Has this summer been brutal for *checks notes* everyone? It seems like it has and personally I would like to file a complaint. I find myself welcoming the chill in the air, which normally is abhorrent to me, signaling as it does the soon to be relentless onslaught of Minnesota winter. I spent a great deal of the winter of 2018/2019 thinking “well this is the LAST one and soon I will be MOVING!” and that has not been the case, and so I lie on the floor, appreciating a fall-themed candle, feeling feelings about the finale of Jane the Virgin.
That got way more dramatic than I intended, so let’s just go ahead and jump into those books!
It’s Not Like It’s a Secret – Misa Sugiura
This sweet YA novel goes down easy and was a nice break from some of the more challenging stuff I’ve been reading lately. I read the majority of it on a quiet Saturday night with chocolate and the cat nearby and the experience was really lovely. Sana is navigating a new school, new friends, and frustrations with her parents, all while trying to figure out if the girl she has a crush on might just like her back. It’s a cute book and I enjoyed reading it, but by the end it mostly just felt ‘meh’ to me. Something about the plot just didn’t quite cohere smoothly and some of the “teen dialogue” felt a bit choppy.
Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty – Dorothy Roberts
A while ago I mentioned that I wanted to read some books about reproductive justice that don’t center white women, and since the internet is a place ripe with book suggestions, I landed here and WOW FUCK IS IT EVER GOOD. Roberts provides an enormous amount of history on the many ways that the reproductive liberty of Black women has been targeted and attacked, from slavery to the eugenics movement to insidious racist policies and attitudes at work today. The book was published in 1997, so it obviously doesn’t come all the way up to today, but the context Roberts provides and framework she puts forward is invaluable. I think I said, “what in the FUCK” at least 7 or 8 times per chapter. The book is much more expansive than just how the modern “reproductive rights movement” frequently outright ignores the needs and activism of Black women [though it certainly goes into that]; it dives deep into the necessity of understanding the many ways that white supremacy and misogynoir have shaped the reproductive conversation and reproductive policies.
tw: sexual assault
The Last Thing He Wanted – Joan Didion
I thought about starting this section with “Baby’s First Didion!” but that seemed too gross even for me. As a mature human adult speaking of herself would say: this is the first full work of Didion’s that I read, and I really liked it. Hot hot take: Joan Didion is a good writer! Honestly I did not have a great grasp on the actual plot for a lot of the book — it’s about a scammy, shady deal that goes wrong and has a lot to do with political scandals of the 80s which I do not happen to be well-versed in. According to the podcast Little Gold Men, I was not alone in my confusion, but it didn’t really matter to me. The sentences were gorgeous and I was swept away by the tone. Apparently it’s becoming a Netflix movie soon [starring Anne Hathaway!!!], but there’s no trailer yet, so instead I’ll direct you to one of Daniel Ortberg’s excellent Joan Didion/Anna Wintour impressions.
Okay bye for now! I hope your Labor Day has as little labor in it as possible, and if labor is inevitable I hope it’s fulfilling or at least passes quickly!