Subscribe By Email

Subscribe below!

Subscribe by Email

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

2016 Thingy Part II

Hey, that was an interesting week, wasn't it? I definitely lived through that whole week with you all before writing this next post instead of immediately opening a new one and continuing what I was doing after finishing. Remember that one thing happening? And then that celebrity died? 2017 is already ruined!

Anyway, here's more blog posts I liked. Did I miss your favorite? Let me know.

First of all, I missed this one, about Voices From Chernobyl by Svetlana Alexievich. That's a rough book and this was kind of a rough post.

"Why do we live in cities where the air quality is literally poisonous? Like radiation and kidney disease, it's invisible and easy to forget. At this point, though, hundreds of peer-reviewed studies have linked poor air quality to pre-natal health problems. None of this is new, either. Some of these studies go back to the 90s. I don't like telling people this. I know lots of people who are having babies and they want the best for their babies but we can't say that we care about babies and not do something about this. We can't spend millions fighting abortion in this state while simultaneously fighting legislation attempting to clean our air. This is insane. This is why I don't write about it because it makes me want to lie down."
I talked a lot about race in 2016, which I suppose is what happens when you make a vow to try to read more books by people of color. When I wrote about Zadie Smith's NW on August 29, though, I thought I'd talk about class. Did it work? I don't know. I never know, you guys. This is all such a crapshoot. Life in general sometimes feels like a random assemblage of fleeting moments interrupted only by the occasional text message telling you that you are almost out of data.

"I get that we want to hold the poor accountable for their decisions, but I've seen people make much worse decisions and coast through life as if they're coated with butter and going down a waterslide of bacon fat. They inherit their dad's construction company and build their mansion and make some lawyers very happy and wealthy. Or maybe they're kind of middle class like me. They don't inherit a business, but they have health insurance. They don't live in a house filled with drugs and porn magazines. They have a support network of healthy people who are decent role models. Oh, and then there's this guy."

On to September 6. Now you're thinking "did this guy winnow these down at all or is this just every post he made last year?" The answer is no, but it's maybe close.

But you guys, I liked this one. It's about fitting in, which I am so bad at. I read Holly Goldberg Sloan's Counting By 7's, which is a very young adult young adult book, which is not a bad thing. Maniac Magee feels like a great comparison. Anyway, like I do, I made it all about me.

"I'm an outdoorsman who loves collecting old video games, a feminist who loves football, and a Mormon who loves rap music. I love mountain biking and musical theater. And let's be honest here, you guys, because you read this blog and you might know me personally so you already know this but it might be valuable to know that I am aware of it, too. In the words of Hamilton (the rapper), "I know I talk too much, I'm abrasive."

September 19 found me writing about  Raymie Nightengale, another "serious" YA book by one of my favorites, Kate DiCamillo. I ended up focusing on one little lovely part of the book to start a discussion about miracles. I thought maybe this post would be controversial, but nobody said anything to me about it, so what do I know about anything? (answer: increasingly less)

" I think that this is a sometimes miserable world to live in even though every day we are surrounded by beauty and astonishing human achievements. We walk under skyscrapers like there's nothing amazing about that and we look at supercomputers in our hands that can answer every question but no matter how much we stare we don't find happiness in them. We see these little birds on the street that are full of tiny organs and synapses and blood and stuff and we just think "gross, those things eat garbage." A lot of us are just barely scraping by and feel like we are perpetually one broken transmission away from homelessness."

A New Darkness, by Joseph Delaney, is fun YA genre fiction. I think I went through a YA phase because I was very distracted by the election and couldn't tackle heavy books. This one fit the bill really nicely, but rest assured, it did not stop me from getting all social justice warrior (SJW) in my post. In this one I reminisced about an experience I observed while working at the movie theater as a teen.

"It's weird being a teenager. You have crushes on a lot of people all at once and you're like a mongoose who was raised by an old lady who always had a bowl of milk out but she died and suddenly you are unleashed on the world. You know you're supposed to pursue cobras. There's something in your DNA that says get those cobras, but when you see a cobra you also want to hide and so often you do. Or you sort of hang around the cobras, but don't let yourself get too close because they are very, very scary."

The last proper book post I wrote was in October, and it was about Sarah Helm's Ravensbrück: Life and Death in Hitler’s Concentration Camp for Women. This post goes all over the place, but there are things in it that I'm proud of. I still haven't finished the book, by the way. I had to return it to the library because it's over 700 pages and I am but one man. I will finish it in 2017, though, and plan on having more to say about it.

"Wolfgang remembers his father sewing pieces of bread into the clothes of prisoners. His father, during the darkest time in his country's history, found a way to fight back, even if it was minuscule in the grand scheme, it meant a lot. And Wolfgang remembered it for the rest of his life. And now so do we. Because of that little act of kindness and many more like it from prisoners within the prison, the occasional kind guard, and people in the surrounding area, we have a historical record of people who did what they could to lessen the horrors."

Ok, that's it. I wrote a couple more things post-election that you might be interested in, but they were so recent you just have to scroll down. Otherwise I guess let's have fun in 2017.