Archive: March 2016

tweets for 2016-03-30

Thursday, March 31st, 2016

tweets for 2016-03-29

Wednesday, March 30th, 2016

tweets for 2016-03-28

Tuesday, March 29th, 2016

Book Review: Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Monique W. Morris (2016)

Monday, March 28th, 2016

Because Black Girls Matter

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through Edelweiss. Trigger warning for discussions of racism, sexism, homophobia, transphobia, sexual harassment, rape, and sexual trafficking.)

Born into a cultural legacy of slavery, Black American women have interpreted defiance as something that is not inherently bad. Harriet Tubman was defiant.

Michael Brown. Eric Garner. John Crawford III. Ezell Ford. Dante Parker. Tony Robinson. Akai Gurley. Walter Scott. Freddie Gray. Tamir Rice.

While the seemingly never-ending stream of tragedies involving the murder of unarmed black men and boys at the hands of law enforcement has focused media attention on the issues of police brutality, the militarization of local police forces, mass incarceration, the school-to-prison pipeline, and systemic racism, too often women and girls are excluded from the discussion. However, intersectional feminist and anti-racist activists aim to center the experiences of black women, who must contend with both race- and gender-based oppression. Thanks to initiatives like #SayHerName and #BlackGirlsMatter, the names of Rekia Boyd, Sandra Bland, and Tarika Wilson will not be lost to history.

While writing Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools, Monique W. Morris spent four years researching race and gender disparities in our educational system – and engaging with the girls and women directly impacted: namely, young women in New Orleans, Chicago, New York, Boston, and Northern and Southern California. The result is a book that’s as heartbreaking as it is informative.

Though she uses several high-profile cases – such as the assault of fifteen-year-old, bikini-clad Dajerria Becton at the hands of McKinney, Texas cop Eric Casebolt, and the handcuffing of six-year-old Floridian Desre’e Watson for throwing a tantrum in class – as jumping-off points, Morris looks beyond the most egregious examples of excessive force. She delves deeper, exploring how the proliferation of “zero tolerance” policies in the ’90s, the presence of police or “student resource officers” (SROs) in schools, and the criminalization of minor or nonviolent offenses – including behaviors that aren’t even against the law, such as “talking back” or violating a school’s dress code – create a hostile educational environment, especially for black girls.

(More below the fold…)

tweets for 2016-03-27

Monday, March 28th, 2016

tweets for 2016-03-26

Sunday, March 27th, 2016

Stacking the Shelves: March 2016

Saturday, March 26th, 2016

2016-03-04 - Miss Moon - 0003 [flickr]

I already had the pleasure of reviewing Miss Moon: Wise Words from a Dog Governess on NetGalley, but it’s even lovelier in real life.

2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0002 [flickr]

Another journal for review through Blogging for Books! Unlike the other Potter Style titles I’ve tried in the past, this one is generously sized, and I also love the arts and crafts emphasis.

2016-03-15 - New Book - 0002 [flickr]

& thanks to Kristopher Dukes for this copy of A Sworn Virgin: Broken Promises!

I also snagged a few great deals on ebooks this month:

  • Women’s Work (Women’s Work #1) by Kari Aguila (FREE on Amazon!)
    For review on NetGalley:

  • With Malice by Eileen Cook
  • The Cresswell Plot by Eliza Wass
  • Ivy in Bloom: The Poetry of Spring from Great Poets and Writers from the Past by Vanita Oelschlager and Kristin Blackwood
    For review on Edelweiss:

  • Mongrels by Stephen Graham Jones
  • Dreamology by Lucy Keating
  • Ask Me How I Got Here by Christine Heppermann
  • Down With the Shine by Kate Karyus Quinn

    tweets for 2016-03-25

    Saturday, March 26th, 2016

    Book Review: Collage This Journal, Eleanor Shakespeare (2016)

    Friday, March 25th, 2016

    Generously sized, with soothing earth tones and inventive prompts.

    four out of five stars

    (Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Blogging for Books.)

    I’ve reviewed several of Potter Style’s journals in the past, and more often than not have been disappointed by their small sizes. (The Q&A a Day: 5-Year Journal, for example, is roughly the size of a mass market paperback.) So I was pretty stoked when Eleanor Shakespeare’s Collage This Journal showed up on my doorstep. At 6.5″ wide by 9.25″ high (going by the cover; the pages are just a tick smaller), it’s generously sized and gives you plenty of room to work with.

    2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0002 [flickr]

    2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0004 [flickr]

    As you’ve no doubt gathered from the title, this is an unusual little journal in that it has more of a visual arts focus. Though you can certainly write in it if you’d like, the emphasis is on scrapbooking and collages. Each two-page spread features a prompt of some sort; e.g., “Create footprints using photos of places you’ve been”; “What hand have you been dealt?”; “Fill the lamp with wishes” – with lots of room to record your response. Shakespeare utilizes soothing earth tones to set the mood and provide an attractive yet low-key backdrop for your photos and artwork.

    2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0006 [flickr]

    2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0005 [flickr]

    2016-03-04 - Collage This Journal - 0007 [flickr]

    My main concern is that all the added material will make the book too bulky for its bindings. However, the library binding does provide some flexibility here. And while the book is a decent size, more is always better! This journal would be extra-rad if it was scrapbook-sized (8″x10″).

    Even so, I think it’s pretty shiny and can’t wait to start filling it with my own goodies.

    (This review is also available on Amazon, Library Thing, and Goodreads. Please click through and vote it helpful if you’re so inclined!)

    tweets for 2016-03-24

    Friday, March 25th, 2016

    tweets for 2016-03-23

    Thursday, March 24th, 2016

    Book Review: The Golden Compass Graphic Novel, Volume 1, Stéphane Melchior-Durand (2015)

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

    Not really feeling the artwork…

    four out of five stars

    Let me preface this review by saying that I’m a huge (HUGE!) fan of Philip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. Not the World’s Biggest Fan, because that honor obviously goes to Laurie Frost (author of The Elements of His Dark Materials, an exhaustive, 560-page HDM reference book endorsed by the man himself). But big enough that I own more than a dozen non-fiction titles about the franchise, including a quiz book, and have been planning a HDM-themed menu for the Vegan Month of Food (google it!) for years. (The pressure! I want everyone to love the series as much as I do, you know?) In times of grief, I turn to certain passages from The Subtle Knife for comfort. I know I tend to throw around the word “favorite” in book reviews, but His Dark Materials is my all-time favorite book. (And yes, I count the omnibus as a single entity.) So, pretty big.

    When I saw that the series would receive the graphic novel treatment, I was predictably psyched. I instantly pre-ordered a copy – but by the time it arrived, months later, life had gotten pretty chaotic. I had barely enough time to flip through it before I was forced to relinquish it to ye ole TBR pile. What I saw was not encouraging: the artwork put me off right away. Having already been burned once by the film adaptation, excitement gave way to dread.

    But you know what? Now that I’ve read it, I’m actually pleasantly surprised. Granted, I’m still less than thrilled with the illustrations. Everything is hard lines and sharp angles. Lyra in particular is scrappy, and not in a good way; her hair seems to have fought a losing battle with a weed whacker, and in some panels the twelve-year-old girl looks more like a thirty-year-old smoker. (Hard living, man.)

    To be fair, though, the daemons are as lovely as the humans are unattractive. The golden monkey, in particular, is just as I imagined him: gorgeous and fierce and full of hate and evil. Likewise, the cover art is simply stunning. I wish the inside was even just half as colorful and vibrant.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2016-03-22

    Wednesday, March 23rd, 2016

    tweets for 2016-03-21

    Tuesday, March 22nd, 2016

    Mini-Review: Fowl Language: Welcome to Parenting, Brian Gordon (2016)

    Monday, March 21st, 2016

    Naps are objectively the best tho.

    three out of five stars

    (Full disclosure: I received a free ebook for review through NetGalley.)

    Are you a mom or a dad? How wonderful and annoying for you!
    Do you know someone who will soon have a baby? How exciting and terrifying for them!
    Are your friends parents, too? Of course they are, those poor sons of bitches…

    If you answered yes to any of these questions, then FOWL LANGUAGE is for you.
    If you answered no, then congratulations, and feel free to sleep in this weekend!

    Even though I’m childfree by choice, I picked up a copy of Fowl Language because a) who doesn’t love humorous web comics and b) I have adopted seven dogs over the years and caring for dogs can’t be completely different, right? Like, I’m pretty sure there’s got to be some overlap between asshole kids and asshole dogs.

    Exhibit A: the only time my dogs let me sleep in is if the sky’s overcast and their bladders are close to empty. Otherwise I’m up with the sun, or at 2AM for a potty break. Sometimes, with the fosters, I even have to walk them out in the snow wearing nothing but slippers and a hoodie. They just can’t seem to pick the right spot unless I’m there to bear witness. Fun times. (And cats? It’s 4AM, or whenever they’re feeling insufficiently entertained. Shoot me now.)

    Exhibits B through I: these comic strips, to which this dog person was totally able to relate.


    (Replace “covered in stickers” with “covered in dog hair” and this could be me.)

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2016-03-20

    Monday, March 21st, 2016

    tweets for 2016-03-19

    Sunday, March 20th, 2016

    tweets for 2016-03-18

    Saturday, March 19th, 2016

    Thanks for the memories.

    Friday, March 18th, 2016

    2015-08-31 - Going to the Drive-In - 0022 [flickr]

    When I was sixteen, a work friend of my father’s got us tickets to see The Rolling Stones. He worked for Coke (or was it Pepsi?), and I think they were sponsoring the concert? Anyway, they were primo seats – my friend Heather and I were able to muscle our way up to the fifth row – and we even carpooled with him. (To Syracuse, maybe?) My parents went too, but they hung out with the other adults. It was pretty flippin’ awesome, all around. I still have the concert tee, all these years later.

    My mom was really big on thank you cards, and this was an instance where I actually agreed with her policy. Of my own accord, I wrote him a thank you note, attached it to a pricey box of chocolates (not vegan, sadly), and tasked my father with its delivery. Apparently the Coke guy was so impressed that he shared it with his class (I think he taught a class, anyway; or was it his employees, maybe? I forget!) as an example of how to behave in the business world.

    After Ralphie and Kaylee died, I thought about bringing a basket of home-made (vegan!) cookies to the staff and doctors at Blue Pearl, where we were regulars for most of May. Everyone was so kind to us, and I wanted to show them that it didn’t go unappreciated. (Especially that one vet tech who helped us carry Kaylee’s body to the car and then hugged me and let me cry on her shoulder. If you know me at all, you know just how damn out of character that is. I must have been a hot mess.) But between the grief and the heat, I never quite got around to it, and I still kind of regret it to this day.

    2015-10-25 - Going to the Drive-In - 0038 [flickr]

    These anecdotes bring us to Peedee. The Summer of Peedee, to be exact, in which the I-70 and Twin drive-ins played a prominent role. Maybe this letter is a little silly or sentimental, but it’s coming from the right place. As in, straight from my heart.

    After Peedee relapsed, we started taking him to the drive-in with us…partially because we wanted to try new things with him, but also because we didn’t want to leave him home alone. (And I don’t think we did, not even once!) I was so nervous, since we’d tried it when he was younger and it was an epic failure. I thought for sure he’d make a scene and we’d be asked to leave. But he was okay and, perhaps more importantly, they were okay with him. The I-70 and Twin are really very dog-friendly; not only do they allow dogs, but they keep the ticket windows stocked with dog treats and sometimes host dog-themed events during the day.

    I’ve learned not to take this for granted, particularly in light of the drive-in that opened in St. Joseph a few years back – and explicitly disallowed dogs. (They only lasted a season or two. You do the maths.)

    Anyway, to get the point: they helped us create some really special memories with Peedee, and I’m forever indebted to them for that. And it certainly can’t hurt to tell them as much.

    2015-07-21 - Going to the Drive-In - 0061 [flickr]

    The 2016 season opens tonight, and though Peedee won’t be there with me in person, you can bet his spirit will do a little happy dance in my heart.

    (More below the fold…)

    tweets for 2016-03-17

    Friday, March 18th, 2016