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spoko

spoko

Currently reading

The Oligarchs: Wealth and Power in the New Russia
David E. Hoffman
The Master and Margarita
Mikhail Bulgakov, Diana Burgin, Katherine Tiernan O'Connor
Nonviolent Communication: A Language of Life
Arun Gandhi, Marshall B. Rosenberg
Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy
Eric Metaxas, Timothy Keller
Parting the Waters: Martin Luther King and the Civil Rights Movement 1954-63
Taylor Branch
The Path to Power
Robert A. Caro
The Nature of Nebraska: Ecology and Biodiversity
Paul A. Johnsgard
Thelonious Monk: The Life and Times of an American Original
Robin D.G. Kelley
Cutting for Stone
Abraham Verghese
A Small Place - Jamaica Kincaid

Jamaica Kincaid is pissed. Also: Jamaica Kincaid can write. It's a potent combination, and in such a small book it packs an awful lot of power. The first chapter, especially, is really a stunning read. She pulls no punches, and she's talking to you. Assuming you are or ever have been a tourist, especially:

An ugly thing, that is what you are when you become a tourist, an ugly, empty thing, a stupid thing, a piece of rubbish pausing here and there to gaze at this and taste that, and it will never occur to you that the people who inhabit the place in which you have just paused cannot stand you, that behind their closed doors they laugh at your strangeness (you do not look the way they look); the physical sight of you does not please them; you have bad manners (it is their custom to eat their food with their hands; you try eating their way, you look silly; you try eating the way you always eat, you look silly); they do not like the way you speak (you have an accent); they collapse helpless from laughter, mimicking the way they imagine you must look as you carry out some everyday bodily function. They do not like you.


So there.

The whole thing isn't written like that, and fortunately the whole thing isn't just a diatribe against . . . well, you. But those are the best parts. The best written and the most powerful. This is the first thing I've read from her, and in a way she reminds me of one of my favorite writers, bell hooks. I'll probably check out either Lucy or Autobiography of My Mother at some point.