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Books read, late January

Kate Atkinson, Transcription. A literary spy story, infiltrating the British fascists of 1940 and what has happened beyond that. I thought that Red Joan was better at some of the tropes that eventually came up as events unfolded in this book, but they’re actually both worth having.

Noel D. Broadbent, Lapps and Labyrinths: Saami Prehistory, Colonization, and Cultural Resistance. This is a lot of northern archaeology, which means that ski fragments and seal bones are discussed in great detail. That is in fact my jam. It may also be yours–and even if it isn’t, there aren’t loads of readily available sources on Saami culture before/during colonization, so if that’s an interest, it’s not going to be in the “yawn, another one of those” category.

Brendan Fletcher, Karl Kerschil, Becky Cloonan, Adam Archer, and Msassyk, Gotham Academy Second Semester Volume 1: Welcome Back. They’ve added to the title of this I guess? Presented it as a new run instead of just having, like, volume 4 of the previous? It doesn’t work at all as a place to start this series–if you’re interested in spoopy youngsters in the periphery of Bruce Wayne, go back to the beginning. The plot twists struck me as really obvious this time, but this may be a results of me not being a teenager and new to this.

Morgan Jerkins, This Will Be My Undoing: Living at the Intersection of Black, Female, and Feminist in (White) America. The ending of this book really built to something strong and worth having. I was a little unsure of several of the chains of association earlier in the book, but I can’t honestly tell whether it jumps around a lot or whether there are implicit links that I’m missing because I am not, in fact, living at the intersection of Black and anything, and y’know, not everything has to be spelled out anyway, and not everything has to be aimed at me.

Pat Parker, The Complete Works of Pat Parker. If you’re looking for righteous wrath, Pat Parker brings it. She occasionally brings other emotions, but there is a lot of Black lesbian anger here, well grounded in the reality of Parker’s lived experience.

Ntozake Shange, Sassafrass, Cypress, and Indigo. Quite often when people describe non-Latin American works as magic realism, they are neglecting elements like the post-colonial/anti-colonial thread to magic realism. Shange’s story of three sisters exploring the arts, the world, and themselves is exactly the magic realism of the American South. Beautiful stuff here.

Django Wexler, Ship of Smoke and Steel. Discussed elsewhere.

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