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Archive for the ‘Library: Boston Public Library’ Category

24. “Bossypants,” Tina Fey

August 10, 2011 Leave a comment

I read this book in a few hours, which is something I have not been able to do for a while. Somewhere in the middle, I fell asleep and had a dream wherein Tina Fey was instructing me on how to get a dozen doughnuts and keep them all to myself. (The recommended technique was to transport said doughnuts by car to a second location that also sells doughnuts. And then to eat the doughnuts in your car. Turns out Tina Fey can’t drive. Otherwise, I think it is suitably Liz Lemonish.

Page count: 276
Page total: 7,196

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19. “Spider Bones,” Kathy Reichs

July 1, 2011 Leave a comment

I don’t know why I keep reading these books. The prose style does nothing for me, and the Temperance Brennen of these books is nothing like those of the television show.

Page count: 302
Page total: 5,386

15. “I am Not A Serial Killer,” Dan Wells

May 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Fifteen-year-old John Wayne Cleaver is not a serial killer– but he feels the monster deep inside that tells him he will be one if he lets his vigilance down. When bodies start turning up in his small town, he is thrilled to get to see the work of a serial killer up close as he helps his mortician mother to prepare the bodies. But soon his interest begins to go too far as he tries to find out more about the killer and how he does his work, John can feel his rules decaying. And finally he must decide whether he wants to be the killer he can feel inside.

This was a quick read. A fifteen-year-old protag makes it feel like young adult lit, but it was in general circ. One good thing about this book: No one tried to speak to me on the train while I was reading it.

Page count: 271
Page total: 4,108

10. “Exile & Pride: Disability, Queerness and Liberation,” Eli Clare

February 17, 2011 Leave a comment

Reflections on growing up queer, disabled, butch, and sexually abused in rural Oregon.

Page count: 192

Page total: 2,809

8. “Misery,” Stephen King

January 14, 2011 4 comments

Big time author Paul Sheldon celebrates finishing a new book– the first since he killed off the character, Misery CHastaine, who made him famous, but whom be grew to hate– with a bottle of champagne behind the wheel of his car in a blizzard. When his car spins out of control, he is pulled from the wreckage by Annie Wilkes, his number one fan. Annie nurses Paul carefully back to health, treating him as best she can with his badly mangled legs. Soon, though, Paul realizes that she is a dangerously ill woman and as her mental health slips, he finds himself more and more under her power. The two are locked into a battle of minds and wills Paul cannot afford to lose.

I meant to go to sleep more than an hour and a half ago. But I still had that much time left in this audio book and I could. not. stop. I legitmately let out a small, dry sob of terror somewhere near the end of the book. Okay, twice. Maybe three times. And there was one moment where I was so dizzy with fright I thought I might faint. I sunk my entire day into this book and don’t regret it.

If you listen to this audiobook, which I highly recommend, definitely listen to the version read by Lindsay Crouse, which is really well done and gives Kathy Bates a run for her money.

Page count: 352

Page total: 2,217

7. “Packing for Mars: The Curious Science of Life in the Void,” Mary Roach

December 24, 2010 1 comment

Mary Roach looks at the history of the US (and Russia’s) space program to feel out the feasibility of a future peopled mission to Mars.

This is the sort of thing Mary Roach does well: exhaustive Googling paired with access to important people and a willingness to ask questions that embarrass both of them. Poop factoids abound and it is a fun and quick read.

Note to self: Read Mike Mullane’s biography. Apparently he is one of the astronauts most willing to make a good poop joke.

Page count: 321
Page total: 1,865

5. “Covering,” Kenji Yoshino

December 4, 2010 Leave a comment

I would think, I wish I were dead. I did not think of it as a suicidal thought. My poet’s parsing mind read the first “I” and the second “I” as different “I”s. The first “I” was the whole watching the self, while the second “I”– the one I wanted to kill– was the gay “I” nested inside it. It was less a suicidal impulse than a homicidal one. (8)

While I tried to speak calmly, Bill has since told me I failed. He said I reminded him of the dinner parties he was attending in those days. At the mainly straight parties, his age peers would jabber on about their children. At the gay dinners, they’d jabber on about their coming out. This made him think coming out is the closest many gay men will come to giving birth. The act of giving birth to oneself is miraculous and terrifying, but unlikely to be calm. (13-14)

It is worth quoting Yoshino’s definitions of a few terms at length.

My struggle to arrive at a gay identity occurred in three phases, which I could also trace in the lives of gay peers. In the first phase, I sought to become straight. When I went to the chapel at Oxford, I prayed not to be what I was. I will call this desire for conversion. In the second phase, I accepted my homosexuality, but concealed it from others. By the time I talked to Bill about his class, I was no longer trying to convert. I was, however, trying to hide my identity from my classmates. I will call this desire for passing. Finally, long after I had generally come out of the closet, I still muted my orientation by not writing on gay topics or engaging in public displays of affection. This was not the same as passing, because my colleges knew I was gay. Yet I did not know a word for this attempt to tone down my known gayness.
Then I found my word, in sociologist Erving Goffman’s book Stigma. Published in 1963, the book describes how various groups– including the disabled, the elderly, and the obese– manage their “spoiled” identities. After discussing passing, Goffman observes that “persons who are ready to admit the possession of a stigma… may nonetheless make a great effort to keep the stigma from looming large.” His calls this behavior “covering.” Goffman distinguishes passing from covering by noting that passing pertains to the visibility of a particular trait, while covering pertains to its obtrusiveness. He relates how Franklin Roosevelt always stationed himself behind a table before his advisers came in for a meeting. Roosevelt was not passing, since everyone knew he used a wheelchair. He was covering, downplaying his disability so people would focus on his more conventionally presidential qualities.” (17-18)

I could keep going and quote the entire book, but that should be enough to make you want to give Yoshino a high five. Not only is he immensely readable (which I am coming to feel more and more is something embodied theory must be), but his application of covering is very timely. This book is theory told through memoir and is poetic and incisive.

Page count: 203
Page total: 1,544