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Corrente Reads Books!

a little night musing's picture

Book reviews are being abandoned by the MSM. We read books here: let's talk about them! Post your reviews as comments here.

I'm posting this on Wednesday and trying to publish this on Sunday at midnight: let's see if it works. (If not, you'll understand the time confusion.)

[Note: title changed to agree with the rest of this series.]

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Submitted by hipparchia on

[the time stamp thingy]

i'm going to cheat [as in, i'm not going to write any reviews myself] and instead point to one of my blogbuddies who writes terrific book reviews.

Submitted by hipparchia on

from where? cultures really are different? which cultures?

mojave_wolf's picture
Submitted by mojave_wolf on

Not a review at all, but I just started Alice In Wonderland last night. See initial observations here:
(shorthand for what I said: Trippy! And Alice makes me look tactful!)

Am also in the middle of something called "Keeping It Real" by Justina Robson, which is kinda psychadelic in its own right (not done yet, but ummm, some sort of quantum explosion either split the world into many or revealed many worlds alongside this one and let them overlap, and cyborgs and demons and elves oh my!)

The most recent nonfiction, in tune w/this site book I read was Alanna Mitchell's Seasick: Ocean Change and the Extinction of Life on Earth, which took forever to finish because I had to stop every dozen pages due to extraordinary anger towards the "earth can support all of us doing whatever we want to do and let capitalism sort it out" people. It raises the rather interesting point about excess carbon dioxide production that global warming aside (and there is plenty of irrefutable evidence of the oceans getting hotter and the damage this is doing contained therein), putting too much co2 into the ocean is screwing up the chemical balance there and wreaking havoc already, with vastly more havoc likely to come (in addition to the various other things we are doing to wreak havoc). The author keeps talking about how she's actually quite optimistic about us solving all the problems and saving something. I'm quite optimistic we could if everyone realized the severity of the problems and prioritized accordingly, but bleakly pessimistic at this ever happening and permanently furious at our world leaders and the people who shape the news. (and I'm currently re-reading Elizabeth Bear's Undertow, which is in keeping with this theme, plus swamps and assassins and identity issues)

I'm not up to writing an actual review of anything right now, but since it's the end of the year might as well pile on, the most recent ones I did write are here: (for Caitlin Kiernan's The Red Tree)
(excerpt: This is a spooky book where you never quite know what's real; sort of what you might get if you placed a bitingly angry, deeply grieving and deeply depressed lesbian narrator into an updated combination of Algernon Blackwood's "The Willows" and one of Lovecraft's New England stories (gender and orientation noted only due to the male-centricness of those stories--downright sexism in Lovecraft). It's also a ghost story, thought there may or may not be any "real" ghosts in it.) (for Jaqueline Carey's Santa Olivia)
(excerpt: Fans of boxing should also enjoy this work, as Carey either knows what it's like firsthand or took the time to get the details right, from the way it feels to dance around someone too slow to hit you, to the hazy dazed flush of combat once you've gotten popped with a good shot. She also perfectly captures the atmosphere of the American Southwest, albeit a version that has as much in common with Baghdad and small town Baja as anywhere in Texas. Not sure that whether someone is a fan of Carey's previous work will have much to do with whether you'll like this one; it's a completely different writing writing style and type of book. Santa Olivia should appeal to fans of quirky films set in the desert, lovers of expressionistic tone poems, and those who appreciate realistic depictions of the scramble to survive on the poverty stricken, barely legal fringes)

If I do a "year's best" list anytime soon, will try to put it here if that's okay. Hope this isn't already too much.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I have been thinking about books that I end up owning (as opposed to repeatedly checking out of the library, an increasingly difficult thing to do as libraries cut back their collections - but that's another post, and what was my original train of thought? Oh, yeah), and I own a wonderful edition of Alice because my brother, long ago, gave me the companion edition of Through the Looking Glass. If I were ever to become a collector, editions of Carroll is one of the things I'd be likely to collect.

... Along with rats. I love admire rats.

Joe's picture
Submitted by Joe on

This is my first comment at this blog and my first book review. I'm reading George Carlin's memoir. I've only read the first 20 pages but it's really good so far.

Submitted by gob on

At long last this book (from 1985) has made it into my consciousness. Slow going, but excellent. She gives a good analysis of the patriarchy: where we have been (from proto-humans to the present), are now, and want to go. I haven't gotten to ideas about how to get there. But her ideas on how not to do it track remarkably well with observations here at Corrente about how things have gone down with Obama and his supporters over the last couple of years!

It's dated in some ways (the impending dissolution of the Soviet bloc was not on her radar screen) but all the more impressive, as everything still applies. Unfortunately.

Here's a slightly randomly chosen selection:

Two- or multiple-party systems are supposed to guard against the excesses of authoritarian and totalitarian regimes, and to some degree they do. But the suspicion of many people that the actual governing of democratic nations is performed by an invisible group of people who remain essentially the same from one administration to another is not mere paranoia. The "invisible hand" that is imagined to guide economic matters to a realistic path does not exist; but invisible government does. ... The pressures that coerce leaders to take positions they themselves have renounced come from behind-the-scenes groups of powerful interests, groups that are not elected and therefore are not responsible to the public, and that pursue their own interests single-mindedly.

In the United States, legislation that has been shown many times to be desired by a majority of the population does not get passed because of the opposition of a powerful lobby or invisible pressure group....

There's lots of this level of detail, on many different subjects, set in a firmly established context of feminist theory.

a little night musing's picture
Submitted by a little night ... on

I ended up being overwhelmed by an emergency - an anticipated emergency, if that makes sense, which is why I scheduled this post in advance. But it's prevented me from posting my own review. Oh, well. More for next time!

I'm gratified to see all the readers reporting in.

[Still dealing with the emergency, alas. Nothing life-threatening, just life-engulfing.]