Less false realism
— Seth Godin, More and Less
Friendly reminders as we move forward in the new year, as we usher in a new era of reality across the political and social spectrum. In just a few days, the “orange bloviator” as Zadie Smith referred to him will attempt to further plunge this country into an even more damning abyss of racism, fascism, imperialism.
I’ve been finding solace in so many things: this 2017 Plan of Resistance from the Transgender Law Center, small acts of resistance like The Booksmith‘s response to the alt-right bigot Milo Y’s 250k book deal and of course, infinite joy from book lists from The Millions, Vulture and Kirkus Reviews.
A book I’ve seen on many 2017 lists is Viet Thanh Nguyen’s The Refugees, a collection of short stories from the famed The Sympathizer author. I’m a big fan of his work and I can’t wait for this one!I’ve always been more of a novel/literary fiction fan more than anything but these days, short stories are blowing me away. Mia Alvar is the culprit; her weapon, In the Country: Stories. The last time I enjoyed short stories was with This is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz a couple of years ago, and I’m anticipating even more as Roxane Gay’s Difficult Women collection of stories also just came out. Be still, literary heart, be still.
In a time when most of us — queer, people of color, immigrants — are feeling vulnerable, I always come back to books, among many tools of resistance, to ground me. What are you reading this time around?
To be real, cuddling up with a book is how I’d really like to spend this cuffing season. With so much more titles and best of the year lists coming out, it’s enough to hole yourself up in a cozy cabin with a steaming mug of hot cocoa and the most delicious book you can get your hands on.
Ah, this is the life.
A queer Pinay can dream right?
While I scheme of ways to actually make the above photo a reality for me before the season ends, here are a few notable literary things to tide all of us over:
- Longreads has also compiled their best story picks for the year, which includes a piece on the beloved writer James Baldwin and gentrification in San Francisco. Go through this list propitiously — it definitely isn’t the time for tl;dr.
- If you’re like me, you probably wait for Pamela Paul’s weekly newsletters from The New York Times Book Review to see which books are making waves (or should be making waves), which books are new and notable releases, which books deserve your time and company. I particularly enjoyed reading about Paul’s process of selection as revealed on reddit and compiled by Lithub here: how planning for the best books list starts in January, how it’s an emotional process.
- Lastly, check out the third edition of Nepantla, a journal dedicated to queer poets of color. There is a poem by one of my fave poets — r. erica doyle — in it so don’t miss out on this anthology:
dear trees, please sculpt the byway; dear breeze, whisper a map;
dear magnetic field, make of me a sail in the solar wind,
that I may unwind into the light of my own throat’s longing. (from wander)
I’m currently finishing two books: an advance copy of Han Kang’s Human Acts (to be released in January 2017) and Alain de Botton’s The News: A User’s Manual. I’ve been sick for the past two weeks but I really can’t complain, because laying in bed only means one thing: more time for reading while I’m recuperating.
Also, here’s a preview of next week’s posts on the blog: a lot on classics, like Gabriel García Márquez and Kahlil Gibran. Going back to the classics may be a theme next year, as you can never learn enough from past literary greats.
“Life is too short to read a bad book.”