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10 inspirational books with powerful life lessons: Guaranteed to help motivate your child to win at life!!!!




Happy Birthday James Phelan 1979 Australian thriller & post-apocalyptic including Fox Hunt The Last 13 series for teens ALONE trilogy & Jed Walker & Lachlan Fox thrillers & Literati (2005)










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Sharp, by Michelle Dean

“The expectations women have for each other, the way we all size each other up, have so many hopes for each other and so many moments, too, of disappointment that is the nature, apparently, of being a woman who thinks, and talks about thinking, in public.”

A delightful introduction to 10 female writers who never hesitated to share their opinions, even when unpopular. They all had uneasy relationships with Feminism as a movement, but you can’t deny their feminist thoughts and actions. 

I’m grateful to Dean for her illuminating context and informative yet entertaining analysis of these women. I can’t wait to read their works.

Le Monde va Beaucoup Mieux que vous ne le Croyez by Jacques Lecomte (The World is doing Much Better than you Think). I purchased this after hearing the author interviewed about trends in crime on a French TV show. I was hoping for a book that would offer the hard data needed to confirm what I’ve long felt, that the media constantly focuses on the bad news, skewing our world view. That is indeed what the book attempts to do, although the approach is in my opinion so frustratingly shallow that it’s counter productive. In a series of short thematic chapters Lecomte presents one or two data points that go against the commonly accepted grain. Unfortunately for me, it’s just too shallow. I wanted more data and less “how can we explain the data”. It’s not a bad book, it’s just nowhere near as in-depth as I needed it to be to confirm (or infirm) my hunches.

Designers & Dragons 90s by Shannon Appelcline. The third installment in this history of RPGs through the companies that made them. The 90s features two really biguns, namely White Wolf and Wizards of the Coast. It’s quite fascinating to go back to that era. So many games I owned or played that I’d forgotten about. Still as readable as entertaining as the previous ones.

Designers & Dragons The 80s by Shannon Appelcline. Continuing the saga of the RPGs throughout the last four decades and a half. The Designers & Dragons format is now familiar to me and I think it works great. In this volume, we see the impact of the fragmentation of the early RPG companies: as talent leaves to either start their own outfits or land elsewhere, gaming concepts pollinate and innovation thrives. The impact of TSR’s own troubles start being felt on the rest of the industry. Hints of the big changes coming in the 90s are starting to appear here. Good stuff if you’re inclined to be interested (it is SUPER niche!)

Designers & Dragons ‘70-'79 by Shannon Appelcline. Empire of Imagination was my first attempt at reading about the history of RPGs, and it was a big dissappointment. This first volume of Designers & Dragons on the other hand is a great read. It’s a bit dry, admittedly, but it paints a really interesting framework of the industry in the 70s and its gradual shift from amateurs to pros. It’s not light reading at 420 pages but it’s really interesting stuff. It reminded me in some ways of the old Rock Family Trees books, mapping the influence of designers across multiple companies. Good stuff.

At some point.

The opposite of insanity is careful cleaning. To ward off depression or otherwise regular fits of deep despair, you’re meant to shower. To maintain, to persevere, you clean the kitchen. And some, for a sense of outright control, try to clean their insides. It can feel as if we’re scrubbing down to the bone. It can feel as if this — the dirtiness — is our actual aversion to aging. Babies are clean. “Clean eating” is a phrase people use. Detoxification. White couches. Chrome buildings. We would love for this existence to be sterile.

My mother used to be obsessed with cleanliness in a round-about way. She nurtured the circular pattern of wiping the counters, of cleaning the sink. This is called tidying. She was not a clean person. This was a key point my father liked to make. She ate yogurt from the tub in her pajamas, wore her hair dirty more often than not. Most of all, she gave in to fistfuls of painkillers and Diet Coke. She smoked Marlboro Lights on the back porch in complete darkness, the only light in southeast Michigan being the tip of her cigarette and our shared, blatant rage. But this, too, was a circular motion, and in that she found her cleanliness. It was why I kept my books organized and my floor drowning in clothes. It’s why our basement was teeming with these glittery Christmas ornaments, that patterned sweater, but our kitchen floor was mopped daily. It is like the chrome building, in that it reflects. It was the housed I bathed in, but still lacked control. 

Now, I see her in the circular motions of scrubbing the grout in the shower with bleach, shaving my legs, applying lotion to my hands. I see that shared, blatant rage and know the rest of her life is measured in the cigarettes she’ll drag on the back porch in southeast Michigan. And I’m in New York, recovering from all that, and growing dirtier with time. My life is measured in the days I spend at home, afraid. I clean my hair most every day. I eat vegetables in fits. There was a month where I did yoga, laid on the floor with my eyes shut, and tried to picture all the blood draining out of my body until I was pure, clean. I thought, of course, of buying a white couch. 

Feminism is an endeavor to change something very old, widespread, and deeply rooted in many, perhaps most, cultures around the world, innumerable institutions, and most households on Earth - and in our minds, where it all begins and ends.

- Rebecca Solnit, Men Explain Things to Me

Year Goals 2019 - Reading


1. Sir Thomas More (a play, collab. Shakespeare + contemporaries)
2. Strong as Death is Love
3.  Begat - David Crystal
4. The Story of English in 100 words  - David Crystal
5. We Are Not Amused - David Crystal
6. The Devil’s Cloth: A History of Stripes - Michel Pastoreau

7. Landmarks - Robert MacFarlane

Fire and Blood - GRRM
The Mabinogion
Uprooted
The Turnip Princess
God Bless You Mr. Rosewater/ God Bless You, Dr. Kevorikian
AVSI Druids/ AVSI Celts/ Who Were the Celts (if time allows)
Poems Dead and Undead/ Poems Humand and Inhuman
The Night Witches
Norse Mythology - Neil Gaiman

I’ll Be Gone in the Dark by Michelle McNamara
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I wasn’t terribly interested in the subject matter (the true crime genre in general or this story of a serial murderer/rapist), but I did really enjoy McNamara’s evocative, engaging writing style and the “story behind the story”. Of particular interest were the memoir sections – how she conducted her investigation, her observations of the stark difference in personality between detectives/investigators and that of her social group in the performing arts, and, especially, the psychological insights into how people (like her) become obsessed with true crime.

View all my reviews
This is a Voice

Extract:

“Power is exercised not only through the voice but over it. The power of the voice often seems to be exercised through the performance of the voice’s power over itself, through constriction, fragmentation or other kinds of distortion. It is striking how often, and especially in rage or other kinds of extreme emotion, the voice seems to be turned against its own matter or bodily means: the voice that rasps, or splits, or cracks seems to be demonstrating in its violent self-laceration the desire for the voice (almost, one might say, the voice’s own desire) to be able to do its work directly upon the world and then those in it”.