Friday, December 18, 2015

A Year In Literature

So here's a nice and safe little blog which is guaranteed not to upset some of the anonymous little shits who unliked me simply because of my last two blogs (which I figured weren't really that controversial, but apparently I was wrong). 

With twenty-fifteen coming to its conclusion I thought I'd jot down the titles of all that I've read this year with a mini-review. I really went for quantity over quality this, as most of the books I read, while good, weren't too impressive. Still, there were a few gems and so without further ado, I present to you:

A YEAR IN LITERATURE

The Sex Lives of Siamese Twins, Irvine Welsh: Almost amazing. The ending was weak but leading up to it was a hilarious and vulgar romp.

Junkie, William S. Burroughs: Love me some junkie literature. 

The Scarlet Gospels, Clive Barker: While not amazingly written it remains in the top three novels I read this year. Pinhead v Harry D'Amour. What more do you need? Besides Abarat IV...

Luther: The Calling, Neil Cross: Were I not such a huge fan of BBC's Luther I probably wouldn't have read this, but I'm glad I did and will probably start to follow Cross in the future.

Black Chalk, Christopher J. Yates: My favorite second this year and hands down one of the few books I wish I had written. It was a delightful mystery that unfolded so perfectly it was impossible to set down.

Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki, Haruki Murakami: Meh.

Mr. Mercedes, Stephen King: 400 page incest joke.

Let's Explore Diabetes With Owls, David Sedaris: Sedaris is my spirit animal, but this is not his best. 

Chew: Chicken Tenders/ Blood Puddin': Chew is hands down one of the greatest comics to have ever been written and I love this series so hard.

The Killing Lessons, Saul Black (Glen Duncan): Glen Duncan is one of my favorite authors, and I think it's cool that he attempted a thriller, but I do miss the true to form, non-commercial Glen Duncan.

The Fountain, Darren Aronofsky: My brother picked up the graphic novel of the Aronofsky's most underrated film and I found this to be just as incredible as the movie.

Fabels: Legends in Exile/ Animal Farm: I started reading the Fabel series after getting a massive gaming hardon for The Wolf Among Us. The comics are fun but TellTale has 'em beat. I preferred the interactive setting of the game to the comics.

Dark Places, Gillian Flynn: Difficult in the middle with an awful twist, but I still enjoyed it. No Sharp Objects though.

The Grownup, Gillian Flynn: Awful twist ending to an otherwise perfect short story. I kind of wish Flynn didn't run with twists and kept the plot straightforward. She has no problem locking a reader in so twists kind of stump the flow of it.

The Sunset Limited, Cormac McCarthy: Perfection. Just as amazing as the first time I read it.

Queer, William S. Burroughs: It's no Junkie, which is maybe why I wasn't feeling it. Very bland.

Never Come Morning, Nelson Algren: This wins my favorite for the year and wraps up the year in literature for me. I so badly wished I could write this novel, but there's no imitating Algren's voice or style, as much as I wanted to. It's a love story and so heartbreaking that I tossed the book after finishing it, I was crushed so badly. I have some of Algren's other work on my shelves and I am beyond excited to read them. Hemingway was right. Don't read him if you can't take a punch.

East of West: Vol. 1: My brother randomly gave this to me and I'm officially hooked. This series will replace what I have lost with Chew when it ends next year. 

DIVORCED BOOKS: 

These are the books I started or had been trying to finish and just said fuck it to because there was no hope or point in even trying.

Purity, Jonathan Franzen: I so badly want to like Franzen  because he's a great writer. But he writes such awful fucking books that I just can't. Once the lead male went down on the lead female and used that as a blackmailing secret to match the one he gave her, which was him committing a murder, I put it on my shelf with Freedom and The Corrections and decided Franzen can get fucked.

The Heart Goes Last, Margaret Atwood: The ending that I was so afraid of and yet wanted so badly turned out to be a fake out plot point in the middle of the book and I walked away. I was so mad. The Handmaid's Tale this is not.

1Q84, Haruki Murakami: Murakami wrote two of my all time favorite novels (The Wind-up Bird Chronicles and Hardboiled Wonderland and The End of the Word) but for some reason everything else I've tried of his is just one massive let down. 1Q84 is a fine example of a long novel that should have been 500 pages shorter. I would probably have loved this book if it didn't drag to the point where I didn't give a shit and was not going to go through 300 more pages of characters sitting around.









Saturday, December 5, 2015

White Pride is Racist, But It's Also Kinda Not...



Last night I was scrolling through Bookface and I came across this delightful little cartoon:



#ButtHurtWhitePeople

I read this and my immediate thought was, "Awww... they want to be the victim. Cute!" And then it got me thinking about how this is rather common concern among certain Caucasian United States citizens, and that they truly believe they are some sort of victim of the reverse racism myth when it comes to pride in who they are. 

And I started to wonder about why that is? Why do some consider it racist to be a proud white person? Well, the answer I decided on kind of sits on the fence. It is and it isn't, it just depends on the language you use.

Let's be honest and realistic, "white pride" is associated with "white power" which the basic chant of racism. That's just how the term is used. Google the term "white pride" if you'd like. There's a fiar bit of controversy. Then google Scottish pride. Then British pride. Then Irish Pride. Then German Pride. The first photos and memes and articles that you come across are not centered around race (although I did see one German article on how it's becoming less awkward to have pride in your German heritage). 

I think the basic misunderstanding of the grouchy men and women who feel they are being persecuted for their white pride is that they're not paying attention to how they're communicating they're pride. I know quite a few white people, myself half-included (cause, you know, the whole half Mexican/ half European thing) who are more than happy to share their pride in the cultures they come from. But they're specific. "White pride" is an offensive term and that simply needs to be respected. But when the conversation turns to specifics and you're not generalizing with "White" then the offensive nature is removed from the context.

And this isn't about political correctness, which is something I find to be ridiculous and stupid and the wet dream of some sad group of people who think a personal philosophy should be social law and all naysayers exiled. It's about respect. It's about the simple idea of not being a dick. It's about being empathetic with the feelings and attitudes of entire cultures that have been shit on for way too long for the simple crime of not being pale enough to blend in white snow. 

At least, these are just my thoughts. Perhaps this conversation in our culture can be fixed if we work on the way we're communicating our cultural pride.