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08 September 2006 @ 08:34 pm
this comes from one of my favorite books (since i fell in love with asian american studies a few years ago). each chapter touches on a different social issue that asian amercians have dealt with in their struggle to be accepted and have equal rights as americans, each one surrounding a central event, like the vincent chin murder and the LA riots. this is from the chapter "out on the front lines" which talks about the asian american community's involvement with GLBT rights, particularly in hawaii in the early ninties (when hawaii briefly leagalized gay marriage).

these are some parts i really liked, particularly because of their relevence to today's political issues and the gay rights/marriage debates that are getting increasingly tense.

some of these are just great things to remember in general if you're interested in social change.

Out on the Front LinesCollapse )
Seasons, geology, plants, invertebrates and reptiles, birds, land mammals, marine mammals. Of course I'll quote about birds.

"The Field Checklist of the Birds of Marin County" refers to the [Point Reyes ] area as a "hotbed" of bird life. It is. Over 400 species have been recorded at Point Reyes and new rarities are discovered each year. Indeed, Point Reyes supports as great a variety of bird species as any other area of equivalent size in North America...

If there were any way I could move to the Point Reyes area, I would. Maybe someday.
This is from one of my favorite books, 'The Heart is Deceitful Above All Things' by JT Leroy. This is a really, really intense book full of violence, sex and mature themes, and very disturbing because it's told from the point of view of a child. After spending the first four years of his life with a foster family, Jeremiah is returned to his birth who had him when she was fourteen. She takes him around the country, from boyfriend to boyfriend, from strip joint to truck stop as she tries to find a new sugar daddy. Both his mother and her boyfriends physically and sexually abuse Jeremiah, and he associates the abuse with the love and attention he craves. He's put in the custody of his bible-thumping grandparents, who employ extreme measures of abuse to cleanse him of sin. This is an incredible books, but obviously not for the faint of heart. The book ends with a teenage Jeremiah visiting an S&M master whom he pays to punish him, so the book is an interesting read for anyone interested in alternative sexualities also. It also explores some interesting gender themes, because Jeremiah crossdresses sometimes and wears his mother's clothes to seduce one of her boyfriends. This is really one of my favorite books and I'm hoping someday I'll take a class that I'll be able to analyze it for.

parts of meCollapse )

Edit: JT Leroy has a novel called 'Sarah' that is more coherent and a little less violent than this one, which I also recommend. They made a movie out of it last year, but I haven't been able to get my hands on it yet.
There's also a controversy surrounding JT Leroy's identity... the book jackets state that he's 26 years old, published at the age of 16, and that the novels are semi-autobiographical. However, a friend passed along to me some articles that suggest that Leroy might actually be a middle-aged woman, who writes under his persona and sends out a friend or actor to appear as Leroy for public appearances. That seems likely to me... but who knows.
06 July 2006 @ 08:49 pm
My recent reading has been very colorful.
"five against one - the Pearl Jam story"
by Kim Neely, a veteran Rolling Stone writer.

this is a definitive bio of one of the worlds most popular bands, a detailed behind the scenes chronicle of Pearl Jams ascent to superstardom .

my favorite part, with a touch of X....
Read more...Collapse )
this is a good read if you are interested in how much crap rock bands have to put up with in order to survive in the industry.
Current Mood: impressedimpressed
Current Music: once by PJ
the premise of this book is wonderful: after we die, we go to a city of the dead, where we lead whatever life we choose until the last person on earth who remembers us dies. then we go on to an undefined afterlife. people in the city of the dead do basically the same kind of stuff they do on earth-- have jobs, relationships, whatever. the chapters alternate between the city and one woman on earth, in a research station in antarctica, who is isolated and has lost all communication with the outside world. numbers rapidly dwindle in the city of the dead, and everyone there eventually realises that a terrible plague has happened on earth, and all the remaining citizens somehow knew this woman, the last woman on earth. wow, it's an amazing book. it's all about death, but it's never macabre or dark. it's really about isolation and the importance of small perfect moments in life. it's incredibly well-written. i'm hard pressed to find a favorite part, but i'll try.

from the first chapter:
she began to snowCollapse )

from the last, from the POV of a character known only as "the blind man":
along with his eyeglasses and the better part of his witsCollapse )

i wanted to get a bit from laura's perspective but i couldn't find one that wasn't gigantic. it's a fantastic book. i think it would be a good read for someone who lives in a major city, because it's all about the fact that the memory of people we see on the street-- homeless people, crazy people, fruit vendors, kids on skateboards-- matters somehow, and matters greatly.
Current Mood: sleepysleepy
21 June 2006 @ 08:48 am
I'm not reading this book but it's on my list. I enjoyed this excerpt so much I thought I'd share. There is a whole chapter under the cut. I wouldn't post so much but it's available many places online. Warnings for language and sex.

In the summer of 1642 in Plymouth, Massachusetts, a teenage boy was accused of buggering a mare, a cow, two goats, five sheep, two calves, and a turkey. This is real history on the books. In accordance with the Biblical laws of Leviticus, after the boy confessed he was forced to watch each animal being slaughtered. Then he was killed and his body heaped with the dead animals and buried in an unmarked pit.

This was before there were sexaholic talk therapy meetings.

This teenager, writing his fourth step must've been a whole barnyard tell-all.

I ask, "Any questions?"

The fourth-graders just look at me. A girl in the second row says, "What's buggering?"

I say, ask your teacher.Collapse )
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10 June 2006 @ 06:00 pm
The Saxon and Norman Kings by Christopher N.L. Brooke is the author's revision of his 1963 book of the same name. I love English history in this time and Brooke is a great scholar, but my brief quote from chapter one, in an argument for the cosmopolitan nature of twelfth century monarchs, demonstrates his wit.
Soon after the end of our period, King Richard I reigned for ten years as king of England, spending only a few months in his kingdom. He was much more at home in the wide areas of France that he also ruled; he married a princess from Navarre in northern Spain; he went on Crusade, settling the affairs of the kingdoms of Sicily, Jerusalem (after a fashion) and Cyprus before returning to England - only very briefly - in 1194.

I love the English.
19 May 2006 @ 11:28 am
I bring excerpts from Loren D. Estleman's The Adventures of Johnny Vermillion, one of the rip-roaringest bits of writing that I've read in a long long time. It's like Deadwood with less profanity and frontal nudity, and more like a screwball comedy version with zippy dialogue.

From the book blurb:
"Johnny Vermillion's theatre troupe brings masterpieces to the Wild West... Johnny also arranges a special attraction for each town. While his actors bustle in and out of costumes, on and off stage in many roles, one plays the villain in the bank. Then the actors take their curtain calls and railroad away..."

The Wild, Wild WestCollapse )

This book will be released in June or July. Rip-roaring, I tell you!
17 May 2006 @ 09:19 am
Clive Barker's one of my favorite authors. His books are usually part horror, fantasy and erotica, but this was his first published attempt at a children's book. It's now being re-publised as a graphic novel. (covers and page samples)

The great gray beast February had eaten Harvey Swick alive.Collapse )
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