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masofia

masofia

Joined December 2018

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Jazz by Toni Morrison
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How to Be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi
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masofia
This is Paradise: Stories | Kristiana Kahakauwila
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This is a great collection of short stories. The native Hawaiian perspective offers a great intimacy with her subjects, Hawaiian or non alike. Some stories are haunting and others are inspiring. Having a familiarity with the islands and the different settings also enhances the stories.

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masofia
No Name in the Street | James Baldwin
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No Name in the Street is an absolutely essential book. At times, it‘s a very personal account of the civil rights era and the emotional effect it had on James Baldwin. It also sheds light on greater truths about American society that everyone should hear. This is a great book to read with The Fire Next Time. It is full of sharp insights and incredible writing.

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masofia
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Mehso-so

There are some helpful tips and methods, but the narrative struggles between a guide book and reference book. It‘s very repetitive, only occasionally on purpose, and every explanation of ‘why‘ boils down to ‘because I‘ve done this a lot‘. Which is fine, but also somewhat hollow after a while. Lastly, mom reader assumption is especially irritating. She acknowledges this problem, but clearly can‘t be bothered to edit it out in subsequent editions.

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masofia
Florida | Lauren Groff
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Florida is perfectly captured by both the physical settings of these stories and the emotional baggage of the characters trying to live within them or escape them. These very personal, character driven stories read like confessions or self discovery narratives. I‘m sure those of us who grew up in Florida have a different experience with this book than those who did not.

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There There: A novel | Tommy Orange
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This is incredibly relevant and timely, and also a lesson in history. The Native American experience in this book is richly detailed and nuanced in a contemporary, city context. There are many flawed people in this story, but American societal harms and intergenerational trauma are the central antagonists. This book brought so many moving parts together so well.

15 likes2 stack adds
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masofia
Tar Baby | Toni Morrison
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Tar Baby is a beautifully written story of two people falling in love who want to have more in common than they really do. As two young beautiful people searching for comfort, they‘re propelled together by unusual circumstances. Toni Morrison‘s incredible sentences and imagery are the stars of the novel, and it is fun to see her make sentences work in artful ways you never expected! This was a very enjoyable read.

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masofia
Dealing in Dreams | Lilliam Rivera
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Enjoyed this YA novel, particularly the theme that even when one excels within a system of oppression, their success is precarious and they don‘t actually benefit like they want to think they do. Occasionally it‘s hard to see her willfully ignoring the signs of trouble, but that‘s a realistic response to evidence that challenges an established world view.

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masofia
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Sister Outsider is a timeless collection of essays/speeches. It is a good introduction to Audre Lorde‘s non-poetry work and shows how foundational she is for modern activists that are artists. Her writing remains fresh and relevant for current readers almost 40 years after it was written.

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Thick: And Other Essays | Tressie McMillan Cottom
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Thick is an excellent series of personal essays. Dr McMillan Cottom‘s writing style is accesible, clear, and funny. Each essay is an informative, quick, and gripping read.

SW-T A belated welcome to Litsy 🙂 5mo
5 likes1 comment
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masofia
Handmaid's Tale | Margaret Atwood
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I love the show, and I really enjoyed the different directions the book takes compared to the show. It‘s a much more personal and emotionally complex story, and it doesn‘t rely on narrative momentum propelling June on a hero‘s journey. In this way June‘s place in the world feels even more precarious. Incredibly prescient for 1985, it still feels fresh and relevant. I wonder what the sequel will have to say about our future now.

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American War | Omar El Akkad
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American War offers a character driven plot that explores revolution, displacement, and the impending climate disaster. The rural southern setting evokes a place that is distant and cruel but familiar. It‘s a great book for exploring the traumatic effects of state sanctioned violence. I did want more exploration of the necessarily problematic racial politics of a “Free Southern State” though. Also this would complement Exit West very well.

5 likes1 stack add
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masofia
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This collection has incredible range. There‘s nonfiction, autobiography, alien invasions, medical misadventures, man made plagues, and post-apocalyptic madness. Each story somehow creates entire worlds with details and mythology, and you buy into this collective knowledge even within a few pages. The stories are pretty short, but somehow the totally perfect length. Great for a quick read.

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masofia
The Lathe Of Heaven: A Novel | Ursula K. Le Guin
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Mind bending! The way Le Guin shifts the “reality” of the narrative as Orr dreams. It‘s disorienting and thrilling. Kind of fun as you catch yourself thinking, “Wait. That‘s not what his office was like two pages ago.” Living in Portland and looking at Mt. Hood also makes it doubly fun to read.

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An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
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I loved this book‘s complex characters, slow burning build up and explosive conflict. You want each person to live their fullest life and be fulfilled, but this seems impossible and that tension propels the narrative. Common, systematic injustice is at the heart of the conflict and ensures early on that our protagonists will not have perfect endings, but they do their best to build their lives in spite of it.

2 likes1 stack add
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masofia
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This is another masterful book by Hanif Abdurraqib. He weaves narratives about the 80s/90s politics, emerging rap culture, and personal stories of growing up, through the rise and fall (and rise again) of A Tribe Called Quest. His writing is atmospheric and reads like a poem. He communicates feelings so clearly that just reading the words conjures that feeling in you.

2 likes1 stack add
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masofia
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This is an incredible account of Kiese Laymon‘s life and the amazing amount of adversity that he‘s experienced. There are so many layers to the interpersonal conflicts, personal insecurities, and societal commentaries. It‘s riveting and difficult to witness.

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masofia
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This book is an intimate account of a woman trying her best to understand what it means to live with schizoaffective disorder. She very effectively brings you into her perspective as she shares stories of her prior involuntary admissions and delusions. Very important reading for anyone working with people with mental illness.

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masofia
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This engaging historical narrative is mind blowing in its scale and relevance. The magnitude of racist ideas underlying things white Americans take for granted is incredible. This book is an absolute must read. You know almost every person mentioned in the book, and now you can hear the racist ideas almost every single one took as fact. The “intellectual” heritage of modern racist ideas has never been clearer.

3 likes1 stack add
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masofia
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This collection of speculative fiction offers a vivid window into the present fears and insecurities of marginalized people in the United States. The stories have great range from hilarious to disturbing, fantastical to realistic. Every one is very relevant and will have remain evocative for a long time.

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masofia
Where the Line Bleeds | Jesmyn Ward
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Like a twin study in medicine serves to highlight the role of genetics in outcomes, this story shows the twins aren‘t predetermined to the same adult life. The seemingly minor differences in their relationships and experiences start them down different paths even in the first few months of adulthood. This is an intimate story told in the details and routine of their lives as emerging adults.

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Underground | Haruki Murakami
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An intimate portrayal of the collective trauma from the Tokyo subway has attack. The ordinary citizens bound together by fate share their experiences. This is juxtaposed by Murakami‘s interviews with people affiliated with the perpetrators. What structural forces lead people who feel marginalized to commit horrible crimes? And what does it reveal about us that we also operate within that same structure? Definitely applies beyond Japan.

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Paradise | Toni Morrison
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An intergenerational drama that is artful and haunting. This story of an isolated patriarchal town shows how, despite noble goals, patriarchy, capitalism, and colorism are the mechanisms of our own societal demise. Even the structure of the novel and its fluid handling of time feels poetic.

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masofia
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Beautifully written science fiction with a great range of stories and concepts. Chiang creates tech or scientific scenarios that are just plausible enough, arranges them perfectly, and allows the right amount of negative space between them for your imagination to feel the awe and wonder. Story of Your Life, Understand, Divison by Zero, and Hell is the Absence of God are total knock outs.

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masofia
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This memoir largely reflects on Juan Vidal‘s own tumultuous childhood and then builds to his later role as a father. It‘s a great first person account of how hip hop, skateboarding, and literature helped a young man make sense of his life and purpose. It helps the reader see the agency that young men in hard circumstances have and how disingenuous an over simplified view of their identity really is. A truly inspiring life story.

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masofia
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An informative and heartbreaking account of the personal impact of Chicago public school closures. Placing these closures in historical context and reading exactly worded releases by CPS, you can‘t help but feel the frustrations of the parents, children and community. The actions of CPS showed they had no interest in truly engaging their constituents. Really helped me think about how I judge school quality for my family.

2 likes1 stack add
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masofia
Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
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An epic that spans decades and is full of well developed, mostly endearing characters. The sweet love story of Ifemelu and Obinze frames their experiences as immigrants in the US and England. It helps the reader feel the pull of home that both characters ultimately feel.

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masofia
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Wonderfully melancholy tone with a good mix of hope and optimism. Phoebe‘s descent into a cult seems to mirror Will‘s transition into a lifestyle of drinking, fraternity life, and a career in finance. He clearly perceives her changes, but seems almost blind to his own. Even though both lose their way from where they started you have hope that their positive underlying traits will win out.

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masofia
Song of Solomon | Toni Morrison
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A stunning narrative with characters that are completely realized. Thought provoking and challenging, it is a great book for those considering their place in a family or their family‘s place in history.

2 likes1 stack add