TBR: Aphro-ism: Essays on Pop Culture, Feminism, and Black Veganism from Two Sisters

In this lively, accessible, and provocative collection, Aph and Syl Ko provide new theoretical frameworks on race, advocacy for nonhuman animals, and feminism. Using popular culture as a point of reference for their critiques, the Ko sisters engage in groundbreaking analysis of the compartmentalized nature of contemporary social movements, present new ways of understanding interconnected oppressions, and offer conceptual ways of moving forward expressive of Afrofuturism and black veganism.

Aph and Syl Ko s work has deeply changed my views on activism for the animals. Every time, their work is eye-opening, revisiting the connections between animal liberation and human liberation in a way that is as much critical as constructive and inspiring. Frederic Cote-Boudreau, Quebec-based activist, scholar, and blogger

Aphro-ism is an important read for anyone who is interested in thinking critically and wants to help to not only challenge but change the current dynamic of race and animals in our society. Thanks to these brilliant women of color, I ve gained a new understanding of systems of oppression and feel less alone in the fight for social justice. lauren Ornelas, Founder/Executive Director, Food Empowerment Project

The Ko sisters are miles ahead of even the most progressive thinkers, with Aphro-ism establishing a theoretical framework and #BlackVegansRock demonstrating its practicability. There s no better metaphor for the failures of white supremacist capitalism than mortar, since it is the white slime that holds stone together. When the mortar cracks the whole building falls apart. Aph and Syl Ko are the stone. Crack them a thousand times and they remain unbroken. Rich Goldstein, Producer, The Daily Beast

Aph and Syl s anti-racist and anti-speciesist framework shifts the paradigm of nonhuman and human liberation. Aphro-ism is a revolutionary tool for holistic anti-oppression work that can benefit both grassroots activists and academic scholars. Raffaella Ciavatta, Cofounder, Collectively Free, and activist

Aph and Syl Ko are incredible activists and revolutionary thinkers who have influenced the way we approach animal rights and anti-racist activism. Aphro-ism has taught us to view oppression and liberation through a much clearer lens. David and Paige Carter, Co-CEOs and Cofounders, The 300-Pound Vegan

Syl Ko provides a crucial perspective to the movements seeking to secure rights for humans and nonhumans alike. As she so eloquently demonstrates, we should not treat human beings like animals any more than we should treat animals like animals. Syl s scholarship challenges us to reassess the standing social order and work toward a more just world. Steven M. Wise, Founder and President, The Nonhuman Rights Project

Aphro-ism is a groundbreaking suite of original essays on the entanglements of race, empire, gender, and species. In their analyses of human and animal oppression, Aph and Syl Ko deliver the trifecta: scholarship that is rigorous, accessible, and deeply important. Jason Wyckoff, PhD

Aph and Syl s brilliant work is laying the groundwork for an exciting new millennial generation of deeply critical and compassionate thinkers, feminists, and activists. Aphro-ism is helping countless young, hungry critical thinkers navigate through a world of isms, make sense of endless contradictions, and come out the other side as more well-equipped, effective, woke activists. Richard Bowie, editor at VegNews magazine

 

I’ve requested we purchase this for the library where I work. I really want to get my hands on a copy!

Buy on Amazon.

Book Review: The Wicked + The Divine Vol. 4

This one progresses the story but gives no new background information. I believe it thinks it is going somewhere, but I am not so sure. There is a twist at the end that I didn’t see coming because it feels like the creators simply aren’t that clever. And it’s still a pretty vague twist at that, so, fuck it, I’m going to read the next one.

People call this work art porn but I call it music artist porn. The creators just want to see their favorite pop stars in fan-fictiony situations and I’m just like “I’m here for the statement on myth and existence, please. Any day now.”

Other reviews I agree with on Goodreads:

It was better than volume three, but this is really a 2.5 star book. I want to give it 3 stars, I really do, but I can’t. It’s sad, the series started out so strong. But this volume was still confusing (as was volume 3, though this wasn’t as extreme) and there were large sections that were just wasted space. I couldn’t understand what was going on during fight scenes or during scenes. There were other sections where I’m sure they thought it was dramatic but where nothing happened or moved the story forward. It made the entire book feel flimsy and frusterating. i know that for me that feeling was exacerbated by having finished Monstress, Volume 1: Awakening, a very complex and satisfying story, immediately before starting this. But the comparison couldn’t have been more stark. The art is really bold and striking and often really special. But sometimes it adds to the confusion as well. Overall it just wasn’t great and by no means did it live up to the promise of volume one. Sorry! 

 

This was…alright. It wasn’t bad, just really basic to be perfectly honest. The plot was very thin, and the action just got really, really over-the-top. The second I finished this I picked up Volume 1 again and flipped through it, and I came to realize that this story seriously one-eighty-ed in this volume. What was a commentary on celebrity life has become sort of typical fantasy fair.

 

Despite all the action and the return of the original artist, this didn’t really feel all that exciting. The script felt notably slapdash, with campy dialogue that didn’t flow very smoothly. I think I may be done with this series.

 

TBR: The Eye of Everfell by Bard Constantine

In a world where history has become myth, legend returns in sinister fashion. When a malevolent race of powerful beings reveals their existence, humanity must suffer the consequences.

An immortal lord risks everything to cure his people of their terrible curse, yet the cost may be that of his very soul. A newly anointed seeress discovers an artifact that may hold the key to an ages-old conflict, but her discovery may be her destruction. And a fallen knight pursues a path of vengeance, despite repercussions that threaten to consume all that he has suffered for.

Their lives will intersect with others: men who shift their shape with a thought, an ambitious and brutal warlord fixated on conquest, a cunning agent with duplicitous loyalties, a crimson-eyed mistress whose name means Death, and a band of skilled fighters who dare to hunt the immortal. The resulting maneuvers for position and power will sweep the entire kingdom into a war where no outcome is predictable, and even the best intentions can go horribly awry.

The Shadow Battles have begun.

 

I, too, am crimson-eyed when I haven’t gotten enough sleep. I, too, have a name that means death if you wake me from my freakin’ nap.

Read more on Goodreads. 

Book Review: Foundations of Drawing: A Practical Guide to Art History, Tools, Techniques, and Styles by Al Gury

So, I thought this was going to be a fluff coffee table book when I chose it. But no, it is not. I’m so glad it’s not because it was actually a delight to read.

It talks about history and gives great examples and explains things–things I did not learn in AP art class when putting together my portfolio in high school. I suppose that if I had taken an art class other than Art History in college I would have been taught some of these things.

In the book you see where the history of drawing has influenced aspects of our culture.

Before this book, I don’t think I had ever heard of the Butade’s Daughter myth about the origins of drawing and sculpture. I also fully appreciate Gury’s choice of “Greco-Roman” over the “Graeco-Roman” I keep seeing (we don’t call people from Greece Graek, so why is it Graeco? Ugggh. I don’t understand).

A quote from the book: “The Classical Greeks of the fifth and fourth centuries celebrated the supremacy of line over color and expression, thinking that color and expression reflected Dionysian emotional chaos while line exhibited the intellectual control of Apollo.” Fascinating.

It goes on to tell you about the materials you can use — how charcoal is made. It gives you a better appreciation for what you are using. It now has a history and it’s not just this thing you picked up and used. You know its importance and where it came from. I had no idea.

Also of note: “Though colored pencils are less toxic, there is still a danger from the particles on the hands. Always make sure to wash your hands after using most drawing materials.” …WTF? I’ve never washed my hands after using colored pencils. WHAT.

And then it moves on to the more practical matters — how to get started. How to confirm what you already do is correct. It wasn’t before this book that I thought to be self-conscious of any process. But I might be now! haha

Is this how art textbooks usually are? I can see this being used as a textbook for a Drawing 101 class. But I’m no authority on the matter. I feel as though I’ve missed out by not taking art in college…

I received this book from the Blogging for Books program in exchange for this review. See my "Request a Book Review" above for my review policy.

Book Review: Saga Vol. 7 is a f*cking bloodbath

I cried. I literally cried when reading this volume.

I forgive everything I hated about Vol. 6 because of this volume. EVERYTHING.

It’s starting to pick its pace back up. And it’s hella more dramatic now.

This volume’s story  focuses on religion and the devout but in a way that gives said religious/devout characters agency and grace. You don’t hate the religious, you feel sorry for them so much that it breaks your heart.

Spoilers: So, Alana loses the baby, as I sort of predicted would happen (best case scenario-wise and narratively). That kid would have been a problem and would have taken away from Hazel’s cuteness.

Oh my god, this comiiic.

TBR: Interpretation by Dylan Callens

Carl Winston awakens to find his son, Liam, screaming with fear. Trying to understand why, Carl tries to soothe him. Neighbors gather in front of Carl’s apartment to help – until they see him. The crowd cowers back, afraid of this monster.

Carl runs. His life of luxury is ripped away. Forced beyond the city limits, Carl sees a land bereft of life. Traveling in search of answers, his quest comes to a sudden halt when he collapses. As darkness shrouds him, a figure hovers from above.

Traveling along the same route, Eva Thomspon finds Carl and nurtures him back to life. Together, they continue the journey, finding out that their lives have too much in common to be a coincidence. As their affection for each other deepens, an unknown nemesis attempts to remove their only source of happiness – their love for each other.

Interpretation is a dystopian fiction that explores hope and happiness in the bleakest of conditions and what happens when it’s torn away.

 

But, like, what happens to the kid? Did Carl eat him?

Read more on Goodreads.

Vocational Awe?

‘Vocational awe is f*cking toxic and we as librarians need to stop spreading this rhetoric that libraries are this beacon of democracy and critical thinking. Libraries are just buildings. It is the people who do the work. And we need to treat these people well. You can’t eat on passion. You can’t pay rent on passion. It is not a sustainable source of income, and we need to stop treating vocational awe as the only way to be a librarian.’

WTF is a Radical Librarian, Anyway?

Aka the humblebrag post in which I discuss how I came up with a term. 

When the call for proposals for the Identity, Agency, and Culture in Academic Libraries conference, I was super excited. It often felt like these topics were mentioned at other conferences, but not thoroughly and in only a select number of sessions. This was the opportunity to speak on how these things affect not only our work, but how we interact with other professionals.

Sveta invited me to be on a panel about being feeling ambivalence experienced while being a librarian, and I was like YES, these are the kinds of conversations that, in my opinion, are not done nearly enough and should be explored. As we were brainstorming, I mentioned that I was interested in deconstructing this idea of vocational awe in librarianship. I saw the concept as the root of a lot of problems…

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BOOK REVIEW: Under the Poppy by Kathe Koja was too busy for me to enjoy

 So, this was a DNF book for me. I gave it a good try, though.

I found the odd punctuation usage in the book refreshing, though I don’t think it helped its story. It was jarring on the eye, but original and not something I had seen before. There were also too many perspectives flipping back and forth in this book. I still can’t tell you if it had any structure to frame it. It just seemed to switch whenever it felt like it, making it hard to want to pay attention to.

Koja definitely has an identifiable style, you could say.

If you’re into historical settings, I can see how this might be interesting to you. Otherwise, just watch the Hulu TV show Harlots or something.

The puppet aspect is introduced early on, and was a good way to introduce them (someone thinks they killed someone…only to discover that no, the person raping a woman isn’t a dwarf at all…yeah, weird). But there just wasn’t enough puppets, really. I wasn’t really sure what the point of this novel was, and without a message, I just gave up.

Here’s a really funny review of this book I think you should check out:

Please enjoy the second installment in the new series, Stefon on Literature. Take it away, Stefon!


It’s the 1870s, and Brussells’ hottest brothel is Under the Poppy. Club owners Decca and Rupert have though of everything: opium-addicted whores on swings, rent boys in costume, mute piano players, unrequited gay love, horny Gepettos…


I’m sorry, Stefon, horny Gepettos?

 

Another review I agree with:

What I did read of it was rich, detailed, slipping in and out of the minds of various characters. It’s atmospheric, wonderfully so — but to me it felt all atmosphere and no substance, and very little truly happening. I wanted to love Istvan and Rupert, but felt shut out by them — I identified perhaps the most with Decca, in that respect! — and didn’t feel caught up in their world, at all. And it’s not as though Decca is easy to love. The easiest ways in seem to be Lucy and Jonathan, but there isn’t much of the latter…

The narration doesn’t help: it isn’t easy to read, the style, not quite conventional. It takes a while to pick up the signifiers, what is flashback and what is real, and sometimes what exactly is being said, and by whom. Parts of it are third person (omniscient?) and parts are first person, which gives it all sorts of different flavours, but… still. I don’t feel closer to any one character, through that.

 

 

BOOK REVIEW: The Write Crowd by Lori A. May

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