.  The last two months have been incredibly busy, and something, somewhere had to give. I’m still reading at my usual pace, but any hopes of reviewing went right out the window with a pile of new work responsibilities.

Oh well. At least it’s warmer?

Image spotted at 4Shared.

Image spotted at 4Shared.

Here are a few mini-reviews I managed to get written, back when I thought I could make an entire post out of them.

Sex Workers Unite, Melinda Chateauvert. Sex workers have always been part of liberation movements, no matter how uncomfortable that truth makes some people. Chateauvert’s overview of the struggle for sex workers’ rights in the greater context of feminism was definitely an eye-opener (I knew feminism was fractious, but damn). It makes me sad that we seem to be determined to find “the others” and squash them, no matter how good we think we are, but if you want to hone your consciousness to a razor’s edge, Chateauvert’s book will do nicely…and make you ask yourself some searching questions about your own pov.

Sexual Politics, Sexual Communities, John D’Emilio.  I don’t seem to be able to find a good review of this book – there is one at a LiveJournal site, but if you start reading it, you end up with pop-ups and pop-unders, and all kinds of drama. What the hell, LJ? You used to be better than that. At any rate, this is a GREAT pity, because this book deserves a good, publicly available, full-length review.

D’Emilio’s history of homosexuality in America, from colonial days through the Stonewall Riots, explores what it was like to be gay in the U.S. before organized liberation movements began, and shows how those movements got started. Most chilling, for me, were the descriptions of how GLBTQ folk were treated during the McCarthy era, which went after homosexuals as ruthlessly as it hounded communists.

Word Warriors, Alix Olson, ed. This collection of short essays and poems from some of slam poetry and spoken word’s most prominent women is a great introduction to what poetry performance is all about. The anthology represents a broad spectrum of viewpoints, including the experiences of women of color, transgender people, and blue-collar/working class poets. A great introduction for people who don’t think poetry is for them, because they never see themselves there.

Sister Citizen, Melissa V. Harris-Perry. If you only know Harris-Perry from MSNBC, you are missing out on some great reading. This beginner-friendly black studies text discusses the various stereotypes that plague African American women, and demonstrates how those stereotypes keep black women from full participation in the political process (which is definitely more than just voting). Harris-Perry takes more academic concepts found in writers like Patricia Hill Collins and makes them accessible to a wider audience. A great book for starting a conversation about race and politics in contemporary America.

Sisters in the Wilderness, Delores S. Williams. In this introduction to womanist theology, Williams uses the biblical stories of Hagar, Ishmael, Abraham, and Sarah to explore a new way for black women to create a workable theology of inclusion, belonging, and self-worth. Of most interest to practicing Christians who want to bridge theory with what actually goes on in their churches, this is, nevertheless, a fascinating topic even for an armchair spectator (though a working knowledge of the old testament is helpful). Definitely a game-changer, guaranteed to spark lively conversations in women’s groups, Bible-study groups, and other Christian discussion circles.

The other books I’ve read have been dutifully recorded on the 2014 Challenge Tracking page, but for those of you who like numbers, here are the grand totals for 2014 so far:

Fiction: 27

Nonfiction: 22

Poetry: 9

Graphic Novels: 3

Plays: 2

If you look at the tracker page, you’ll see I’ve added a new challenge. Like most cisgender people, I don’t know a whole lot about the experience of being transgender. I’ve been pro-active about searching out good internet information, but for me, the best way to learn a new field of inquiry is to read its core texts, so I was really grateful to find Helen Boyd’s list of preferred books during my internet research. Hopefully this will make me a better human being, as well as a better librarian.

So, there’s that. Are you reading any good books lately? Are you keeping count? Any new fields of inquiry you’re researching these days?

 

 

 

 

 

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