I read a lot. This is a selection of what I read the past week (4/5/2021 through 4/11/2021) that I think you should read, too.
*Valentina Di Liscia’s We Asked the Art World to Explain NFTs, and No One Could for Hyperallergic: This is an April Fool’s Day piece, so don’t take it as fact. Because, uh, it’s not fact at all. Still hilarious, though.
*Emily McCullar’s How Leaders of the Texas Revolution Fought to Preserve Slavery for Texas Monthly: Texas History books leave out a major aspect of the Texas Revolution: the ways in which the movement’s leaders tried to work around Mexico’s anti-slavery laws. It’s a historical fact with first-person documentation to back it up, but Texas student’s aren’t getting the full story. And ahistorical thinking is dangerous.
*Katherine J. Wu’s Super Resilient Protein Structures Preserved a Chunk of Brain for 2,600 Years for Smithsonian Mag: A human brain shouldn’t survive after death for more than a few months, years at most if the conditions call for it. But a specimen found in York, England has remained partially intact for millennia thanks to a combination of a boggy environment and proteins that held tightly together when the rest of the body decomposed away.
*Nancy Wang Yuen’s Atlanta spa shooting suspect’s ‘bad day’ defense, and America’s sexualized racism problem for NBC News: Racism and misogyny go hand-in-hand, and Nancy Wang Yuen looks at the dangers of neglecting the two issues as a conjoined entity. Violence against women of color can’t be reduced to one social ill or another.
As always, my weeklies/weeklies-ish:
*Huda Fahmy’s Yes I’m Hot in This
*Phylecia Miller and Jules Rivera’s Hi, Phylecia!
*Taejoon Park’s Lookism
*Jules Rivera’s Mark Trail
*Linda Sejic’s Punderworld
*Jessi Sharon’s The Sea in You
*Rachel Smythe’s Lore Olympus
*Sensaga’s Ham and Mat
*Steenz’s Heart of the City
Emily Flake’s cartoon for The New Yorker about what her expectations of life post-Covid would look like versus the reality of awkwardness and apathy toward many arbitrary social niceties. It’s going to be an adjustment for sure.
I’m a big Huda Fahmy fan and was excited to finally pick up That Can be Arranged: A Muslim Love Story, some of which I’d already read on her Yes, I’m Hot in This Instagram. The Pac-Man face she makes when she screams, “ME WANT MAN!” always give me a massive laugh. Fahmy makes sure that readers know her relationship and subsequent marriage to husband Gehad speaks only to her own life and isn’t meant to be taken as a revelation into Muslim experiences on the whole. It’s a really sweet story told with Fahmy’s characteristic wry, nerdy humor (again, Pac-Man faces), and one of my favorite scenes involved an early chaperoned meeting with her future husband where the two debated Mew vs. Mewtwo in front of her extremely confused mother.
Apparently this was a week for super cute romance comics, because I also picked up Go for it, Nakamura! by Syundei. It’s a gay love story with the retro aesthetics of a late-’80s, early ’90s manga, following an extremely introverted, isolated high school student – the eponymous Nakamura – who falls in love with his genial, popular classmate Hirose. His attempts to get closer frequently end in serious awkwardness and confusion, including a charming and very silly scene where he tries to protect Hirose from some delinquents, and the book never crosses over into too saccharine or too angsty. In fact, it’s made relatively clear that Nakamura enjoys Hirose’s company as a friend, and one gets the impression that despite his slightly-older-than-puppy love he’d be happy simply to have him as an important part of his life regardless of the romantic outcome.
After drowning in my tears finishing Song of Achilles, I pulled myself up onto a raft made up of Madeline Miller’s other novel of ancient Greek legendary figures Circe. The author’s extensive background in the classics and interest in hewing close to canon (or as much canon as there is considering the flux nature of myth) doesn’t make this book necessarily a reimagining. Rather, she streamlines what already exists into one narrative, bringing in elements from the various authors who chronicled the traditional tales in their own times and filling in blanks. Circe looks at the immortal life of The Odyssey‘s exiled witch, famed for turning men into pigs for her sty. She’s a far more complex character than most of us remember from the Greek mythology sections in middle school, with her own mistakes, regrets, strengths, and triumphs.
See you next week, fellow bookish buffs!
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