Audiophilia, Thoughts

Monday Music: “Flametop Green”

Hey there everyone, it’s late on a Monday & I want to put something up on the blog, but I’m tired & facing a basket of laundry.  So, I thought I’d share a nice calming song as the day winds down.  I’ve mentioned this one before, but here’s the song itself.  Consider it my long-distance dedication to you, dear Reader, in hopes that it will give you some time to recollect yourself at the beginning of the week.

Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: Brown Girl in the Ring

Brown Girl in the RingBrown Girl in the Ring by Nalo Hopkinson

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

3.5 instead of 4. Ti-Jeanne has a baby she doesn’t always want, visions that she can’t control, & a life in a destroyed city that didn’t welcome her. Her grandmother Gros-Jeanne tries to lead her into accepting her reality & making it better. But it isn’t until Ti-Jeanne’s spurned lover knocks at her door with a plea to escape Toronto that she has to decide whether or not to face her hard circumstances & rise above them or escape with him.

This book was on a recent NPR list that focused on Afro-Futurism & mentioned this book so I thought I’d pick it up. I was drawn in by the tension between the traditions that define Ti-Jeanne’s life & how the city of Toronto doesn’t seem to nurture them. (I feel like some of this push-and-pull is what was missing from The Galaxy Game.) The book is also written with just enough dialect to keep me captivated, instead of blocked out. Fans of Sacred Games, you’ll appreciate the language work here. There were times that the everyday moments of Ti-Jeanne’s life dragged, but it is possible that this was a result of reading the book in an electronic format. I’ve found that it can be a lot easier to skim/skip parts that don’t interest me when I’m not holding a physical book. Ultimately, the beautiful parts of this book are in the atmosphere & the paranormal insights that Ti-Jeanne has when her faith & her adopted land come together in her mind. Everything else in the plot seems to dull in comparison.

Also, content warning: there is a graphic clinical description of a heart transplant. If you are squeamish, like me, you’d do best to skip that section. There are other body horror elements, but not as terrible as the described surgery.

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Style Section: Andy Bernard

You know how it is, right?  You’re planning on wearing something really cute in order to combat your current bad attitude toward work & your less-than-stellar sleep & oh by the way, you have a to-do list that’s currently 3 pages long.  So you pull out those new blue trousers & that sweater you found on the clearance rack & you start messing around with some of your collared shirts, & before you know it, you look at the mirror & start giggling because you look like Andy Bernard.

Genderbent Nard Dog
Dress like Easter; live like your life is just one long brunch

And then, you really lean into the ridiculousness, because as an awkward kid you were never able to pull off prep without looking like a complete nerd & because you get a lot of Andy’s dysfunctions (it’s a Southern thing) & because dammit, you’re gonna have fun today!

So you make a bunch of hand-written signs & get your friend to take pictures of you against a white wall at work.

And then you come home & your husband asks you why you’re doing all this & you’re just like, “I don’t know; seemed like fun.”  Virgos, amiright?  You get it.


Further Along

One day, I will forget what it was like not to recognize myself in the mirror.

One day, I will forget that I stared at my face standing inches from the mirror and poking all the angles of it trying to spark something in my mind.

One day, I will forget the kick of anxiety that came every time I could not convince myself that it was me looking back in the mirror.

Right now, I’m still quietly happy that I can see the idiosyncrasies of my face with joy & not the frantic determination to memorize them for some imaginary test.

Right now, I am still amazed that the first reaction I had after my first EMDR session was the simple understanding that I was recognizing myself in the mirror.

Right now, I’m in love with my eyes & the light that I find there now.

Lack makes the smallest details fateful.

Renewal gifts the sense of wonder we thought we lost long ago.

Books, Thoughts

Off the Shelf: The Snow Queen

The Snow Queen (The Snow Queen Cycle, #1)The Snow Queen by Joan D. Vinge

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Snow Queen Arianrhod is determined to hold onto her reign of Tiamat & creates a clone of herself in order to ensure her power. Unfortunately, fate & politics that span galaxies intervene to create a foe just as formidable as Arianrhod herself.

I hate reduce a novel down for descriptive purposes, but this is eco-feminist Dune, even down to the preservation of religion for political purposes & genetic control. Despite those similarities, I was interested in seeing how Vinge recast Hans Christian Anderson’s fairytale into a sci-fi political thriller. I was pleased at how she kept the structure of the story & balanced the characters. She also ends the book with plenty of ambiguity as to what happens in the rest of the series. I do regret that some of the dialog is flat on the page & part of me does really wish Satoshi Kon could have made this into an anime, because the sprawling world that Vinge sometimes has to put on the back burner for her plot is equally intriguing. Still, a solid read & I’m keeping my eye out for the rest of the series.

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