september 2018 books

i got a warning from the transit police because i didn’t realize that i was rolling with my august pass still because the month switched over as i was walking all over the city five times over, falling in love a little bit, as i am wont to do.

here are the books:

1) What We Lose-Zinzi Clemons wow. what a book. somehow, i thought that i had read another book by her, but perhaps it’s because of the buzz around her name in relation to a certain author that we wanted to root for, but in our hearts knew that he was a pigdog. this one is one that i can relate to, in terms of the relationship between a daughter and father when the mother between them is lost, and how we cope, or don’t. it also introduces a complicated and provoking element of motherhood and nationalism that i will be thinking about for some time.

2) How to Keep Your Marriage from Sucking-Greg Behrendt & Amiira Ruotola these two, behind multiple relationship books now, i recognize them from one of the earlier ones, and him from He’s Just Not That Into You, and couldn’t resist the slim volume that beckoned to me from my resumed library tour. it’s exactly what you would expect it to be.

3) Secret Path-Gord Downie & Jeff Lemire

4) Literally Me-Julie Houts this one jumped out at me from the shelf because of the drawings and humour. i was horrified for about three minutes because i thought the story was real. i am usually not fooled in such a way-great work.

5) I’m Judging You-Luvvie Ajayi i heard about this book in luvvie‘s episode on amanda seales‘ podcast, and from there, i subscribed to her podcast, so imagine my delight when i found it on the library tour! it’s well-written, smart (most crimes against white people are committed by white people too-mind blown), and i agree with a lot of the chapters and am glad someone with a bigger platform is telling it like it is. the lollipop made me chuckle the whole way through too. i finished it on a canoe downtown, taking a break from the cocktail and ping pong party that was the most fun i have ever had at an industry party.

6) The Icarus Girl-Helen Oyeyemi back to back nigerian authors, one non-fiction, one fiction, one nigerian american, the other nigerian brit. it’s like my current duolingo quest to learn french from spanish, and using my french-english and spanish-english dictionaries as intermediaries. i did learn that “biro” is a pen because it comes up in both.

7) Choose Your Own Autobiography-Neil Patrick Harris i got this one on audiobook from the library tour, and was a bit curious about how it would work out. it is modified, which is the tradeoff for him reading it to us. i tried to do one of the magic tricks that he “taught” and it didn’t work-maybe i heard it wrong. funnily enough, he mentioned that rupert everett was inordinately rude to movie crews, and the other audiobook that i had checked out was rupert everett‘s, and i didn’t even finish it because it wasn’t very compelling, even as read by the usually compelling actor.

8) The Blueprint-LeBron James, Cleveland’s Deliverance, and the Making of the Modern Era-Jason Lloyd this library tour has had the tendancy to get heavy some days, and i made a note to check out scott raab‘s latest book, the one where he makes up with lebron, and here comes this guy claiming to be the “only one” who has covered the whole ordeal-hmm. white men, always gotta be vying to be the first. i also learned that JV could’ve been a cav (and by definition kyrie could’ve been a raptor-but prolly not, because we didn’t have a high enough pick). also, i guess kevin love has some selective view of justice when it comes to dirty hits-don’t get me wrong-dood has had some terrible injuries happened to him, but he also flagrant fouled my man during our last playoffs and wasn’t called for it, so.

9) when they call you a terrorist-a black lives matter memoir-patrisse khan-cullors and asha bandale wow. so much packed into a slim volume. i heard the authors talking about this on on the philly free library podcast, and was so glad to hear that asha bandele was writing again-it makes me what to chase down that issue of essence that turned the tide. the accounts of prison torture were heartbreaking, and the ultimate irony of american terrorism/miscarriage of justice is just so outstanding. do better, neighbours. but it’s just like how the person who is v. jealous and projecting is also the person doing dirt-americans wave their flag and rub their “freedom” and “democracy” louder (and more obnoxiously) than anyone else, and they are the worst to their own people. “their history’s historical” along with their conditioning. i also appreciate the articulation of the problem that i have with 12-step programs. some people can buy-in fully because they can navigate their addiction problem without context in the way that others cannot-a side effect of being able to navigate the world without context-yes, i am talking about white privilege. it is also a wider discussion of what community means, and what it means to be part of a community. i made a note to see which products from whole foods were made with prison labour, and i am v. surprised to learn that it’s goat cheese and farmed tilapia, along with the v. specialized sewing required to do victoria secret’s catalogue, or maybe it’s not that skilled after all? i wonder if these folks can put this on their resume afterwards, at least? this one was on my holds’ list and checking it out in person changed all of that and i am so great-full. final note-the paper is outstanding (that seems to be something that i cannot resist as of the last 24 hours). patrisse-i wish peace and purpose to you, your child and partner, and to monte. asha-i hope your relationship has worked out, i could never work out by your books if it ever did.

10) I Can’t Date Jesus-Michael Arceneaux this is another one that i heard of through desus and mero (shoutout to the thirst trap that was desus reading to childrens) and it was an amazing companion on the library tour, a lot of people were very fascinated-from the bank manager who was a bit too personal (just gimme my money, dammit) to the guy on the subway who asked about it, only to deduce “ok, so he likes bad boys then”, which was surprisingly insight-full, and offered a take that i had not considered at all up until that point. to continue the thought about communities and borders, he articulates the problem with religious groups and barber shops, and the way that the individual can be conflicted when considering all of his (in this case) parts. i was a bit paranoid as i started reading it in the juror’s lounge, and swear i was bit by something that jumped on me in court from friday. i cringed at the part about dating a dood with fleas. i can also identify here’s the basic pull quote that i can identify with most:

“Living like an SWV song was not the way to be. No, I needed to find something that was mine.” (205)

amen, friend, amen. may we all go where we are wanted.

11) Nookietown-V.C. Chickering-i can fully admit that i judged this book by its cover that screamed at me from a perch at the richview library. i took it as a “fun summer read” but was actually quite pleased to find that it was well-written and brought up the topic of poly and/or open relationships with a fresh premise, and a hot take on sisterhood, control, marriage, kids and divorce. i’m not sure how i feel about the end being that women succumbed to their insecurities and turned on each other in what could’ve been a utopia (“your man is her man is my man is your man too”), or that the main character gets pregnant (and ostracized like hester pryne) by pouring the contents of a discarded condom into herself (i mean-given her age and the statistical odds that semen that has been outside two bodies for any amount of time as being effective), it was worth the read.

12) Rich People Problems-Kevin Kwan-it feels like it’s been much longer than five years since the first book came out, but huh- sometimes time flies like that. considering the scale (and reach) of the movie production, it must have been optioned upon publication. maybe it feels longer because i couldn’t remember the exact plot of the middle book, but the little wink between astrid and charlie (i assume), there’s a second movie on the way, and i cannot be more pleased. this series is great fun and there’s always a moment of extreme wealth that always floors me-in the middle book, the closet and in this one, the plastic surgery for the fish.

13) Shoplifter-Michael Cho-a graphic novel about saving your soul from a slow death via corporate job? sign me up.

14) Go Ask Ali-Ali Wentworth the toronto public library has been the route to me reuniting with ali wentworth, whom i have not even thought of her in the fifteen years since i saw her on the last season(s?) of in living color. funnily enough, i started watching her show headcase on hoopla digital, one of the library’s streaming services, but when i went to continue, it is all of a sudden, gone. and there’s no mention of it in these books that i have no idea that she published-it was a surprise during the library tour that i kept finding them so i kept taking them out. there’s also little on the internet about it, but it was great, what few episodes that i saw. i was hoping her books would be a bit like that, but it was a character, and her voice is clear. the tone is light, it’s snappy, and she reminds me a lot of caitlyn moran. giddy up.

and there you have it. i don’t know if it’s the fact that i finished the library tour (and thus spent long stretches of time on public transit), the three weeks that i spent not getting chosen for jury duty, or some combination of both-the 14 books is probably a record of what i’ve read in a month, and i also have to shout out glamour magazine for their rebrand-you’ve got my attention now. thank you.

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august 2018 books

this month, i read in three different countries. here are the books:

1) Save the Cat-Blake Snyder i originally read an updated version late last year when i was working on the script that i was commissioned to write, and it caused quite the to-do then. this time, i skimmed it because it was the only book i had that i couldn’t renew because someone had a hold on it.

2) Everything They Had-David Halberstam i like reading books about other sports, just to see if i can identify with anyone’s reason to follow any other sport. i liked the articles about fishing and hunting most, probably because they were completely new. i still cannot find any room in my heart for baseball or football.

3) Oranges are Not the Only Fruit-Jeanette Winterson “I don’t know if God exists, but I do know that if God is your emotional role model, very few human relationships will match up to it.” (165) amen. i took this one from one little library and deposited in in another (east end to west end). i didn’t like it as much as the one with her on the cover as a kid in a bathing suit, though i suppose it’s another way to tell the story within the framework of the bible/church.

4) Drive-How Vince Carter Conquered the NBA-Chris Young meh. i don’t know that i actually learned that much, though it’s probably a bit dated in light of everything we know now. a couple things: an interesting crossover to the Jordan story and David Falk and i wonder what oakley has to say now that dood has been in the nba forever and eight days.

5) Playing for Keeps-Michael Jordan and the World He Made-David Halberstam so, from air canada to air jordan-i guess the thing i didn’t realize that i got from the above book is that i didn’t know that vc was also a tarheel, nor did i know the jordan comparisons (or that they could’ve gotten shareef, and he could’ve ended up in vancouver-i was still there for that, but let’s play “what if” for a minute, nuts), i thought the name was because of the arena. this is v.well-written, just circular and a bit too detailed for me to fly through. i am leaving it at page 218, to be picked up at another time. (i actually did not return it on time, because i left in the middle of the morning in a quincinera outfit, and all of our flights were still oversold, but it was worth the $1.40 in fines, and my first overdue book in i don’t know how long).

6) That Time I Loved You-Carrianne Leung what an amazing book, to travel with or otherwise. just like The Wondrous Woo, a dazzling story that is so deliciously well-written. i’m glad she was just appointed writer in residence, she really deserves it. this is also a win because i am cutting into my home book shelf, though i also keep adding books that i find in the street as well. there is just so much to read! (what a life).

7) God Save the Queen Diva!-Big Freedia with Nicole Balin this was my first book after i returned from costa rica, and the one where i learned that mystikal was a great cheerleader. i love that this got some response on instagram, and am looking forward to seeing her here in october, as i missed the nxne show because nobody updated the schedule, and i left because i didn’t find tinashe particularly compelling.

i have also resumed my library tour and am hoping to finish it before jury duty, so there have also been some graphic novels that i have read and returned along the way (and forgot to write down)-oops.

total: 7
summary: v.slow burn

july 2018 books

it’s been a helluva month. i’ve been all over the place, but here are the books:

1) white oleander-janet fitch. i got this one from a book swap at a friend’s mom’s place. i was a bit worried that my book (i drink for a reason-david cross) would not go over well, but it ended up being fought over. i also learned that some people engage in the appalling practice of reading the last page of a book before they decide to read the rest of it. gaaah. this one was super intense, but so well-written that i couldn’t put it down.

2) high rise stories-compiled by audrey riley (and read on the 2nd floor of the reference library, not sure why this is not in general circulation, or who told me about it, but i am certain that it was on a podcast)

3) you play the girl-carina chocano (again, i think this was in liner notes or contributor’s notes or something of that nature)

4) how to american-jimmy o. yang. desus and mero brought me here. even though they covered a lot in the interview, this was like a grass jelly milk tea-refreshing and easy to drink. i like that he wrote it himself, unlike most basketball players and coaches, and i’m looking even more forward to crazy rich asians.

5) what is not yours is not yours-helen oyeyemi everything she writes is magic.

“Consent is a downward motion, I think-a leap or a fall-and whether they’ll admit it or not, even the most decisive people can find themselves unable to tell whether or not their consent was freely given. That inability to discover whether you jumped or were pushed brings about a deadened gaze and a downfall all its own”. (290)

6) nothing ever dies-viet thanh nguyen this one took me a while to finish, it was pretty dense, literally and literally. the idea that sticks out the most is the monetizing of nostalgia, from the cu chi tunnels to the zippos (i got one when i was there processing my identity fresh out of university that had an engraving of saddam hussein and missiles that lit up with the caption “anxiety peace we” this book broke that down)

metrotextual-may 2015

i feel like there’s a point in all of my attempted records where things get a bit murky, and i have hit that point here. my may 2015 file is full of books dated with different months, so i think this means that i didn’t record the exact date that i read them, but i recorded the dates that i blogged them, when i was still doing that. my apologies to kathryn kiutenbrouwer for the interview i never wrote up from our talk about all of the broken things, i don’t think i was actually ready to confront my feelings about talking to you about the book you wrote about vietnamese-canadian identity.

the books:

1) All of the Broken Things-Kathryn Kiutenbrouwer
2) Exposing Myself-Geraldo Rivera
3) From the Memoirs of a Non-Enemy Combatant-Alex Gilvarry
4) Blackballed: The Black Vote and US Democracy-Darryl Pinckney
5) After Artest-The NBA and the Assault on Blackness-David J. Leonard

these were all very big books, literally and literally. one of them prompted me to contact a former canadian talk show host to ask if he’s ever interviewed geraldo (he had not). one of these i got from the philly free library podcast, my longtime fave.

here are some quotes:

“The effort to exclude under-20 ballers from the NBA, while also motivated by owners not wanting to pay first-round dollars to players who might take years to develop and college programs wanting to profit from the unpaid labor of America’s top ballers, reflects a desire to push America’s best players into attending college so they can join the league having been already ‘seasoned’ and ‘domesticated’.” (102)

“Barbara used to tell me that people like us would always carry the double-edged sword of celebrity: greater access to sources, but resentment from rivals and colleagues. Don’t let it affect your work, she counselled. On some stories, especially in remote places, we will often cause a bigger fuss than the story itself. Don’t worry about it. Just concentrate on doing better than anyone else.” (307)

“There were more rats running around the emergency room than hospital staff. The place would have been a scandal in Addis Ababa, or Bombay, but it was quietly tolerated in the urban wasteland of the South Bronx.” (72)

“What is it that they say? Home is where you hang yourself.” (5)

“Obama’s reelection stimulated concern in some quarters about the price black Americans were paying for a black president.” (39)

“We rented a boat, and I rowed us to a remote corner of the reservoir. The sun baked down hot. I took off my shirt, and we embraced. Right there, the estranged first lady of Canada leant new meaning to the term head of state.” (333)

“It was the shame Teacher conveyed, by trying to fix things. He wanted to shout that these things were just broken. He wanted her to understand about the pride of broken things.” (161)

“And you won’t hear any of us called prisoners either. That’s forbidden too. We are detainees. It is all very clever on their part. Because we are not called prisoners, they don’t have to charge us with a crime.” (206)

five words: politricks, notoriety, truth, advice, reality

metrotextual-may 2016

the books:

1) The Beautiful Things That Heaven Bears-Dinaw Mengetsu-may 6
2) The Punch-John Feinstein-may 11
3) One Last Thing Before I Go-Jonathan Tropper-may 13
4) Eleven Rings-Phil Jackson with Hugh Delehanty -may 17th
5) Everything You Always Wanted to Know about Ex*-Heather Belle, Michelle Fiordaliso-may 19
6) Super Sad True Love Story-Gary Shteyngart-may 30

huh. deep in the playoffs for the first time, it doesn’t surprise me that it was mostly fiction and basketball, with a touch of trust issues.

the quotes:

“It wasn’t a kiss so much as it was a gentle press, or an extended graze of lips, full of a sudden, almost crushing tenderness.” (59)

“Players and coaches were far more accessible to the media. To begin with, there were far fewer media outlets. ESPN was still two years from its launch, and USA Today was six years away from publishing for the first time. None of the twenty-four-hour news services that now glut the airwaves existed. Writers often traveled on the same flights as the players. Their lifestyles weren’t all that different. The difference in salaries between most players and most writers wasn’t that great. Often they ate and drank together.” (36)

“He loves her as much as any man can love a woman he’s never spoken to, which is significantly more than you’d think.” (12)

“One thing I’ve learned as a coach is that you can’t force your will on people. If you want them to act differently, you need to inspire them to change themselves.” (13)

“And beneath the chaos of the moment, Denise becomes aware of a painful truth about herself: she is never as deeply in love with a man as she is in the moment he leaves her.” (211)

“To earn that kind of trust and affection from a child is to find out that you may have just been a better person than you believed all along.” (108)

“What impressed me most about Scottie, however, was his development over time as a leader-not by mimicking Michael but by teaching his teammates how to play within the system and always offering a compassionate ear when they ran into trouble. This was critical because Michael wasn’t very accessible and many of the players were intimidated by his presence. Scottie was someone they could talk to, someone who would keep an eye out for them on court. As Steve Kerr says, ‘Scottie was the nurturer, Michael was the enforcer.’” (74)

“While the desire to please caregivers is natural, it can become confusing if too much was expected from you as a child…..If responsibilities were foisted upon you too early, you may have come to believe that your greatest worth comes from denying yourself and offering up acts of service instead.” (102)

“I was only sixteen at the time. I didn’t believe in consequences yet.” (126)

“I felt both jealous of their youth and scared for their future. In short, I felt paternal and aroused, which is not a good combination.” (206)

in five words: experience, relationships, revelations, imaginary, intimidation.

metrotextual-may 2017

here are the books i read this month a year ago:

1) milk and honey-rupi kaur-may 3
2) I Have the Right to Destroy Myself-Young-Ha Kim-may 5
3) Listening to Grasshoppers-Arundhati Roy-may 10
4) Things that Can and Cannot Be Said-Arundhati Roy and John Cusack-may 11
5) Long Shot-Craig Hodges with Rory Fanning-may 14th
6) The Art of a Beautiful Game-Chris Ballard-may 16
7) Hungry Heart-Jennifer Weiner-may 22
8) Do I Have to Give Up Me To Be Loved By You?-Jordan and Margaret Paul, Ph.D.-may 25
9) The Name Therapist-Duana Taha-may 27

some pull quotes:

“We all want freedom and we all want intimacy-at the same time.” (19)

“Failure to understand a player’s psyche is a flaw Ravin sees in the disciplinarian style of some coaches. Rather than empowering a player, they strip him of his authority.” (158)

“…being a good writer and a good reporter are far from the same thing. A writer can be invisible, but a reporter has to be both present and persistent, showing up with a notebook or asking questions over the phone.” (130)

“In a lot of ways, I relied on my education to maintain my edge with Jordan. I knew he didn’t know shit about Black history. No matter how much people praised Jordan, no matter how many awards he won, no matter how much money he had, he didn’t have the thing I held most dear: an education in the struggle of our people. This gave me confidence on the court and in the locker room with him.” (99)

“The trend of skipping grades stopped once educators realized that they were creating a generation of social cripples.” (25)

“R.Kelly went on to do great and horrible things. Carlita and I were both proud to say we played a part in his musical success. The fact that he cheated with my wife , in my house, after all I did for him, still haunts me from time to time.” (83-4)

“Can you really bomb feminism into a country?” (22)

“Most people take their first date to a movie, but not me; I take my first dates to hear the minister Louis Farrakhan speak.” (63)

“History is really a study of the future, not the past.” (23)

“It’s easy to have sex when you can’t really communicate.” (66)

“People who don’t know how to summarize have no dignity.” (6)

wow. so i guess we don’t really ever change who we are. (as we shouldn’t). thanks to these writers/ballers for their work.

this metrotextual month (closing tabs)-mays

“you lack discipline. it’s the paralysis of capacity.”

there’s a stunning honestly that comes from someone who loves you, and is mad that you can’t love them back in the way that they want you to. (sigh). i suppose we are complicated beings, ever waddling between seeking attention/affection and control over how that shows up.

so, i accept this and am attempting to do something(s).

here are the books that i read this month:

1) Her Body and Other Parties-Carmen Maria Machado May 2nd
2) The Hate You Give-Angie Thomas-May 6th
3) Sex Object-Jessica Valenti-May 7th
4) The Clasp-Sloane Crosley-May 15th
5) Don’t Let the Lipstick Fool You-Lisa Leslie-May 17th
6) New People-Danzy Senna-May 20th
7) Halfrocentric-Jewels Smith-May 21
8) Beautiful You-Chuck Palahniuk-May 23
9) We Gon’ Be Alright-Jeff Chang-May 30

here are some pull quotes from the above:

“If a coach is not strong, consistent, and in control, the team will eventually fall apart.” (100)

“The best sex she ever had was with a white guy she despised and fantasized about bludgeoning to death with an African statuette.” (185)

“Victimhood doesn’t need to be an identity, but it is a product of facts.” (12)

“Hers is a war cry. She must have learned it at that Beijing orphanage. The survivors cry the loudest.” (223)

“You are entitled to us but we’re not even allowed to call you what you are.” (135)

“I am always surprised at the poetry with which boys can describe boning.” (129)

“She has decided all university campuses are alike-the sense of possibility and stasis. She thinks this too: all graduate students, if you look closely enough, exude the same aura of privilege and poverty.” (5)

thank you to these authors for their brilliance. five adjectives to describe where my mind was at this month? go: