“If I didn't define myself for myself, I would be crunched into other people's fantasies for me and eaten alive.”
--Audre Lorde

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2013: The Year in Books

I'm finishing up my thesis as my last project for 2013 and the very first of 2014. I'm not sure how that has affected my reading list, but here are the books I read in 2013, in reverse chronological order, with those that I especially enjoyed starred:

  1. The Walking Dead Vol. 18 / Kirkman
  2. The Craft of Research / Booth

December 28, 2013

December 8, 2013

December 1, 2013

  • Finished Two Cheers for Anarchism,
  • This weekend I also read this article in the New Yorker, which for me was a real head-scratcher. Really, I am totally puzzled by it and would love to have a discussion with anyone who read it. What the fuck was it about, really? So much there and yet so little explicitly articulated. Why was it so hot and cold and going somewhere and then not? Guess that's life, or maybe what the story really was. But it left me with a creepy aftertaste, like when you somehow end up watching one of those horrible real life mystery tv shows.
  • Also saw The Punk Singer which is highly recommended. There's a part at the end where Hanna talks about not being heard/or she describes feeling like when you do actually speak out and the worry that (often, or if you aren't a guy) what you say is so often misinterpreted or made to seem irrelevant or exaggerated, etc. (what she says there is better than how I am describing it here). That part was really powerful for me and articulated a thing that I didn't know needed articulating right now.

November 27, 2013

  • More of Two Cheers for Anarchism, which is the best kind of scholarly-enough, but-can-still-read-while-standing-on-the-train
  • Still always enjoy being in on the conversation in which Barbara Fister grapples with librarianship and our roles in academic thinking/discourse

November 25, 2013

  • After seeing a panel on anarchism at ASA that I very much enjoyed, returned to, or re-started Scott's Two Cheers for Anarchism, which is very much worth the citing it got in DC.

November 24, 2013

  • Night Sweats by Laura Crossett. The last time I think I emailed Laura I was coming back from vacation on a train. Today on another train home devoured this, feeling frail and frazzled. Found it honest, real, inspiring.

November 11, 2013

November 8, 2013

November 7, 2013

  • Started reading this interview today, and the conversation about New York reminded me of intentionally turning my back on the older man who was sketching and obviously staring on the train the other morning. Trying to escape that kind of uninvited scrutiny today--the feeling that seems stale and outdated--of claiming everything in public spaces by the dominant. How inescapable and suffocating it feels sometimes, having everyone else's expectations and projections living around you. Today, or maybe most of the time, I want to refuse all of it.
  • Also a bit of Nguyen/Nikpour's Punk and I lived the dream and transcribed (other misc. reading) while simultaneously listening/watching.

November 5, 2013

October 28, 2013

  • This American Life episode 470: Show Me The Way

    Piers Anthony is 77 years old now. But really, he was just an angry kid who'd muddled through like everyone else, which surprised Andy. In the author's notes from his book Fractal Mode, book two of his Mode series, he writes, "One thing you who had secure or happy childhoods should understand about those of us who did not, we who control our feelings, who avoid conflicts at all costs or seem to seek them, who are hypersensitive, self-critical, compulsive, workaholic, and above all survivors, we're not that way from perversity. And we cannot just relax and let it go. We've learned to cope in ways you never had to."

October 23, 2013

  • No time to keep up. Raced through Pastoralia by Saunders on the train, trying to get back into Williams for the thesis.

October 9, 2013

Dear world,
Get this: I read hardly anything today. Instead I wrote. Thesis completion, here we come.

Also: is this a thing? That we do one or the other and not both? (reading vs. writing?) Do I need another column for my writing log on this here site? Will this site just digress into an endless widening of columns? Only time will tell!

October 8, 2013

  • Started Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer's Resistance, which I hope to think is helping already.
  • Such great advice by way of Joan Didion talking about her own writing process:
    "When I’m working on a book, I constantly retype my own sentences. Every day I go back to page one and just retype what I have. It gets me into a rhythm. Once I get over maybe a hundred pages, I won’t go back to page one, but I might go back to page fifty-five, or twenty, even. But then every once in a while I feel the need to go to page one again and start rewriting. At the end of the day, I mark up the pages I’ve done—pages or page—all the way back to page one. I mark them up so that I can retype them in the morning. It gets me past that blank terror." From "The Art of Nonfiction No. 1" interview in the Paris Review.