Reading project, week ending 27 Sep 2020

What have I read this week?

Natives: Race and Class in the Ruins of Empire by Akala

This is a nonfiction book about the history of race, specifically blackness and whiteness, including the author’s experience growing up black in Britain. I found this really interesting and I definitely learned a lot from it. I would definitely read more books by this author.

Favourite quotes:

The most dramatic example of the revolutionary human capacities of black nationalism comes very early in its history in Haiti where, after the only successful slave revolution in human history, the independent black government made the white Polish and Germans who aided the revolution legally ‘black’ in 1804.18 The revolutionary and oppositional nature of black identity is also part of why so many millions of people racialised as white are inspired by the black culture, music and art in spite of all racist propaganda that they have been exposed to asserting that these people – and thus their culture – are inferior. It’s why John Lennon – great as he was – can never be a symbol of freedom for black people in the way that Bob Marley, Nina Simone or Muhammad Ali are for so many white people.

Back in 2005, future prime minister Gordon Brown let the world know that ‘the days of Britain having to apologise for its colonial history are over’ – leaving us all wondering when those days of apology were. In a 2014 YouGov survey, 59 per cent of Brits declared that they were proud of the empire. The historian Niall Ferguson gloated approvingly on his Twitter, ‘I won’. I’d love to see a similar survey done with only British citizens whose families come from non-white former colonies, and of course the not-quite-whites of Ireland. Wouldn’t the true measure of the British Empire’s supposed benevolence surely be attained by asking the billions of humans that descend from the people it ruled if they remember it so favourably?

A Is For Arsenic: The Poisons of Agatha Christie by Kathryn Harkup

This is a nonfiction book about some of the poisons used in the novels of Agatha Christie: it discusses the symptoms and how the poison interacts with the body (i.e. how it actually kills), the history of its discovery and use in real crimes, and how accurate Christie is in her use of it. I found it absolutely fascinating, and would read more by this author..
© bardofupton 2020

Reading project, week ending 6 Sep 2020

What have I read this week?

I’m Still Here: Black Dignity in a World Made for Whiteness by Austin Channing Brown

This is a nonfiction book, the story of the author growing up and living and working as a black woman in the United States. I found it really interesting, and sad, and somewhat empowering. I didn’t really resonate with the author’s faith, as I’m not myself a believer, but the book was passionate and inspiring, and I would definitely read more by this author.

© bardofupton 2020

Reading project, week ending 9 Aug 2020

What have I read this week?

The Cabin at the End of the World by Paul Tremblay

This is a novel about a young girl named Wen and her two fathers. They are on holiday in a remote cabin when four people arrive insisting they have to make a terrible choice. I didn’t like this; it was just horrible.

Beethoven Was One-sixteenth Black by Nadine Gordimer

This is a collection of short stories. I didn’t like these; I couldn’t get into them and didn’t finish the book.

© bardofupton 2020

Reading project, week ending 26 Jul 2020

What have I read this week?

Missing by Kelley Armstrong

This is a YA novel about a girl named Winter who lives in a small rural town. I enjoyed this; it was a fun read and the characters were interesting.

Forest of Ruin (Age of Legends Book 3) by Kelley Armstrong

This is a fantasy novel about twin sisters Moria and Ashyn who have powers over the spirits of the dead. I enjoyed this; it was a good conclusion to the series and a fun read.

Critical Race Theory: An Introduction by Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic

This is a nonfiction book which is an introduction to critical race theory. It discusses how CRT arose, the main players, and what it is. I found this really interesting and quite accessibly written and would definitely recommend it to anyone who is interested in CRT specifically, or race-based critiques in general.

The Orphans of Raspay by Lois McMaster Bujold

This is a fantasy novella about a man named Penric, a priest who is possessed by a demon named Desdemona. I enjoyed this; it’s a fun read and I like the characters and the world.

© bardofupton 2020