book reports
MAY 2017


Manuele Fiore

Jordan Shively has been posting pictures of everything he's been reading this year, and that's where I heard about this. I liked the art a lot: watercolor comix with different colortones for different countries, and the story was pretty good. It made me want to go to Egypt and it made me sad about love and friendship and about living in other countries. Gonna look for more books by Manuele Fior.



Peter Bagge

Lauren insisted on giving this and several other comix to me a few months ago when Daniel insisted that I go to Frank and Lauren's party. I had fun at the party! I had fun reading this book! Before reading it I didn't know anything about Margaret Sanger except that she started Planned Parenthood and so lots of people like her and lots of people hate her. Well now I know several things about her: She was a brilliant and hilarious provocateur! She was hugely influential in normalizing the use of contraceptives but strongly opposed abortion! She had an affair with H.G. Wells! She held seances with the Rosicrucians to talk to her dead daughter! Based on some of his notes at the end, I'm not sure that I like Peter Bagge very much as a person, but I did like this book that he made. Thanks Lauren!


Nawal El Saadawi

Back in January I was in the Egyptian literature section at the MSU library looking for some novel that I couldn't find, but I found this instead. I haven't read many (maybe any?) nonfiction books by Muslim women or former Muslim women, and I had never heard of Nawal, but apparently she's a fairly well-known Egyptian feminist. She was born in 1931 and writes about her experiences growing up in a village and her path to becoming a doctor and writer. Some episodes of her early life were pretty harrowing, and those of her mother and grandmother were even more disturbing, but there are also lots of lovely scenes and memories here, and I enjoyed reading this quite a bit. I'll probably read more of her nonfiction soon and maybe some of her novels.



Phyllis Tickle

I had heard this book mentioned on a podcast quite a while ago, and then found it on my grampa's bookshelf when I was visiting my grandma. Its basic premise is that every 500 years christianity undergoes a massive change and restructuring, and is currently experiencing one of those transitions. Phyllis says that historically the change has always been based on a shift in understanding of where religious authority is located - from the Roman empire to monks, from monks to the bible, and now from the bible to the holy spirit. The idea is cool and seems fairly plausible, but the book doesn't go into much depth about what this means or looks like, or what implications it might have for the future of christianity.

I stayed up late finishing this one Saturday night, and was mildly disappointed by the book but I sat around having my own thoughts for a while, and went to bed feeling optimistic and confident that the amerikan relijun that calls itself christianity but is hopelessly entangled with nationalism and capitalism and militarism is in its death throes and will be gone within a generation or two, replaced by something more like Jesus.

Anyway now I'm at a coffeeshop trying to write and people in self-aware shoes and hats have crowded around me to do a photo shoot for some church. Teenagers are being instructed to touch each others shoulders and cradle skateboards in their arms. Time for me to get outta here.



other books I read this month:
BIG KIDS - Michael DeForge
SAGA VOL. 7 - Fiona Staples & Brian K. Vaughan
SAINT COLE - Noah van Sciver
MY BROTHER'S HUSBAND VOL. 1 - Gengoroh Tagame