Archive for December, 2015

December 20, 2015

Of Interest (20 December, 2015)

Unsorted and not that plentiful this week:

I’m not on Metafilter and so missed the extended discussion around emotional labour, that was set off by an article by Jess Zimmerman. It has now been condensed and compiled into a shareable document by Olivia K. Lima and Timid Robot Zehta and it’s quite spectacular. Via Lili Loofbourow.

This essay by Agri Ismail (via, it seems, half the internet) is stunning and probably the best thing you will read on this list (or anywhere) this week, even though the list contains several very good things.

This despite the fact that this was a week when we had a new Rebecca Solnit piece and it was very good.

“She had always wriggled against the restrictions of becoming good copy.” Nisha Susan on Josephine Tey and Elena Ferrante and literary romance.

Desiree Lewis on student activism in postcolonial Africa. Great for several reasons, not least for introducing me to the word “cyberpessimist”. Via Keguro Macharia.

Aman Sethi on the Vyapam scam.

Lots of complex, easily bruised feelings about this essay by Arabelle Sicardi. Beauty is Broken. Via Anannya Baruah.

Via Supriya Nair,  this story (by Jonathan Selvaraj) about Divya Kakran, a seventeen year old girl wrestling in the dangals.

Here are Silvia Boarini’s pictures of al-Araqib, a village demolished over and over again by Israel over the past few years.

Supriya Nair on India’s year of “dead and devastated journalists” in the Caravan, here.

Anita Roy on whales, which are magical. For Kate and Marie, and probably everyone else.

I think Hilda is lovely.



December 13, 2015

Of Interest (13 December, 2015)

Assorted, after a couple of weeks of silence:

Rebecca Solnit in the Guardian, on the links between oil and everything else that is wrong. Via Kate Schapira, as many of these links probably are.

Angelica Jade Bastién’s series on the feminine grotesque and madness is great–here’s the introductory post. Via Sofia Samatar.

Pankaj Mishra on responses to terrorism in the West.

Victoria Best’s interview with Gabriel Josipovici, here, is honestly one of the best I’ve ever read. There’s so much here–I’ve read through it a few times now and I’ll want to keep going back to it. Via Ethan Robinson, who loves it even more than I do.

Evan Calder Williams on crises and Chris Chitty and related important things.

Mihir Sharma on Delhi’s murderous air and class (“Only the Indian elite would rather not breathe than be ordinary”). The Ladies Finger’s collection of despatches on Delhi, air and class–I think this is a fantastic structure for a layered understanding of shifts in living in a city in crisis, except that by its very nature, venue and other factors this discussion of class is, so far, entirely among people who can, as Padmaparna Ghosh does in her section, speak of a “we” and an “our class”.

On a ‘new’ W.E.B. Du Bois story from over a century ago.

Rohin Guha on Alisha Chinai’s Madonna covers and reparations. I have mixed feelings about this piece–I also grew up in the nineties with a fraught relationship to both my cultures (which is to massively oversimplify) and I don’t recognise the traumatised, healing Indians that Guha sees– but that readers of the Toast have now possibly discovered the “Made in India” video is surely important in itself. (Someday I am going to write about that video and the existence of an early 90s Indian epic fantasy aesthetic, but that day is not today.)

Jane Hu on Eve and Hal Sedgwick’s relationship made me a bit teary.

Biographical criticism really doesn’t interest me, and nor does the sort of reading of a book that feels like it’s shutting it down rather than opening it up, and yet Sady Doyle has decided Frankenstein is about Mary Shelley’s sister and … it’s pretty convincing? I link to it knowing that Ethan (hi Ethan) will hate it.

Kuzhali Manickavel and Minal Hajratwala watch the first episode of Sense8. I have not yet watched (may never watch) this show, yet for months the spectacle of Indians watching what can only be described as The Ganesha Episode has afforded me quantities of entertainment.

Here is Erin Horakova being brilliant and incisive and funny on the subject of Over the Garden Wall and its critical reception.

Here is an interview with Nalo Hopkinson in which she talks about her most recent collection, how her writing has changed over time, teaching, and a bunch of other things.

Kate Schapira on snails in Cape Cod Bay and other things (like change and loss and family and love).

Ravish Kumar on The Intolerance Debate is searing and brilliant. (In Hindi, so those of you who don’t understand will just have to miss out on a very good thing.) Via several people, all about as thrilled with it as me.

Who is the Smart City for? asks Stephen Assink, and he cites (though he links to the wrong piece, alas) this piece about India’s smart city ambitions from a few months ago by Shruti Ravindran. (Link to Assink via Subashini Navaratnam.)

Supriya Nair is typically wonderful on M. S. Dhoni’s stardom.

This collaboration theorizing black and indigenous relationships to land is amazing–the piece I link to here (via Kate again) is by Eve Tuck, Allison Guess and Hannah Sultan, but you’ll want to read all the links as well.

December 5, 2015

November Reading

Plus the previous month’s  list of stuff I was reading slowly, with a couple of new things added to it.


Claudia Rankine, Citizen: I’d been reading this on and off for months as an ebook, and it was as good as everyone said (which is spectacularly good); and then I saw the paperback and there is something about the quality of the paper and obviously I had to read it all and it’s glorious.

JiHyeon Lee, Pool: Reviewed here; and beautiful.

Dale Jamieson and Bonnie Nadzam, Love in the Anthropocene: I’m … not sure yet what to make of this; I’m underwhelmed; and the book’s foreword and afterword both suggest I’m doing it an injustice. I need more time.

Monica Byrne, The Girl in the Road: A reread, for a Strange Horizons book club which you can find here. On a second read I find I’m still a fan of the sheer energy of the book as well as the refreshing, relatable dickishness of Meena. I also find myself a little more sceptical of things that said energy had previously encouraged me to ignore. The book club was great fun, as ever; and addressed a few questions I don’t see addressed often enough regarding the role of non-white/western critics. I wish we’d had time to get into the gender politics of the book (and particularly the depiction of the one trans character, as I have … reservations) , so I’m hoping someone asks a question in the comments to allow us to get into it.

Ernest Hemingway, Fiesta/The Sun Also Rises: This was work, does work count? It is about dicks and animal cruelty and sads; but I like it better than other Hemingway things.

Daljit Nagra, Tippoo Sultan’s Incredible White Man-Eating Tiger Toy-Machine!!!: Obviously my choice to read this was a politically motivated one. I did write a positively unhinged thing about the machine in question and Tipu Sultan’s legacy, and why the Kohinoor diamond is the Elder Wand and why we should send the royal family into space, but I’m not sure the world is ready for it.

Maria Negroni, Dark Museum: There are short stories that are longer than this book; it’s practically a pamphlet. And yet it’s rich and dense and I am the second owner of this copy (a reviewer we sent it to said she couldn’t take it on at the moment so I’m having a go) and between us we’ve practically underlined and annotated the whole thing.

Joy Chant, Red Moon and Black Mountain: I read this because it’s a British portal fantasy published during the period in which I am academically interested; and also because Erin has spoken well of it. I think it may require a separate post. I don’t know that I can include in my actual thesis, which is very focused (for good reason) on the British children’s fantasy canon–this book has rather faded from memory and I’m not even sure it’s children’s literature, though I could make a decent argument for it. But it’s fascinating; plus I sometimes forget how much I enjoy a certain sort of high fantasy and this was certainly of that sort. .