Reblog: thoughts by Miri on The Age of American Unreason

I’m doing something that I rarely do. I’m reblogging something I’ve just read that is an excellent analysis of why US politics and, in many ways, western democracy in general is in the state it currently is.

The Age of American Unreason, by Susan Jacoby

Miri explores interesting non-fiction and writes thoughtful and thought-provoking analyses of what she’s read. If you’re anything like me and enraged by a gamut of injustices, chances are you’re also something like Miri and should subscribe to her blog.

I’m currently reading Laurie Penny’s Bitch Doctrine (review coming soon), and a lot of the ground Miri covers in this blog post chimes with the things Penny says in her essays.

Let’s hear it for the women who use their reason to question the world around them.

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Fierce Kingdom

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Read 19/11/2017-23/11/2017

Rating: 4 stars

I don’t want to give too much away about this book, because I appreciated the suspense of not knowing what would happen next. It’s a stellar story, full of tension balanced by sweet humour and almost surreal moments of drifting thought, the mind’s way of distracting from stress and danger rendered in words on a page. Continue reading

Mullumbimby

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Read 12/11/2017-19/11/2017

Rating: 3 stars

Read for the Reader’s Room Read Around the World Challenge

Mullumbimby is the story of Jo Breen, a former musician, divorced from her husband, bringing up her daughter Ellen as a single mum. Jo lives in Mullumbimby, a town in New South Wales, where she earns a living mowing the grass in the white people’s cemetery. Jo is a Goorie woman from the Bundjalung nation. Her ex-husband Paul is a white Australian. Jo wants to reconnect with her Aboriginal roots. She is instantly likeable, warm and ready to laugh, easy going and a hard worker for the things she believes in – family, identity, and respect. Mullumbimby focuses on Jo’s attempts to re-establish herself on tribal land and reveals the conflict that forms the history of land appropriation and informs the native title claims process in Australia, as well as the conflict between different generations of Aboriginal people. Continue reading

The Current

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Read 10/11/2017-12/11/2017

Rating: 2 stars

Read for The Reader’s Room Read Around the World Challenge.

Eighteen months ago, Weezelle over at Words and Leaves interviewed Yannick Thoraval about his novel about climate change, The Current. I downloaded a free copy from his site, because I liked how he came across in his answers to Weezelle’s questions. I especially liked his perspective on self-publishing.

I read bearing in mind that this is a self-published novel, that despite employing a team to help polish the work in the way an independent publisher would, it might not feel like a traditionally published book. Continue reading

History of Wolves

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Read 05/11/2027-10/11/2017

Rating: 4 stars

Emily Fridlund’s novel grabbed my intention when it made the Booker long list. The Booker shadow panel assembled for The Reader’s Room book review blog described it in ways that made me want to read it. I appreciate that none of them wanted to give away plot lines, but their descriptions seemed extra elliptical in a way that intrigued me.

Now that I’ve read the book, I realise that this obscure way of not giving away the plot was because the plot itself is slippery. Continue reading

Half Broke Horses

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Read 02/11/2017-05/11/2017

Rating: 3 stars

I chose this book for Arizona on my US Reading Challenge. It has good scores on both Goodreads and LibraryThing, and a review in the New York Times praised it for its reminder of what life was like for many in the western states of the US from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century. The publisher, Simon and Schuster, has this to say:

Half Broke Horses is Laura Ingalls Wilder for adults, as riveting and dramatic as Isak Dinesen’s Out of Africa or Beryl Markham’s West with the Night. Destined to become a classic, it will transfix readers everywhere.

Wow, right? Continue reading

Slade House

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Read 31/10/2017-01/11/2017

Rating: 3 stars

David Mitchell’s Slade House is an adjunct to his previous six novels, an Easter egg laid on Twitter turned into a book. I enjoyed it as a quick read on Hallowe’en, surrendering myself to its suspense and tension, allowing myself to be played with, as the visitors to Slade House are played with. I indulged myself in Spot-the-Link, appreciating the way plot lines from Mitchell’s previous works made tangents with this story. Continue reading