Magic Wands and Wormhole Generators

The Everyday Language of White Racism (Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture) (Wiley-Blackwell Studies in Discourse and Culture)

The Everyday Language of White Racism - Jane H. Hill This book just pissed me off. She makes ridiculous assumptions just to try to prove her thesis. Many of her discussions are honestly interesting and valid (hence the 2 stars), but other points she makes, in particular in the section dealing with Spanish, are just plain wrong. As a native Spanish speaker I can assure you that what she tries to use as proof of racism is ridiculous. I'm very surprised that as an anthropologist she didn't bother to dig a little deeper into the actual social meaning of some stupid grammatical mistake.

The First Book of Adam and Eve

The First Book of Adam and Eve - Rutherford Hayes Platt A really great (and super short!) read. Tells the story of Adam and Eve after they've been expelled from the Garden and why Satan messes with them. Very worthwhile to be preceded or followed by Paradise Lost and the Bible's Genesis.

Folk and Fairy Tales

Folk and Fairy Tales - Martin Hallett, Barbara Karasek It's awesome! But I read the fourth edition- why isn't it up in goodreads?

Holes

Holes - Louis Sachar This is the only book whose movie I thought was far better. Ah! I never thought I'd say that! But it's true. And mostly, it's because the story is so wonderful, but the writing style brings the book down by a lot. It's possible that this book was intended for 8 year olds to be able to read, in which case, nevermind. But the short sentences and the overall voice made me feel like the author thought I was stupid, or he was. Which he clearly couldn't be- because this story is gold. He creates such vivid and real characters that go through a development as more of the intertwining history of this "camp" they're all at unravels. Definitely a story for the curious! But, in all honesty, you might as well just watch the movie- the author himself was worked with the director every step of the way, so the story really matches exactly (except for the main character's weight loss), he's actually even in it briefly!

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Modern Library Classics)

The Picture of Dorian Gray - Oscar Wilde, Jeffrey Eugenides A short read, written in the style you'd expect of the time period, but honestly so compelling. I almost don't know why. The character is just fascinating, I guess, and the premise is one I keep coming back to think about in my life. It reminds me of Jekyll and Hyde for all of those reasons, not to mention the theme of good versus evil and appearances versus reality in/of the self. I think everyone should read at least one well-written book that fictionalizes this kind of self examination- it makes it real and applicable for the reader while maintaining a fantastical plot that can do nothing less than draw the reader to the finish.

Pedro Páramo

Pedro Páramo - Juan Rulfo, Margaret Sayers Peden, Susan Sontag I cannot express ow much I love this story. I read the original text in Spanish, and if you can manage it I have to recommend it in the original language. There's SO MUCH that really is impossible to translate appropriately- not just because of the specific vocab, but mostly with how he uses words, grammar, nuances of the language to manipulate all the possibilities of what you may think. Rulfo manipulates language as much as he manipulates time, perspective, and reality in this book. I gasped almost every other page and sometimes found myself suddenly standing and starting to pace as I read on. It does not follow the conventional route of a story, you simply get to know characters better, and maybe can even start guessing about their situation. Are they dead, spirits, stuck, alive, is this the past, present, future, where are they, all together, all separate, how do they relate to themselves, their space, their times, does anyone, anywhere, anytime really exist? That probably makes it seem like ones of those "wtf what's going on books"- let me be clear, it's not. You're given great stories and characters that develop, but here's always such a mystical kind of mystery to it all. I can't even describe what I mean! Just read it! It's so satisfying to try to figure it out as you go along, I've never had better aha! moments in any other book- even if most of my aha!s ended up contradicting the last one. So good. Just. So good.

Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire

Lenin's Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire - David Remnick This is a surprisingly smooth, easy, and completely enrapturing read. It's, in fact, incredible. Non-fiction, as educational and interesting as it may get, tends to get pushed to the last in my reading list because, let's face it, it's kind just more boring. Remnick is not only a compelling and honest writer, ut everything that he writes about, all these people from the USSR, he's writing from first-hand experiences! This doesn't read quite like fiction, but no really like straight up non-fiction, either. It's a fascinating weave of stories of people who he met and spoke with and attended events with that create this insanely insightful history of the powers of the Soviet empire. In fact, I would probably even re-read this. And that's not something I've ever done before with non-fiction. Remnick, you're amazing!

Black Boy (The Restored Text Established by The Library of America) (Perennial Classics)

Black Boy - Richard Wright, Jerry W. Ward Jr. This book feels like 2 books put together. The first one, about his younger life and much longer than the second one (thankfully), is incredible. This is one of those books they sometimes make you read in high school, which is how I came across it, but thank god they did! Wright's writing style in the first book is just so fantastic- he makes things come to life with great imagery- not just the places and physical things, but the people and their feelings. I remember being fascinated with how he described things. The topic itself was also very well written. Normally I'm not a big fan of the "I was oppressed" genre, but some authors actually do it creatively, and well- Wright is the best of these. He tells a captivating and beautifully written story of a boy growing up in the Jim Crow society- but there are funny moments and exciting moments, too, so don't get depressed thinking this'll be just another "woe is me" book.Now the second part, I almost hated. It basically is him talking about him being part of the communist party in Chicago and the writing style changes to this kind of long-winded rambling about... uh... communism. I don't have anything against the concept of communism, but the way this was written is just crap compared to the first section. And the discontinuity just kills it.I suggest stopping once you finish part I- it ends as a book in itself, so there is ZERO need to read the second part and it really adds nothing else to understanding the character anyway.

Elsewhere

Elsewhere - Gabrielle Zevin This is one of those books I must have randomly run across and read a long time ago, but it has stayed with me for so long. There are just some books like that- I think about them my whole life after reading them, even if I don't remember the name of the book, when I read it, or why, or whether it was even a book, a movie, or maybe a dream I had once. The premise is just genuinely interesting, worth musing over in half-remembered in dreams that for some reason just stick for the rest of your life, regardless of the fact that (or maybe to its credit) it's an easy and short read.

Currently reading

The Night Circus
Erin Morgenstern
The Eye of the World
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The Enchanted Castle
H.R. Millar, E. Nesbit