well, and so (bukes)

Joining the 50 Books by People of Color community on LJ was an excellent and mind-opening experience for me, but it mopped up a lot of book review energy that would otherwise have been squirted out here. I’ve fallen off the POC horse but it’s been remarkable, in the last few weeks, just how rarely I read books by straight white men: if my authors aren’t POC, or women, or gay, they’re nearly always writing about women or gay men. (Or, *cough* horses. Hey, look over there! ->)

Case in point: Nigel Nicolson’s book about his mother, Vita Sackville-West, and her affair with Violet Trefusis. The account of their six weeks in Paris is so painful to read now: Vita’s innocent pleasure in passing as a man, Harold and Denys’s swashbuckling flight to Amiens to rescue their wives from each other. It is impossible, at this distance, to comprehend fully why the menfolk couldn’t just leave the lovers alone. The thought that only eighty – hell, only fifty years later, Violet and Vita would have gone _unremarked_; that Del Martin would be born three months later and would eventually _marry_ her beloved Phyllis Lyon – well, let’s just say it’s a good argument for inventing time machines, and an even better argument for not being a judgmental bigot. What kind of person opposes love? It’s not like there’s too much of it!

What else? Bill Steinkraus’s Reflections on Riding and Jumping may be one of the best things ever written about horses. Susan Nusser’s In Service To The Horse captures something of how fragile and amazing horses are, not to mention their grooms. Carrie Tiffany’s Everyman’s Rules for Scientific Living gave off an Australian Royal Ag Show, CSIRO vibe that rang profoundly true. Jeremy was less impressed, but I thought Shelter, about an artificially intelligent house on the Filbert Stairs in a near-future San Francisco, was one of the best science fiction books I’ve read all year. So was China Mountain Zhang, which I read immediately after. Both took my own obsessive preoccupations – working and raising children – and treated them as matter for serious discussion, which was – not flattering, what am I trying to say – it was a relief. I’m tired of alternately insisting that the things I think about are incredibly important, and silently fearing that maybe they aren’t. (They are.) I am reading my way through the rest of McHugh and Palwick, and like them both very much.

There’s more! But I will blog again!

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