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The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian

I believe this is the first book labelled as “Young Adult” I have ever read – when I was a kid, when I was a young adult, now.  It’s not that when I was younger I read lots of “grownup” … Continue reading

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The Intuitionist

Sometime last year I read The Underground Railroad, Colson Whitehead’s speculative historical fictional piece which asks what if that railroad were a railroad, and underground?  That premise opened up into a very present-regarding look at how people and social structures work … Continue reading

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The Handmaid’s Tale

This was one of those books I ended up reading because is has recently been made into a movie (actually TV show).  But I’ve done this before – decided to read something because other people were watching it (then I … Continue reading

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Autumn – Karl Ove Knausgaard

For some reason, Volume 6 of Karl Ove Knausgaard’s My Struggle has been delayed until next year.  Having read and enjoyed the first five (I wouldn’t say I’m obsessed with them – they’re good, I like reading them, I look forward … Continue reading

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Do Not Say We Have Nothing

Though more than 1.3 billion people live in China, I am embarrassed to say that Do Not Say We Have Nothing is one of three books I’ve read that have any sustained connection to that country.  The other two are The Joy … Continue reading

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James Baldwin – Going to Meet the Man and Some Mid-60’s Essays

“The American situation is very peculiar and it may be without precedent in the world. No curtain under heaven is heavier than that curtain of guilt and lies behind which white Americans hide” (James Baldwin, “White Man’s Guilt”) One of my earliest James … Continue reading

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James Baldwin – The Fire Next Time

The words of “My Dungeon Shook” ring in my ears almost every single day.  Somehow the centerpiece of that ringing is a simple imperative sentence about 3/4 of the way through the final, two-page paragraph: You, don’t be afraid. That paragraph, itself, … Continue reading

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James Baldwin – Another Country

Another Country is James Baldwin’s third novel, and is is quite a bit longer than Baldwin’s first two, maybe even longer than both of them combined.  It’s interesting to me that it basically covers a lot of the same ground that his essays … Continue reading

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James Baldwin – Nobody Knows My Name (and some other essays from the early 60’s)

The greatest takeaway for me from Nobody Knows Your Name is “Fifth Avanue, Uptown: A Letter from Harlem.”  In this essay Baldwin explores the phenomenology of police violence – again, if you don’t care what I have to say, at least … Continue reading

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James Baldwin – Giovanni’s Room

I was really surprised when I figured out that David, the protagonist of Baldwin’s second novel, Giovanni’s Room, was white.  The novel never says so directly, but he is described a handful of times as “blonde.”  In fact, as far … Continue reading

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