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breadnroses

breadnroses

Joined April 2019

literacy and education are human rights
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I enjoyed this collection of essays and stories by Vivian Gornick, whose writing I deeply admire. Some essays I found rather provocative, others more agreeable, and still more a healthy mix of both. Some of my favorites are “The Reading Group”, “The Americanization of Narcissism”, “On the Bus”, and “Consciousness”, as well as her essays on Herman Melville, Primo Levi, Hannah Arendt and Erich Fromm.

5 likes1 stack add
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The Pearl | John Steinbeck
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The Pearl is a gorgeous novella based on a Mexican folktale about the uneasy discovery of a splendid pearl that unleashes in the hearts of men the ultimate evil: greed. Steinbeck is no doubt one of my favorite writers and I really enjoyed this quick, stunning read.

5 likes1 stack add
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Even though this book‘s length can be daunting, Alan Taylor writes with extreme clarity and a strong narrative flow. He subverts the classic nationalist mythology of the Revolution and presents instead an international framework: one that identifies the Revolution as a civil war in British America, and is part of greater imperial rivalry between Britain, France and Spain for control in the Americas. Essential reading on US history for sure!

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Fascinating read! I learned so much about the Landless Rural Workers Movement (MST) in Brazil and Zapatistas in Mexico. It challenged a lot of my assumptions about land struggles and political organizing more generally, & made me critically reflect on the US Left‘s capacity to learn from, build on and revise our international comrades‘ strategies for our own local, regional and national contexts. Highly recommend!

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Detroit, I Do Mind Dying | Dan Georgakas, Marvin Surkin
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For several years I‘ve known this book to be a classic among the Left; finally reading it was truly a long time coming. DRUM & the League of Revolutionary Black Workers offer so many key lessons for trade unionists and other left activists today. As a UFT member, I‘m intrigued by the parallels between our union & the UAW, and how socialist organizers should engage with both the rank-and-file and the leadership. So glad I finally read it!

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Children of Dune | Frank Herbert
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Finished Children of Dune yesterday! I love the universe Herbert built so I had fun reading it, but ultimately I‘m not sure how I feel about it. I thought it was a better book than Messiah, but also I feel ambivalent about the way it treated many characters (especially The Preacher, IYKYK 👀). Also, it was at times difficult to ascertain characters‘ motives for certain actions, but one may also argue that is half the fun 😅

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A Distant Mirror | Barbara Wertheim Tuchman
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Mehso-so

DONE. This bad boy took me a whole month to finish. Tuchman‘s research is meticulous; I‘m sure sifting through all those primary documents made her head spin, because that‘s how I often felt reading this book! While I learned a LOT about Medieval Europe, it was unnecessarily long and at times repetitive. I mean, most books probably don‘t need to be 600 pages long… 😅 But overall, I enjoyed it. 🌟3.5/5🌟

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Roman Diary | Richard Platt
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Started and finished this book today to prep for reading it next week with the 6th graders! I think it‘s a great classroom resource and will help them really visualize daily life in Ancient Rome.

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“Marx says the revolutions are the locomotive of world history. But perhaps it is quite otherwise. Perhaps revolutions are an attempt by the passengers on this train—namely, the human race—to activate the emergency brake.” -Walter Benjamin

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Overall an interesting book, but my lack of cultural context and the extremely loose narrative style of the interviews made it a bit difficult for me to follow at certain points. Before this book I had read a little about the hukou system and Chinese migrant workers, but never really about the villages they leave behind and the people who stay. Maybe I‘ll check out the companion book, Leaving Liang Village.

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Just finished rereading the first Percy Jackson book! I first read this when I was in 6th or 7th grade, and now I‘m going to read it with my 6th graders for our Ancient Greece unit! It was pretty good and there were a lot of cheesy jokes for the adults that went over my head when I was a kid, lol. The obsession with Western civilization was a little sus though 🥴

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Front Desk | Kelly Yang
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I just read this book on recommendation from one of my 6th graders and I was surprised by how much I enjoyed it! In contrast to The Love and Lies of Rukhsana Ali, which stars a solidly petty bourgeois family, Front Desk details the story of Mia Yang and her parents, recent Chinese immigrants who work at a motel and are being super-exploited by their boss. This book puts working class solidarity front and center ❤️ Sincerely enjoyed reading!

4 likes1 stack add
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I really enjoyed this book by journalist Sarah Jaffe! She obliterates the myth that “if you love what you do you‘ll never work a day in your life” and demonstrates how that myth masks exploitation by the boss. She does a great job of writing clearly and breaking down pretty complex political and economic concepts. I would highly recommend this book to everyone!! 🌟5/5🌟

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Just finished reading this book for my co-teacher‘s book club! Not the biggest YA fan but it was cool to get a glimpse into Bengali culture, especially because I have so many Bangladeshi neighbors. An uplifting story for all teens, but especially teens who are queer, South Asian, Muslim, second-gen diaspora and/or grew up in conservative households.

5 likes1 stack add
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I Married a Communist | Philip Roth
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An indispensable book that makes you want to abandon your own life for the writer‘s life— to study under Phillip Roth personally, so maybe you can absorb through osmosis his precise command over language and absolute rootedness in history. Perhaps my new favorite book of all time. Couldn‘t begin to recommend it enough. 🌟5/5🌟

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This book is a really wonderful introduction to Islam and paired perfectly the VSI on Islamic History. I preferred this one much more, as Perry Anderson (who I admire) & Suleiman Mourad‘s (who I was introduced to via this book) conversation flows exceptionally well and betrays both of their impressive range of scholarship and knowledge. Highly recommend! 🌟5/5🌟

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Day of the Dragon King | Mary Pope Osborne
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Read this on the train for our 6th grade Ancient China unit. Going to read and use the fact tracker too.

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Another really awesome Very Short Introduction that helped deepen & organize my knowledge about Islamic history. What an undertaking to review such an expansive history in less than 150 pages! Some parts were a little wonky (like when he claimed that Western sympathy for the Palestinian cause is *primarily* about it‘s importance to Muslims) but chapters 1 & 2 especially were really key 🔑

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Just discovered the “Very Short Introduction” series the other day at The Strand Bookstore when I stumbled on their current collection and I‘m obsessed! I got this one on Jewish Literature & one on Islamic History that I‘m excited to read too. They have topics on literally everything from science to history to religion to art… I wanna collect them all!!

bibliothecarivs It's a great series! I'm a public librarian and I've added all 600+ VSIs to my library's collection over the last decade. 6mo
breadnroses 600+ 🤯🤯 @bibliothecarivs (edited) 6mo
4 likes2 comments
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Pickpick

Another banger from Hobsbawm. His writing style is so captivating, in large part due to how confident and clever he is. I constantly find myself chuckling at the little quips he sprinkles in. Truly one of the best historians to ever do it 🌟5/5🌟

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Just finished reading this to prep for the next part of our Ancient Egypt sub-unit for my 6th grade Humanities class… it‘s a pretty below-average graphic novel (the pacing is bad, the characters are not memorable, the art looks kinda sloppy) but I‘m pretty sure my kids will like the action and enjoy fact-checking the book 😅

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Can‘t lie, this book was challenging for me at times because I‘m not the most well-versed in cultural/critical theory, but it was very thought-provoking and I enjoyed watching some of the cultural products discussed (ie. Spike Lee‘s Do the Right Thing + MJ‘s “Bad” music video) after reading her essays about them. Also, I thought her last 2 essays on black feminist cultural criticism were particularly brilliant. Glad I finally read this one!

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Braiding Sweetgrass | Robin Wall Kimmerer
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“I envision people recognizing, for perhaps the first time, the dazzling gifts of the world, seeing them with new eyes, just as they teeter of the cusp of undoing. Maybe just in time. Or maybe too late.”

I‘m giving thanks to this book for gifting me new eyes. For renewing me, so that I may take part in the renewal of the world.

PhyllisH One of my favorite books. I‘m glad you liked it.😊 7mo
11 likes1 comment
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Pickpick

This book blew my mind 🤯 It‘s an extremely well-researched and narrative account of the pre-colonial history of the Americas. It illuminates in layman‘s terms the scholarly consensus (and dissenting opinions) on the political, economic & cultural development of Indian societies. All point to the fact were advanced, diverse civilizations in the Americas whose monumental contributions to world heritage should be acknowledged & celebrated. 🌟 5/5🌟

SRWCF Sounds interesting! 7mo
5 likes1 comment
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Their Eyes Were Watching God | Zora Neale Hurston
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First book of 2022! 😁 I never read this book in high school or college and didn‘t know what to expect, but I really loved this book. Zora Neale Hurston is truly one of our finest writers. I also enjoyed Edwidge Danticat‘s thoughtful foreword, which situated Zora/Janie with her daughters, among whom include Alice Walker/Celie and Toni Morrison/Sethe. Definitely could see the inspiration for The Color Purple while reading!!

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Amiable with Big Teeth | Claude McKay
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Last book of 2021! A historical fiction novel about Communists sabotaging Afro-American solidarity efforts with Ethiopia against the Italian invasion. McKay, who was a Caribbean American radical (who helped the Comintern formulate their line on the “Negro Question” in the United States) offers a penetrating and sadly still relevant critique of Stalinism and white chauvinism on the Left. Really interesting book!

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Pickpick

Every American and Brit needs to read this book to uncover the truth about the US & UK‘s leading role in the destruction of Afghanistan. So much blood on the hands of every Anglo administration in the last 40 years. The US has been at war my whole life and this book really showed me the lengths gone by the people in power to prevent mass opposition to the war by obscuring the basic facts about it. Essential reading🌟5/5🌟

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Dune Messiah | Frank Herbert
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I wanted to like it more than I did, but oh well. It was fine, but I don‘t think anything can compare to the mystery and grandeur of the first book and the social ecology that grounds it. Maybe I‘ll read the 3rd book in time but I‘m not in any rush…

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No wonder Mike Davis said this book “pole-axed” him when the citations include (but are not limited to) himself, Jairus Banaji, Louis Althusser, Eric Hobsbawm, Susan Buck-Morss, Antonio Gramsci, CLR James, Robert Brenner, Ellen Meiksins Wood, Murray Bookchin, Walter Benjamin, György Lúkacs, Hal Draper, Erik Olin Wright, Samir Amin, Imannuel Wallerstein, Jürgen Habermas, Giovanni Arrighi, Max Weber and of course, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels…

3 likes1 stack add
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Little White Duck: A Childhood in China | Andrs Vera Martnez, Na Liu
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Just finished this book with some of my 7th graders! It‘s been really interesting to see their ideas and opinions without really much background information or preconceived notions (good or bad) about China and/or communism. While my other kids finish When Stars Are Scattered, I‘m gonna give them articles/videos to watch on Chinese socialism and then have them reread certain chapters to see if having more context changes their thinking 😝

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Dune | Frank Herbert
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“Religion often partakes of the myth of progress that shields us from the terrors of an uncertain future.” —Muad‘Dib

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Pickpick

What a book!! Hobsbawm definitely lived up to his reputation. Just phenomenal historical research & writing. He paints such a vivid and comprehensive picture of the period 1789-1848, and very clearly demonstrates the materialist basis for quite literally everything. I need to read the The Age of Capital, The Age of Empire and The Age of Extremes ASAP!! 🌟5/5🌟

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When Stars Are Scattered | Victoria Jamieson
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Just finished this book! I‘ve been planning to teach it since the beginning of the school year so I‘m super excited to start TODAY w/ my 7th graders ☀️When Stars Are Scattered is a touching, intimidate graphic semi-autobiography of Omar Mohamed, a Somali refugee who grew up in Dadaab camp in Kenya (fun fact: the same camp Rep. Ilhan Omar grew up in!) Beautiful, heartwarming and relatable, this book is perfect for all readers middle grades and up!!

Emilymdxn This sounds like a perfect book to study in school!! Gorgeous cover too 9mo
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Although I initially got this book thinking that I could teach it in my Graphic Literature class, upon reading, I‘ve determined it‘s too advanced for 7th grade…That being said, it‘s PHENOMENAL. I love a good non-fiction graphic novel, and the dual temporality of Hall‘s narration and Martínez‘s illustration is so unique and perfectly communicates visually how Hall is (or rather, we all are) haunted by slavery. I cannot recommend this book enough!

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This book was okay… I had no idea about the Florida land boom of the 1920s and learned a lot about Florida‘s economic and social history, but Knowlton focuses too much on the personal lives and drama of superrich real estate developers for my liking.

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Wonder | R. J. Palacio
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My 6th graders and I finished reading Wonder this week! I was honestly skeptical when I found out we were going to be reading it because I saw the movie which I thought was a one-dimensional feel-good story… but I ended up sincerely enjoying reading it w/ my students. I loved seeing them share their thoughts about & make connections w/ the book! It truly feels like we‘ve been on a journey together these past 8 weeks 🥺

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Palestine: A Four-Thousand-Year History | Nur Masalha, Nur Masahla
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An extremely ambitious project…I learned so much about the Bronze Age, Classical and Late Antiquity and Medieval Age in Palestine and in general! Can‘t lie, I hope it can go back to a copy editor and get a second edition because there were quite a few typos and formatting inconsistencies 😭 But at the end of the day, Masalha‘s research is really groundbreaking and I‘m glad I finally got to read this book which has been on my list forever!

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Snapdragon | Kat Leyh
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Pickpick

Actually finished this several weeks ago but I‘ve been reading this graphic novel with my 7th graders in my graphic literature class! It‘s super colorful & cute (the art style is very reminiscent of Steven Universe) with plenty of mystery and magic. This book has multiple queer & trans characters and discusses self-love and acceptance in a way that I think all middle schoolers can find relatable. Highly recommend for readers of all ages!! ⭐️5/5⭐️

5 likes1 stack add
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This took me forever to read, but I‘m glad I pushed through because it is such an important text and Robinson is so clearly a genius historian and political scientist. It definitely made me rethink a lot about how I move in this world personally and especially politically, and what it truly means to be an accomplice and comrade in the struggle for Black liberation. A must-read for all radicals.

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A very provocative book… while I agree with Ranciere‘s fundamental argument about all people having equal intelligence which is represented in all human work(s), I‘m not convinced that the universal method is worth much if its ideal practice is within the family, let alone that the family is not a societal institution like any other. Overall I appreciate the way this text challenged me intellectually and pedagogically 😅

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Before I started reading this book, I had no idea it was a memoir! A really gripping perspective on Algerian Reconstruction and the International Section of the Black Panther Party by an American interpreter for the Algerian government and the BPP. Because she is a Jewish internationalist, I, of course, feel an affinity towards her and I am grateful to have learned about her small but important role in the anti-colonial struggle.

5 likes1 stack add
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This book was a narrative and overall insightful introduction to the life and legacy of Crazy Horse. I believe the author has a true admiration and deep respect for Crazy Horse and Indigenous peoples of North America, and it‘s clear that it was well-researched and written in consultation with many Natives… but I do think it‘s pretty weird that he based a white character based on his own nephew in this (albeit unconventional) biography 😫

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Super interesting book that seriously challenges the mythology of the American West. Tbh I feel like the book is better for someone who has more extensive background knowledge about the West, especially the most famous feuds and vigilantes, because some of those anecdotes kinda went over my head bc I had no frame of reference. Also, really bummed that my book got rained on while at work bc it really ruined the book jacket. 😓

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My mom bought me this book, along with 3 others on Long Island in the Revolutionary era, in anticipation of her upcoming visit; I‘m going to be her +1 for her high school reunion in Stonybrook, Long Island. I‘m sorry to say it was one of the worst books I‘ve ever read! Very shallow and boring. Sorry mom!

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Pickpick

Always a relevant read, but it feels especially so considering the current moment with the assassination of Moïse in Haiti and calls for regime change in Cuba. Something I appreciate about Grandin is that, in this book and The End of the Myth, he really makes clear how interconnected and inseparable the history of the US is from the history of all the Americas. ? 4.5/5 ?

BookishMarginalia Sounds good. #stacked! 13mo
6 likes2 stack adds1 comment
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Invisible Man | Ralph Ellison
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super psychedelic, really enjoyed it and definitely have to reflect on it 👍

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Pickpick

I am so grateful that the Afro-Cuban story has been preserved so that I could learn about their important, bittersweet legacy in Tampa history. I visited the Martí-Maceo building a few weeks ago & it‘s amazing how many people have struggled to preserve the building & continue the society in the face of racist Urban Renewal and gentrification. ⭐️ 4/5 ⭐️

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The Grapes of Wrath | John Steinbeck
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“And the great owners, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history & to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen & knit the repressed.”

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“Hegel remarks somewhere that all great world-historic facts and personages appear, so to speak, twice. He forgot to add: the first time as tragedy, the second time as farce...Men make their own history, but they do not make it as they please; they do not make it under self-selected circumstances, but under circumstances existing already, given and transmitted from the past.”

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“The working class did not expect miracles from the Commune. They have no ready-made utopias to introduce par décret du peuple. They know that in order to work out their own emancipation ... they will have to pass through long struggles ... transforming circumstances and men. They have no ideals to realize, but to set free the elements of the new society with which old collapsing bourgeois society itself is pregnant.”