March 2022 in review

March started strong and abruptly crashed, as I’ve been in a bit of a reading slump the last week — dragging through two e-books, making steady progress on Cancer Ward, and distracting myself by working in the garden or enjoying the spring air.

Climbing Mount Doom

Ms. Adventure, Jess Phoenix (Geology)
Caesar’s Last Breath, Sam Kean (Chemistry)
The Treeline: The Last Forest and the Future of Life on Earth, Ben Rawlence (Flora and Fauna, or Ecology)

Base goal: 12 books. Current standing: 6/12.

Readin’ Dixie:
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

Classics Club Strikes Back:
Gone with the Wind, Margaret Mitchell

The Unreviewed:
Oh my.

Cancel Culture had a promising start, addressing the modern fad of deplatforming anyone who has views outside the pinhead-sized Overton window, but proved to be an odd collection of essays, with topics seemingly unrelated to cancel culture (BLM’s antisemitism, for instance) appended on. Worthy topics, to be sure, but they didn’t mesh with the core issue nearly as well as the author supposed.

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time is a slight survey of modern Biblical criticism, introducing readers to concepts like Genesis’ two intewoven narratives, to to the non-Pauline status of some of the Pauline letters, or to the historical, rather than future-oriented, grounding of Revelations. The focus is not on criticism, though, as much on clearing the way for Christians who find parts of the Bible challenging by reducing hard sayings to metaphor and suggestion. I was already familiar with the criticism bit (having read books like Asimov’s Guide to the Bible when I was trying to figure out the truth after leaving Pentecostalism in 2006), so part of this was old hat for me. Its ideal audience would be moderate or liberal Christians: more conservative or orthodox readers will not be impressed by Borg’s approach.

Material Girls: Why Reality Matters for Feminists is a critique of gender identity from a lesbian feminist, and is far more philosophically-oriented than other books on the trans movement. The practical application of the book is to defend biological woman-hood from the postmodern conceit that being female is a state of mind. Although the book borders on academic in its discussion of gender concepts, the author argues that pretending sex doesn’t matter has been destructive of women’s interests, as female spaces are colonized by “trans men”, exposing women to male aggression in places like women’s prisons or bathrooms, and disrupting women’s sports completely. The author also takes issue with the trans-concept of females being girly and passive, and suggests that everyone be less binary in general. I’ll pass, but this was an interesting and new take on the trans-trend for me.

I also read The Treeline, a Netgalley title on how the northern hemisphere’s boreal forests are changing because of climate change. As it was an advanced copy, I need to give it proper review.

New Purchases, because I’m an Addict:
Inside the Klavern: The Secret History of a Ku Kulux Klan in the 1920s, David Horowitz. Analysis of an Oregon chapter’s meeting minutes. Might be interesting, might be stupefyingly boring. We shall see.
The Glass Cage: Automation and Us, Nicholas Carr. On the wanna-read list since forever.
Buzz, Sting, Bite: Why We Need Insects, Anne Sverdup-Thygeson. Purchased for Science Survey.
The Lonely American: Drifting Apart in the 21st Century, Jacqueline Olds. On the wanna-read list since reading Why We Hate Each Other.

Coming Up in April 2022:

Read of England, of course! Look for some histories (Liza Picard), some historical fiction (Ben Kane, Max Hennessy, and a classic or two.

About smellincoffee

Citizen, librarian, reader with a boundless wonder for the world and a curiosity about all the beings inside it.
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3 Responses to March 2022 in review

  1. Cyberkitten says:

    I read ‘Glass Cage’ back in 2018 & thought it was pretty good. I like Carr as an author.

    Looking forward to your RoE reading as always. It’s interesting seeing your culture from the perspective of an outsider.

  2. I read Cancer Ward five years ago and hope to reread it some day. The books on the bible sound interesting as I read parts of the Bible from time to time. My own background is Methodist and I remember the stories of Kings in the old testament being some of my favorite reads in my youth. I am continually impressed with the breadth of your reading and look forward to learning about books that I’m not familiar with.

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