Remember that guy at Google with the memo? (Seems like months ago, doesn't it?) Well, one of the MetaFilter gang decided to do a comprehensive discussion/analysis of his arguments, complete with citations. The Truth Has Got Its Boots On, which is a lovely Pratchett reference.
Here's a resource for people confused about the Trump/Russia scandal. Amidst all the racism and Nazis, there are still questions about Trump's history with Russia.
This New Yorker article also asks some questions about Wall Street Raider Carl Icahn and his relationship with the Trump regime. Conflicts of interest? Pish.
This article looks at environmental justice from the perspective of the community rather than the regulator or government. It's both devastating and hopeful.
This article from Pro Publica gives a solid historical overview of attempts to incorporate principles of environmental justice at the federal level, and how they have failed. I do love Pro Publica: they do solid investigative journalism.
Politics can make strange bedfellows, as we know: hunters are on the front lines protecting the public lands.
This Lawfare article about private military groups hints at some legal tools that can be used against the Neo-Nazis.
The New York Review of Books has dropped the paywall on James M. McPherson's take-down of the myth of the Lost Cause.
Here's a blackly funny report of a call to a Georgia Congressman's office.
Alton Brown's fruitcake recipe. It looks tasty, but the volume is far too small. Why make only one fruitcake at a time?!
I am working on my NFE story, but argh, just realized that book club is this coming Wednesday, and I haven't read the book yet! Argh. Also it took me 4 tries to get started on the story, and then I had to do some background research and realized that I had [redacted] wrong, and also [redacted], and now I have to research [redacted]. I'm not sure if I'm going to get done in time...
In other news, Help!. Is anyone else using Chrome and having trouble logging into DW? I turned off HTTPS Everywhere, but that didn't make any difference. I simply cannot log in.
And now off to dog class where once again we will fail on the weave poles...
(I thought I was all set to read it to the Pip, since Chad got to read it to SteelyKid! But, foolishly, since chapter 3 is pretty short, I let the Pip talk me into just a little of chapter four last night . . . without checking how much of chapter 4 was left, or asking Chad to save chapter 5 for me.)
(Last time I read even-numbered chapters through chapter 12, then Chad read chapters 13 & 14 together, so I did odd-numbered from fifteen on; which, to be fair, now that we're back on me doing even-numbered, means I get to do the spiders and Smaug again, which were great fun. Still! "Riddles in the Dark"!)
Our Heroine is a children's book illustrator named Avril, which would be fine if she were not ALSO notable for her family reputation as a Strung-Out Sulky Counter-Culture Fight-The-Power Teen Rebel with constant Rage Against the Preppy machine, which meant that I had "Complicated" and "Sk8er Boi" stuck on rotate in my head for the entire duration of this novel. THANKS, ISABELLE HOLLAND.
( spoilers are full of hilariously plausibly annoying children )
Here's to hoping that this is for real! Also that Dot and Mac are in it! Miss Fisher isn't the same without Dot and Mac (or Bert and Cec and Mr. Butler and Jane, but Dot and Mac are my favorites).
I've been wondering: Since there are lesbians out there who occasionally crave cock, does the reverse also happen? Are there gay men who occasionally crave pussy?
There are gay men who watch football—hell, I have it on good authority that some gay men play football, TP. So anything is possible. (Also, there are lots of lesbian-identified bisexual women out there, a smaller number of gay-identified bisexual men, and a tiny handful of bisexual-identified football fans.)
I've been seeing a lot of articles in the media about men "dropping out of the dating-and-marriage game," and the conclusions always point to porn as the culprit. This seems like a simplistic explanation. Do you have an opinion on the effect of porn on men?
I dropped out of the forming-opinions-about-porn game—far too busy consuming porn these days, PP. It's the only way to keep myself sane here in Trumpsylvania.
I'm a 26-year-old woman. I started dating a fantastic guy a month ago, blah blah blah, we've already talked about marriage. The problem is that his dick isn't up to par size-wise or staying-hard-wise. He was aware of this before I came along, and it made him an enthusiastic and skilled oral performer to make up for it. So for now everything's great, plenty of orgasms, and we're lovey-dovey. But eventually I'll need that filled-up feeling and I'll have to ask for some dildo/extender/strap-on action. The question is when to ask. He's a secure guy, and we've both been honest about our flaws. If I wait too long to ask, it might make him think I've been faking the whole time. And if I ask too soon, I could scare him off or make his performance anxiety worse! How do I know when the right time is?
If you were talking about marriage after a month, HF, odds are good this relationship is doomed anyway. So go ahead and ask for dildo/extender/strap-on action now. Don't say, "Circling back to your subpar dick, darling, I'm gonna need some compensatory dildo action soon." Instead say, "I'm into penetration toys, and I'm looking forward to getting into them with you—getting them into me, getting them into you. Anything you want to put on the menu, darling?"
Two friends can hook up with a girl or two girls from a bar and have a threesome or a foursome. But can two brothers—with opposite sexual preferences—hook up with a girl and a guy from a bar? Would this be considered wrong? No touching between siblings would occur.
It would be considered wrong by some—but those people aren't you, your brother, or the girl and guy you hope to pick up together. Personally, BB, I can barely get an erection if one of my siblings is in the same zip code; I can't imagine getting one with a sibling in the same room. But if you're comfortable doing opposite-sexual-preferencey things in close proximity to your brother, go for it.
I am a bisexual man and recently divorced my wife of 30 years. I am currently seeing a very beautiful lady. I satisfy my bisexual desires by going to sex clubs and I always practice safe sex. I don't have an issue, I just wanted to tell you I remember one time when you had a column about two guys performing fellatio on another man at the same time. I found it to be such a turn-on and even fantasized I was doing it to you. Hope that doesn't offend you.
Um, thanks for sharing?
I'm having an extremely difficult time getting intimate with my boyfriend of four years. I'm in recovery for an eating disorder, and part of my treatment is Prozac. It's working great and helping me make healthier choices. However, the Prozac is severely affecting my sex drive. I have little to no desire to have sex. And when we do have sex, I rarely orgasm. This is frustrating and, frankly, harmful to my recovery process. I'm already dealing with my shitty eating disorder telling me that I'm fat, ugly, and not good enough for anyone, anything, or even a decent meal. Now it's taking sex away from me, too? I also feel terrible for my boyfriend, who is endlessly patient and understanding but wants to have sex. I've suggested opening up the relationship for his sake, but he doesn't want to do that. I feel guilty and sad and frustrated. Any thoughts?
If the benefits of Prozac (helping you make better choices and aiding your recovery process) are canceled out by the side effects (leaving you so sexually frustrated, it's harming your recovery process), PLH, you should talk to your doctor about other options—other drugs you could try or a lower dose of Prozac. If you doctor dismisses your concerns about the sexual side effects of the drug they've got you on, get a new doctor.
I have only one concern about Donald Trump getting impeached: Do we get Mike Pence? Is he not just as bad? Or worse? On a more personal note: I don't think I've gotten a good night's sleep since Trump got elected. I wake up every morning next to an avid, Fox News–watching Trump supporter. I'm married long-term (35 years!) to a man who pulled a political one-eighty. This is about to make me crazy. Really. I'm not kidding. Do you have any suggestions for me? I don't want to DTMFA. Although after a most nauseating discussion over dinner, I did actually give it some thought.
Mike Pence, as awful as he is, oscillates within a predictable band of Republican awfulness. The reason no one is getting any sleep these days—not even folks who don't wake up next to Trump supporters—is because no one can predict what Trump will do next. Not even Trump. That's what makes his presidency such an existential nightmare.
As for your husband, LG, your choices are binary and rather stark: Either you divorce his ass and spare yourself the grief of listening to his bullshit, or you stay put, learn to tune out his bullshit, and cancel out his vote in 2018 and 2020.
What's the best dating site for a slightly cynical, tattooed, fortysomething woman looking for a guy?
It depends on the kind of guy you want. Closet case? ChristianMingle. Fuck boy? Tinder. Trump voter? Farmers Only. Compulsive masturbator? Craigslist. Unfuckable loser who is now and will always be a socially maladapted virgin? Return of Kings.
On the Lovecast, Dr. Samantha Joel on the psychology of ending relationships: savagelovecast.com.
Also she has prompted my meal planning for a bastardized primavera sauce for later this week, which is an entirely different type of pasta sauce. Though it does have mushrooms in it, and parmesan, which will contribute nicely to the umami. (I really can't stop myself.)
(Also it might be time to try another run at that delicious fresh fava bean and parmesan salad, even though fresh fava beans are a gigantic pain to peel. But it was SO GOOD. I just need to remember to get a loaf of good sourdough or French bread to toast first to soak up the sauce.)
Also she will forgive me for not ending a nested parenthetical properly.
Though she will laugh at me. Probably a lot. (I will deserve it.)
But the nice thing about pasta sauce is that I can cook it gluten-free and she can still come over and eat it ANY TIME. We can have a GF pot and a gluten pot of pasta. Which she knows. This is the joy of pasta. The pots wash and the gluten comes off. It's not like flour, which gets in the nooks and crannies of the KitchenAid and stays EVERYWHERE.
Though I do have a nifty recipe for GF peanut butter cookies from Smitten Kitchen if we ever want to get together and bake something. I could use a hand mixer or a wooden spoon instead of the KitchenAid. Also you do the GF stuff first, before you get the flour in the air, so that you don't cross-contaminate.
Here are a few of the Roll-a-Sketch drawings I did at San Diego Comic-Con this year!
And I’ll also be at Gen Con in Indianapolis, this weekend. I’m at the Blind Ferret booth, #2129! It’ll be my last convention of 2017.
Stop by and get your own drawing possibly as lovely as any of these (click the images for a closer look):
FARMER + RHINO:
ELEPHANT + MAD MAX:
SUPERMAN + STEAMPUNK + SPORTS + MUSICAL:
SHREDDER + PIRATE + STEAMPUNK + MERMAID:
And finally, CHICKEN + DOCTOR:
When I first started posting about social justice online, on my fannish livejournal, I posted about racism a LOT, with lots of self righteous LET ME EXPLAIN A THING. And then two of my non-white(*) friends said it was ruining my blog for them: one because she felt like I was speaking over her experiences, which didn’t match the monolithic How POC Feel Narrative I was ‘explaining’, the other because it was causing my clueless white friends to say racist crap in the comments. I had to fight back a defensive “But DON’T YOU WANT ME TO FIGHT RACISM??” reaction.
Ten years later and I’m still trying to figure out how to discuss racism in ways that actually help fight racism, and make the spaces I control supportive of POC/non-white people, rather than simply making the loudest possible noise about how it’s REALLY BAD YOU GUYS.
( Read more... )
Some rather abbreviated reviews of books I've finished reading in the last few weeks (some of these have been on the 'in progress' pile for some time -- one of them nearly 2 years, I think). For some reason, some of my reviews (I'm mostly paraphrasing longer reviews posted in Goodreads) have completely ignored the details of the stories, and just looked at my response to them.
In no particular order:
Beyond the Labyrinth by Gillian Rubenstein. What starts out as an all too tedious story of sibling rivalry and uncomfortable family dynamics into which an additional teenager is dropped becomes a gripping commentary on the paranoia of the 1980s and the nature of reality, all wrapped in a time travel and first contact narrative. 5/5
Dark Labyrinth by Lawrence Durrell. I picked this one up at the second hand bookshop, because I was aware of Durrell from reading his brother's semi-autobiographical stories, but didn't know anything more. I found this story of rather random characters who meet on a cruise and then end up in a Greek cave system/labyrinth uninteresting, and it was hard to motivate myself to keep reading. Having said that, it is well written, with a host of interesting characters. It just wasn't for me. [The copy of this book is free to a good home; happy to pay postage for someone who actually likes Durrell's writing] 3/5
Jackalope Wives by Ursula Vernon (novelette? short story?) An interesting take on the trope of animals shedding their outer skins to show beautiful young women underneath. I particularly loved the old woman character that holds the story together, and her rugged practicality. 4/5
The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater [book 1, 'The Raven Cycle']. I love the way Stiefvater has woven together the various threads of this story, the subtle way that things are worked towards and foreshadowed. I also was fascinated that such a small section of the story was resolved - some of the details that I expected to be central to the plot are possibly going to be relevant to the later books, which makes me hopeful that the next book will be as strong. 5/5
Giant Trouble by Ursula Vernon [book 4, 'Hamster Princess'] I am particularly fond of the Harriet Hamster series, and this story did not disappoint in any way. The quirky extra details are often the things that really make the stories for me -- the rescue of the harp/hamster hybrid character who is all about the heavy rock/metal music, and the basic genderqueer nature of battle quails are the ones that come to mind here. As with the previous three books, fairy tales aimed squarely at pre-teen girls which are about heroism without the requisite romance sub-plot are a delight to read, and I'm so happy that Vernon is continuing to write for this market.5/5
The Legend of the Phoenix Dragon by Brenton E McKenna [graphic novel](book 1, Ubby's Underdogs). This is an amazingly intricate story, with a wide cast of characters and multiple plots running together. I love the detail that the two 'competitions' between the rival gangs are narrated as if by a sports commentator -- it gives an added dimension to something that might otherwise come off as a rule-less brawl. Ends on quite the cliffhanger. 5/5
The Homeward Bounders by Diana Wynne Jones. This is a book that I very much loved as a kid, and rereading as an adult, I still find the plot (and the twists), the shout-outs to mythology, and the twisty nature of reality as presented in this story to be completely gripping. The characters were a little less interesting than I remember, but there is certainly an identifiable amount of diversity, which is somewhat atypical of (what I remember of) kids books of the time. The plot is detailed, the world-building spectacular (as one would expect from Jones), and the writing romps along at a great rate. 5/5
The Seventh Bride by T Kingfisher. Adored it. The ending is well suited to the fairy tale genre, with the sorcerer getting their comeuppance and most everyone getting their happily ever after. 5/5
Eight Days of Luke by Diana Wynne Jones. While this is one of my four (or so) favourite books written by Jones', I don't actually think it is one of her stronger ones. The worldbuilding, including the incorporation of Norse mythology, is good, but sometimes patchy. The characterisation is mostly fine, but sometimes a bit wooden. The writing is mostly smooth, but aspects of both the worldbuilding and the characterisation kept throwing me out of the story -- I was sometimes too busy wondering what it was that I was missing in a particular scene to actually read it properly the first time through, and thus ended up rereading multiple pages. 4/5
The Body at the Tower by Y S Lee (book 2, The Mary Quinn Mysteries). This is a great murder mystery aimed at late primary aged kids (or possibly older) set in Victorian London. Lee really knows her stuff with the feel and pacing of the story, although I found that there were sections that dragged a little. 4/5
For the record, I'll be voting 'yes' -- Amanda Vanstone on why the marriage equality vote is about religious freedom as much as anything. Also, she gets out the toasting fork for Tony Abbott. Now, I don't necessarily agree with Vanstone on a lot of topics, but I do listen to her on the radio a lot, and I appreciate the way that she approaches topics, even as I shout at the radio.
Blind Reading is in Braille or Large Print (Elsa Sjunneson-Henry) -- This is a topic that I've been ranting on for years, the misuse of 'blind' when the speaker means 'anonymous' or 'ignorant of'.
I have been taking a few days off. Well, I’ve been sort of taking a few days off – I think they only feel like days off because I’m not riding really far, and putting up a tent and taking it back down again and trying to manage email and doing nine jobs all at once. Instead I’ve been riding my bike a little, to get around town, and to the beach, and to the marina to sail with Joe. The house is a still a disaster, the mountain of neglected work on my desk needs my attention now, but it has felt good to snuggle a baby, come up with a plan of attack, and enjoy the summer a bit. Also – knit. Not little bits of knitting found here and there, not just a plain sock because it’s all I can muster, but real, proper knitting – done in nice chunks, with a fancy pattern and beads and concentration and without worrying that the needles will puncture an air mattress.
I’m tackling Snow Angel (a little ironic for a summer knit, I know) and it’s lovely. I had about ten million balls of Findley left over after Elliott’s blanket, and it’s such a pleasure to knit with that I’m using it again. (It’s got 730m per ball. I can’t explain the yarn insecurity that led me to buy so much. I’m rather glad I like it, because I’ll be knitting with it for the rest of my life.)
I’ve still got a pair of socks running in the background, because beaded lace isn’t exactly the sort of knitting that goes well with taking the subway or walking or going to meetings, and also I’m me, so I wouldn’t quite know what to do with myself without a pair of socks in my bag, but I’m mostly knitting on this, and hoping to get it bashed out pretty quickly. The first section went by so fast that I got optimistic about it only taking a few days, but as with all things top-down, that initial thrill’s worn off as the rows get longer.
I’ve got just a little time to knit on it today before I head out for a meeting (and I have to do something about the kitchen. It’s sort of sticky. All of it. I don’t know how cupboards get sticky, but they are.) Maybe I’ll finish the first big chart – but I’m already dreaming of what I’ll make next. Shall I finish the paper/linen Habu thing? Maybe a pair of fancy socks? Perhaps a sweater for one of the littles, or a hat for the Christmas box, or… What are you making?
I promised I’d wrap up the Karmic Balancing gifts when I got back – so here’s a start. (It’s going to take a bit. You’re a generous bunch – I’ll do as many as I can each day.
Mary S found a wonderful way to give this year, she went for a nice long stash dive and came up with five (yup, five) beautiful presents for her fellow knitters. (Doesn’t she seem like a lovely person? Good taste in yarn, too.)
Ways To Give:
Anon linked to a fundraiser for Mike "Mictlan" Marquez, one of the MCs in the rap co-op Doomtree (featured several times on Welcome to Night Vale's weather reports). He was recently diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes and like many artists is uninsured; he's expecting significant expenses for treatment he's already had (an ER visit and Diabetic Ketoacidosis) as well as ongoing treatment. You can read more and support his medical fundraiser here.
demond119 is raising funds with husband Jeremy to help with after-care costs of his heart transplant; he's currently on the waiting list at the Mayo Clinic, and once he has the transplant, he will need an extended stay at a transplant house (Gift of Life) for several months. You can read more and reblog here and support the fundraiser here.
emeraldonyxdragon is raising funds to support herself while studying in London this fall. She was accepted to a graduate program there but her savings have gone to help her parents with debts; in joining the program she would also be able to escape an abusive household. To help raise awareness, she is holding a contest -- reblogs and likes on her fundraising post could win you a fanfic of your choice. You can support the fundraiser directly here.
rilee16 is struggling to cover medical expenses after two head injuries last year, and has a fundraiser running to cover living expenses, previous medical bills, and a recent rent increase. You can read more and help out here.
We're all aware of what happened in Charlottesville this weekend; there are some concrete ways to take action here and orgs to support here and just in case you need a little encouragement here is Asiatic Clam Man to remind you that you can do it.
Buy Stuff, Help Out:
magpiesmiscellany has a selection of tree-of-life pendants in various shapes, colors, and sizes for sale, with proceeds going to Planned Parenthood, Lambda Legal, the ACLU, Doctors Without Borders, Earthjustice, Sierra Club, and the National Immigration Law Center. You can read more and purchase them here.
News To Know:
Leverage Big/Mini Bang signups are open! I ran RFM items letting people know about the Bang for a few weeks, and now you can register to participate. You can read more and sign up here (sign up links are at the bottom of the post -- at least on my screen they don't actually look like links but they are, I promise!)
And this has been Radio Free Monday! Thank you for your time. You can post items for my attention at the Radio Free Monday submissions form. If you're not sure how to proceed, here is a little more about what I do and how you can help (or ask for help!). If you're new to fundraising, you may want to check out my guide to fundraising here.
Cooking: the chicken and cauliflower soup has been in the slow cooker for some time, but hasn't started to noticeably smell yet; spinach is cooked and chopped, and the next step for the gnocchi is mashing potatoes when they are cooled; roast veggies are all set up to go in the oven when the gnocchi goes in.
Physical stuff: the stove and island have been cleared and cleaned and then made use of, the dishwasher has been emptied and all the dirty dishes gone in there; the egg shells are ground; shopping is partly away; have not made it to the 'tidy one square metre' approach, because still working on the kitchen/cooking; the rest are time dependent.
On the computer: haven't touched it since the plan was written this morning.
I've listened to three (or possibly four) downloaded Health Report podcasts (starting at the oldest and working forwards), and watched about half an hour of the Sound of Music. I done 5-10 minutes at the piano working on a new piece where I can't get one of the hand shifts right (and it repeats in every single repeated phrase). And now I'm at the 'please let me lie down in the dark' point, with minor headache and ow and blah. But I have at least managed to keep working solidly for 2 hours. Which implies that I'm still improving, because I overdid things yesterday, and yet I'm still functional today.
( This got rather rambling... )
( Read more... )
Correctives to an article that, I admit, I shared at first: smartphones aren't destroying a generation from Slate and Psychology Today.
Oops, this mobile puzzle game Humble Bundle only has a day left: I've played and liked klocki, Hook, and Deus Ex GO, and I'm in the process of playing Zenge.
The Secret Life of the City Banana at the NYT; I love logistics-heavy looks at ordinary things like this.
Tag yourself, I'm X (that's a legible text version of this tweet).
A minute's worth of zoo animals escaping the heat; I think the last bit is my favorite.
I broke camp around six this morning, and when I started the hike it was 6:35 exactly, because I for once had the presence of mind to log it. Just getting to the trailhead was a couple of miles, due to some unforeseen obstructions (I did not get lost, there were just two unexpected fences, and also a long stretch of “closed” road that was a weird little detour through a post-apocalyptic landscape), so while I had planned to do about six miles, I ended up doing a little over eight and a half in three and a half hours, which considering I was carrying a 40lb pack I think was pretty good.
I missed the 9:49 train to Chicago by two minutes. I literally saw it pulling away from the station as I arrived. The next train was at 1:15, but it’s just as well I was delayed, since it meant I got to rest my feet for a while and also got to help at least a half dozen people figure out a) how the train worked, b) how much tickets were, and c) which train to get on.
So, I think the trip was a success. I worked out how the camp-reservation system at Dunewood functions, I tested out all my equipment (all remarkably functional, though I think I need to work on sleeping comfort issues), and I measured my endurance limit for hiking with a weighted pack.
It is about eight miles. That last half mile nearly killed me.
Also I got to return the Diane Mott Davidson book to the donation rack so someone else can enjoy it, and I added a book or two as well, which is a good thing since someone just offloaded a shitload of Clive Barker and it’s nice to have a little variety.
Now I am going to sit on the sofa, possibly order a pizza, and deliberately not empty out my pack until tomorrow.
from Tumblr http://ift.tt/2wG4KQO
The sites I have found and how they looked for my fairly central suburb:
- Menulog Moderate range, what I ended up using.
- Eatnow Similar to Menulog, but website was a little less helpful regarding opening times.
- Ubereats Largest range. But part of Uber and thus evil.
- Deliveroo Significantly worse range than all the others.
I ended up picking Taiwanese Cafe which has a nice range of food I can eat as well as some stuff Cameron likes. And Taiwanese desserts!! I LOVE TAIWANESE DESSERTS and have had trouble finding anywhere easy to get them. The food was overall pretty good: the red bean and pearls dessert wasn't the best I've had but still satisfying, the popcorn chicken was super tasty, the teriyaki chicken bento perfectly nice, and the egg pancake a little greasy but ok. The only genuinely mediocre dish was the spring rolls.
The menulog ordering process was very painless, and the delivery guy had my number for when he got lost (our set of units has a very confusing numbering system) You're in trouble if you want ingredient lists etc, but that's true of most delivery.
EDIT for my own use since menulog has no favourites system (*plain rice available)
- Golden Star BBQ Seafood Chinese Restaurant*
- Cay Dua Vietnamese Restaurant*
- Parklane Chinese Restaurant*
- Osaka Sushi
- New Place Japanese Kitchen
- Hongkies Hong Kong Kitchen Closed Tues
- Wah Sun Chinese Restaurant* Closed Tues
- Southern Star Vietnamese* expensive, spicy, greasy. Tasted ok.
Original 13 - finished
1. The Dark Labyrinth
2. Beyond the Labyrinth
Original 13 - progressed
3. Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K Jerome)
4. Three Men on the Bummel (Jerome K Jerome)
5. In Favour of the Sensitive Man (Anaïs Nin)
6. Too Like the Lightening (Ada Palmer)
Original 13 - not touched
7. History and Fiction (Gillian Polack)
8. Speed Cleaning (Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming)
9. The Time Traveller's Guide to Medieval England (Ian Mortimer)
10. Zen and th Art of Motorcycle Maintenance (Robert M Pirsig)
11. The Even more complete book of Australian Verse (John Clarke)
12. Die for me (Amy Plum)
13. Woman on the Edge of Time (Marge Piercy)
Added - finished
14. Homeward Bounders (Diana Wynne Jones)
Added - not yet finished
15. Rough Weather (Robert B Parker)
16. Brilliant CV (Jim Bright)
17. Rosewater and Soda Bread (Marshar Mehran) [This is technically and 'I was already reading', but it was in my travel basket]
18. Rosemary and Rue (Seanan Maguire)
Also in my Goodreads 'currently reading'
19. The Moon Pool (Abraham Merritt) [This is in Serial Reader app, so I'm reading it in small gaps while waiting for people]
20. Design and analysis of cross-over trials (Byron Jones)
21. Coming out under fire (Alan Bérubé)
....plus a couple of others where I have no intention of reading them this month.
So, gone from 13 active books, to 18 active books (plus two more from the library) and three finished. Basically, my brain has decided that picking up a book I'm already partway through is harder work than picking up a new book.
The easiest and most facile way to describe The Underground Railroad is basically like Underground the TV show meets Snowpiercer. I mean, significantly less silly than Snowpiercer, which is a deeply silly movie -- but insofar as it's a train-based road trip for your life in which every stop is an Allegory On the Evils of Class and Capitalism, like that, except in this case it's an allegory on America's original sins.
The book's heroine is Cora, a woman who escapes from a deep-South plantation on an enormous hidden network of rails and tunnels, gaining and losing allies along the way. Each time she gets off she thinks that maybe she's found a place where she can stop and live a human life, and each place she visits reflects a different knife-angle of the generally horrific history of race in America -- alternate histories, but real ones.
Allegory aside, Cora is very much a real and complex and compelling character, and the places she visits have heft to them. Cora's identity is bound up in the legend and mystery of her mother Mabel, the one slave in the plantation's history (before Cora) who was able to escape and vanish completely; she's a real person, too, and so are all the other perspectives that we glimpse briefly in interstitial interludes along Cora's journey. It's a really good book. It's a very page-turning book, and although it's (obviously) extremely grim at times, it's not actually a hopeless book.
Having said that, this is a very tasty beer. Bit light on hops, and a bit light in general (I'm a stout drinker by preference), but very tasty, so I'm not caring much. And very smooth to drink (this is not a thing I would have thought I would say about a beer). Would absolutely drink this one again.