Mid-month Round Up for January!

Exactly halfway through the first month of 2018, and I have really enjoyed looking at other people’s reading resolutions and goals on Twitter and IG! Have scoped out some excellent looking prospects, and am really interested in how other people are tracking their reads!

I’ve been reading mostly electronic so far this year – mostly because that’s the only stuff thats available to me here in Kyoto. I brought a few hard copies with me, and bought a few in Bangkok, but finished them in Dec. I do have a few visitors coming in a couple of weeks, so am asking them to bring over a random few from my TBR pile back home, but for now, am depending on Kindle.

At the halfway point, I have read 5 books. Of interest:

  • Michael Pollan The Omnivore’s Dilemma This was recommended by a hike buddy, and I really enjoyed it. The chapter on corn got a little sciencey in bits, but it was nice to be reminded of the steps you can take to consume meat ethically. WE ARE ALL MADE OF CORN, APPARENTLY.
  • Carmen Maria Machado Her Body & Other Parties Angela Carter redux. This collection is best read as a collection, with an underlying insistence on female access to a particular interpretation of the world (the women in the stories hear things, see things, that others don’t); a reclamation of the female body through violence (it is often through acts of violence that the feminine interpret their own bodies and selves); and the world as under siege (there are plagues, diseases, infections and contagions). It is overwhelmingly a world on the edge of implosion; communities and masses are viewed as suspect, infected. One or two of the stories seemed incomplete to me, not fully conceptualized or fleshed out. I wouldn’t call this book very readable – the prose was nice but not gripping or gorgeous. But the premises of the individual stories were interesting.
  • Reni Eddo-Lodge Why I’m No Longer Talking to White People About Race This book arose out of a 2014 blog post by Eddo-Lodge, and I found it really interesting, particularly because it’s British rather than American. I feel like I’ve read a lot of stuff on race by American writers, and it was eye-opening to read about the history of race relations in the UK. As Eddo-Lodge points out in the book, “until I went actively digging for black British histories, I didn’t know them”, whereas the American history of race relations is sort of globally imbedded by now – Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, etc. A lot of the discourse here will be familiar, but the British context was new to me, and as someone who considers the UK, however problematically, a second home (I love and loathe it; it has shaped me and spat at me; I am comfortable and alien there; it is a part of me I am still coming to terms with) this was a great read. There were some incidents that bore more explanation, but overall a firm thumbs up. (Also, as of 2016, 70% of university professors in England were still white men. Bleurgh. I need to find out the stats for UBD.)

I’m actually halfway through Susan Hill’s The Travelling Bag and Other Ghostly Stories, but had to stop because it was getting a little too creepy. I don’t foresee myself picking this up again till I’m in a braver/more reckless mood!

Book Expenses so far

Amazon US Total: USD52.08 (BND68.96)

Amazon UK Total: GBP16.44 (BND29.87)

Total in BND: 98.83

So far, no money dropped in Japanese bookstores, although my Japanese Amazon Prime is definitely getting a workout.


Onwards through the rest of the month!

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