March 29, 2021

February and March Reading Roundup

Please excuse my lateness in posting. We are severely short-staffed at work, and my soul leaves my body about an hour before close each day, so I'm dead when I get home. To make up for it, expect three posts this week. As for these reviews, some are a little vague because I plan on discussing the mysteries more in future Rant Rave Reviews.

Murder at the Vicarage, The Body in the Library, and A Pocket Full of Rye by Agatha Christie

  • Genre: Cozy Mystery
  • Why I read it: Mystery research / gathering the flavor for my WIP
  • What I thought of it: I really like Miss Marple books! There are lots of subplots and red herrings, and things that seem like subplots but are actually crucial. Christie does characterization especially well.
  • Would I recommend it: Yes! They're a real treat!

March 15, 2021

Rant Rave Review: Letter to Momo, Your Name, and In this Corner of the World

They're, like, gorgeous in every way? Today, I rave about three non-Ghibli anime movies: A Letter to Momo, Your Name, and In this Corner of the World. Featuring supernatural slice-of-life, body swapping, and uplifting magical-realist war stories!

March 7, 2021

Censorship and Banning Books

As I mentioned in my last Rant Rave Review, as of last Monday, six books by Dr. Seuss are now officially out-of-print, and they are out of print due to supposedly racist, offensive, and/or stereotypical images. The company that owns the rights to these books is no longer publishing them and some websites are no longer selling them. People who do own the books, or who swooped into stores and bought them the day of the announcement, are now selling them for hundreds or thousands of dollars. So, what are we to make of all this?

Is Dr. Seuss Racist?

There are actually three questions here: is the man racist, are his books racist, and are those images racist? The answer to the first is, he kinda was, and then he got over it. During the war, he was openly against the Japanese, and in favor of the internment camps, then went to Japan during the occupation and realized, hey, maybe these are just people. Apparently, he wrote Horton Hears a Who in response to the US occupation and dedicated it to a Japanese friend. People can change, if you let them.

Okay, well, what about his books? This is an obvious "no". Race basically doesn't come up in Dr. Seuss stories, except "The Sneetches", which is actively against racism. Which, in some people's fevered imaginations, makes it racist. Yes, in some Olympic-level mental gymnastics, saying that whatever race you are isn't important, ie being against "racial essentialism", means that you are a racist. Such people think that the story doesn't address "structures of power" and "systemic oppression". This is true. It's instead a story about a sleazy businessman who goes in and preys on existing racial biases in order to make a buck, constantly telling people to think of their identities in terms of their outward appearance. You'd think the racial essentialists would appreciate the representation.

But I digress.

March 3, 2021

Rant Rave Review: Censorship and Fahrenheit 451

It's, like, prophetic. Today, I discuss censorship and Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Featuring bottom-up dystopias, Seussian anathemas, and the canceling of culture! Also, Timothy the black cat!