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Things I Have Been Reading Lately May 24, 2011

Posted by Erin Ptah in News Roundup, Recommendations.
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1. Wild Seed and Clay’s Ark, by Octavia E. Butler

Rereads. I was going to skim them as a refresher for my earlier Butler-meta post, then realized I had forgotten enough of the details to be sucked in all over again. Bleaker in some ways than I remembered; more intense in others.

2. The Ghost in the Little House: A Life of Rose Wilder Lane, by William Holtz

One of several books I was inspired to check out a while ago, after reading an LJ post (which alas I can’t find now) about the real family behind the Little House books.

The post itself was inspired by someone (Sarah Palin?) using the books as emblematic of the American can-do independent spirit, and pointed out that not only was the Ingalls family scraping by with colonial-era technology in the midst of the Industrial Revolution, but the books don’t mention that several of the girls went on to spend most of their lives on welfare. A few chapters in, and The Ghost in the Little House is already full of Take That tidbits: Rose got on a government watchlist for her interests in socialism; the family contemplated emigrating to New Zealand because their American Dream was going so badly.

Not that the backstory isn’t interesting for reasons other than smugness. My mom had a set of the original books, and ended up buying the whole Rose series for me as it came out, so I’m eating this stuff up.

3. The Intuitionist, by Colson Whitehead

I actually read this back in January, but couldn’t figure out how to describe it until now.

It’s elevatorpunk. I mean that in all seriousness. It takes the fascination and geeky technical glee and semi-mythologizing that steampunk applies to gears and zeppelins, transports it to the 1950s, and focuses it all on elevators.

And if you don’t like the tone-deafness that steampunk fiction can bring to race relations (or so I hear; I mostly just read Girl Genius and look at pretty brass toys), give this a look.

4. Shadowjack Twitters From The Geofront [In Which I Watch Evangelion]

A series of threads (link is to the first one) for a rewatch of Evangelion, by people who have already watched it, rewatched it, analyzed it, argued over it, and are ready and eager to dive in and do it all again. With a wicked sense of humor to spice it up. (From the first page: Sunshine Rei’s Organic Orange Juice. No pulp!)

I first saw the TV series in high school anime club (although I’m not sure whether we made it to the last two episodes), and rewatched it alone recently. I figured I had forgotten a lot, and it would all make more sense once I watched it fresh, armed with a bunch of spoilers from the Internet as backup. You can probably guess how well that went. On top of which, the series is so well-known and well-discussed that I have a hard time putting aside the narrative-archetype goggles and getting into the characters as people.

So this thread is turning into a combination of “thoughtful people pointing out things I never noticed, and explaining their theories to each other in ways I can sit back and read and understand” and “invested people talking about the character development, letting me appreciate the characterization through their eyes.” With a side of “warning newcomers that this show has a way of twinging viewers’ depressive tendencies.” I hope I’m not being a masochist by trying to go through this so fast. Definitely using it to procrastinate, but that’s hardly news.

5. The Birthday of the World and Other Stories, by Ursula K. LeGun

Sedoretu!

Also, a society with women running everything and men kept separate, you know, for their own good. Xuanwu, go read this. It’s good research.

6. Facing the Abusing God: A Theology of Protest, by David Blumenthal

This book will spend chapters going through the most careful, methodical (or, if you’re not being generous, nitpicky) analysis of language, in the finest Jewish theological tradition…and then stop for a brief interlude that is basically “BUT SERIOUSLY WTF how are we even talking about this like it still matters THE HOLOCAUST HAPPENED aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhh.”

Picked it up on the recommendation of a professor for whose religion classes I wrote a bunch of psych papers. I’m almost to the end, and by this point it’s feathered with little bookmarks. Not that I have exact plans for what to do with them, but they’re there.

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Comments»

1. Nathan - June 3, 2011

I believe my LiveJournal friend Cog1201 is somehow related to the Little House on the Prairie family.


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