Monday, January 2, 2012


This blog is now retired, but feel free to browse. Links to my book lists from past years are available on the sidebar, and those should link to any reviews I wrote of the books. You can also browse by tag, especially if you are looking for particular authors or themes. Feel free to leave comments; I will still see them.

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Books Read in 2011

34. Blackout by Connie Willis
    • 33. The Ghosts of Berlin by Brian Ladd
  • 32. Trace by Sam Starbuck
  • 31. Lady Knight by Tamora Pierce
  • 30. Squire by Tamora Pierce
  • 29. Page by Tamora Pierce
  • 28. First Test by Tamora Pierce
  • 27. In the Realms of the Gods by Tamora Pierce
  • 26. Emperor Mage by Tamora Pierce
  • 25. Stasiland by Anna Funder
  • 24. A Woman in Berlin by Anonymous
  • 23. Invisible Cities by Italo Calvino
  • 22. Wolf Speaker by Tamora Pierce
  • 21. Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce
  • 20. Lioness Rampant by Tamora Pierce
  • 19. Woman Who Rides Like a Man by Tamora Pierce
  • 18. In the Hand of the Goddess by Tamora Pierce
  • 17. Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce
  • 16. The Artificial Silk Girl by Irmgard Keun
  • 15. The Sign of Four by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 14. Gut gegen Nordwind by Daniel Glattauer
  • 13. The Hound of the Baskervilles by Arthur Conan Doyle
  • 12. Momo by Michael Ende
  • 11. To Say Nothing of the Dog by Connie Willis
  • 10. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
  • 9. The Truth About Stories by Thomas King
  • 8. The Vesuvius Club by Mark Gatiss
  • 7. The Bad Seed by William March
  • 6. The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
  • 5. Dr. Mom Chung of the Fair-Haired Bastards by Judy Tzu-Chun Wu
  • 4. Air by Geoff Ryman
  • 3. Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde by Robert Louis Stevenson
  • 2. The Golden Ass by Apuleius
  • 1. Women of the Klan by Kathleen Blee

Wednesday, February 2, 2011


Just popping in to post a couple of links I thought worth passing on. 

Gender Gap on Wikipedia in the New York Times.

Funny facial hair photos.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Blogging break

I've already unintentionally stopped blogging, having not posted in the last week, but now I'm going to make it official. I'm in the wrong headspace for blogging and for most reading, and a different part of the internet has captured my attention. I may still post occasionally, probably just links and maybe photos, reviews if I get round to reading anything. I'll not be actively blogging, though.

I'm still reading all the blogs I always read, and I'm still around, and hopefully I'll be back to the blog eventually.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Ephemera #71

Louise Brooks, the woman who supposedly popularized bobbed hair in the 1920s. I'm starting to think about my senior thesis this week, and this photo has a vague relation to it. Sorry, I can't remember where I found the photo.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Downton Abbey

I've been watching Downton Abbey, the recent BBC miniseries that's now showing on PBS. We've had two episodes so far, out of four, and I'm quite enjoying the show.

In 1913, Hugh Bonneville is Lord Grantham, and when his two his two nearest heirs die, he's left when the question of whether to fight the entail of his estate. He has three daughters, but the estate is entailed on the male line, and the next male heir is a Manchester solicitor, resolutely middle class. The wonderful Maggie Smith is the dowager Lady Grantham, who, when someone mentions having to wait until the weekend, asks, "What is a weekend?" with perfect seriousness.

Like all the best stories about English country estates, there's as much drama downstairs as up. Mr. Bates is Lord Grantham's new valet, but he has a war injury which makes him unable to do some of the duties expected of him.

Period drama is nothing new for the BBC, but they do it so well we keep watching it. This is a great show no matter how many times this sort of story has been done, and I'm excited to see the second half.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Review: Women of the Klan

Women of the Klan, by Kathleen Blee, tells the story of the Women of the Ku Klux Klan, an organization which existed in concert to the 1920s KKK. It's a delicate tale to tell, of course, given the KKK's history of racism, antisemitism, and violence, but Blee does it relatively well.

Blee asks what place women have in right-wing movements like the KKK. She presents the KKK of the 1920s as full of contradictions. The men's Klan used women as symbols, showing them as potential victims in order to bring men to their cause. On the other hand, the women who joined the KKK were often in some respects progressive and feminist. Women used their role in the KKK to increase their political power in the early days of women's suffrage.

The book suffers from lack of extant information. The KKK was shrouded in secrecy, and in the years after its heyday many of the original members have died or ceased to remember accurately. I don't think Blee made the best use even of the information she had. She conducted oral interviews, but quotes from these were infrequent. I thought she could have made more use of particular women's experiences, especially those who were average members and not leaders. The book seemed to go in circles, repeating things already said in a different way. It was worth writing, certainly, and worth reading, but it didn't live up to expectations, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


When Sherlock first aired on the BBC last August, there was a lot of talk about it. I started the first episode, and didn't even get as far as meeting Sherlock before I decided I wasn't in the mood. I definitely stopped too soon. The show is created and written by Steven Moffat, the writer of Doctor Who, and Mark Gatiss, who also sometimes writes (and acts) for Doctor Who.

Sherlock is a modernized Sherlock Holmes. I've never read Sherlock Holmes, so I can't judge how it relates to the canon, but on it's own merit it's a fabulous show. There were only three 90-minute episodes, three more to come next fall. I'm super impatient.

The acting is lovely. Sherlock is mesmerizing. With the exceptions of the unfortunate Asian stereotyping in the second episode, the stories are great.

Some shows are sort of... impregnable. You can't take them and play with them, because they don't leave room for that. Sherlock, on the other hand, almost seems like it's written with fans in mind. Everyone takes a show or a book and contemplates how it might have gone differently, or what might have happened in between scenes. Sherlock both leaves this open and makes suggestions. For example, people assume Sherlock and Watson (we call him John, here) are gay hilariously often. The two have a great dynamic, whether or not you want to form theories about them.

So that's my latest television obsession.

Sunday, January 16, 2011


109 cats in sweaters.

Beautifully calm and simple photography by Glen Erler.

The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic. This exhibit, which looks fascinating, is soon to be at Odegaard Library on the UW campus.

Cyperspace When You're Dead. Do you ever wonder what would happen to your internet self if you died? That's what this article is about. It's fascinating.

Full Steam Ahead. Apparently, Seattle's very steampunk.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Ephemera #70

Bingo in the summer, New Ulm, Minnesota, circa 1975. Photo by Flip Schulke, thanks to the U.S. National Archives. I'm craving summer, can you tell?


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