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Book Review: Bad For You- Exposing the War On Fun

Photo on 4-8-14 at 8.28 PM

 

Bad for you : exposing the war on fun!
By: Kevin C Pyle and Scott Cunningham

 

 

 

 

 

 

AHHHH! This book is awesome!!!

The stuff that young people like has so often been vilified by parents, schools, and the mainstream media. And the vilification had been fear-driven, over-the-top, and totally needless.

Bad For You combines well-compiled history, alluring illustrations, smart one-liners, nicely drawn comics, and really excellent research that points out contradictions and nicely shreds historical fear mongering¬† about all kinds of stuff including comics, video games, play grounds, and zero tolerance policies. The whole of the piece is a testament to the historical and present American mistrust and mistreatment of youth– it’s totally great. I read it straight through.

Find a copy here!

 

 

Book Review: After Tupac and D Foster

After Tupac & D Foster

D Foster is the mysterious new girl that randomly wandered down Neeka and her best friend’s block one day and befriended them. Tupac is, well, Tupac. The three girls become BFF’s and bond over girlhood and a reverence for Tupac and his music (in terms of era, we begin before Tupac non-fatally gets shot the first time, and we end after his death from a different shooting). You may be thinking that sounds silly, or I don’t even like Tupac so why should I read this. But you should check it out! The author KILLS IT when writing about the effect that song lyrics or a performer’s persona has on you in those early teen years. The persona of Tupac is like a beacon and a friend in the lives of the girls, even though he lives nowhere near them and they listen to his music on a crackly tape of a tape, he’s just as present as, say, a mother or brother in their lives.

This children’s fiction (classified as “JF” at my library, probably best for 5th to 8th grade, but I’d also recommend it to older teens who are reluctant readers– or Tupac fans). It’s a short read, and is not just about ‘Pac– it also weaves in narratives of options for young black males, foster care, race, undeserved incarceration, having a gay family member, the fact of being female and growing up.
Check out a copy here!

Book Review: How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir by Amber Dawn

How poetry saved my life : a hustler's memoir

How Poetry Saved My Life is pretty rad.

For whatever reason, I’m not really in the mood to go into detail today– maybe it’s because I’m at the end of an illness, or maybe it’s because I feel weird dissecting someone’s memoir that pretty much holds itself up.

This is an impressive piece of work, and I’m really happy that I impulse-bought it for sixteen dollars at the local indie bookstore. Framed by sex work, there are three distinct sections: Outside, Inside, and Inward. Outside begins with poems and is about doing sex work on the street. Inside is about the “safer” times of doing sex work for an agency. Inward is distinct and sort of like a conclusion chapter; it’s about all this as well as personal life, relationships, leisure fucking, queer relationship dynamics.

How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir is very carefully and gorgeously written, and has a number of sentences that have the kind of architecture that leaves you wondering¬† how she did it.

buy it or see if your library has it.

Book Review: Red, White, Black & Blue by Keith Knight

Red, white, black & blue : a (th)ink anthology : cartoons

Blast from the past!

If you’re not familiar with Keith Knight, his work is totally awesome. I have a few of this books which I totes love, and I recently picked this one up at the library since I hadn’t read it before.

Published in 2004, it’s basically political comics from the thick of the Bush era. They’re spot-on to how things were at the time.

My first thought was Whew! Thank goodness we’re under a new regime, shit was so fucked up then! And then I realized that we’re basically still at war, we’re still crowded by racism that’s institutional AND and home-born, government surveillance has been proven (hiya NSA), and everything is now so connected that there’s a pretty serious chilling effect over activism and free speech. People’s passion is gone. Remember when everyone was going to rallies all the time, and it wasn’t considered in bad taste to critique the gov? But basically, other than the demise of MJ and the mass-forgetting of a few public figures’ names, the book’s still hella relevant. Buy his other books (this one’s sold out) or check this one out!

Book Review: Yokohama Threeway and Other Small Shames by Beth Lisick

Yokohama threeway : and other small shames

Yokohama Threeway is great because it’s funny. But it’s also low-commitment. Of the fifty-ish vignettes, few of them are longer than a couple pages.

The premise is embarrassing moments, like that one thing you did 6 years ago and are still cringing over. But 50-ish of them. And all of them make you think thank goodness it wasn’t me. Phew! They’re basically little 3-minute bursts of Maybe I’m not too fucked up after all (even if it’s a lie to yourself).

Read it! buy a copy from City Lights/Sister Spit or get it from the library!

 

Book Review: Teen Spirit by Francesca Lia Block

Teen spirit

234 pages went by in a flash; if you’ve liked FLB’s other books, you’ll enjoy this one. Like many of Block’s books, this one includes some good magical realism and has elements of a love letter to LA, companionship between weirdos, inspiring sartorial descriptions,¬† and a female protagonist as an explorer.

Plot-wise, Julie lives a sweet life with her awesome mom and grandma, but then grandma dies so she and mom move to an apartment in a new part of LA. Amidst the change and mourning, mom goes weird and gets a strange boyfriend, and Julie makes a friend at school and tries to bring her grandma back with a Ouija board that she finds in the bedroom closet of her new apartment. But it’s not her grandma who comes back. What happens next is surprising and interesting.

I could have gone for a little more length and depth (maybe a little more magic and more details about Julie’s job), but in all, Teen Spirit was quite good.

find a copy here

Book Review: It’s Altight. A Truckface Anthology. Vol 1. By LB Briggs

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This anthology was the most enjoyable 360 pages that I’ve read in a long while. At some other point I’ve reviewed Truckface zines on this blog (you can use the little search box up top to find them); I totally dug them then, and my “digging” continues. The anthology includes Truckfaces #7 – #11, and it will make you really happy if you like TMI perzines that are all about, you know, life and growing up and stuff (through a pretty much anarcha-queer, feminst, gender fucking lens).

The content follows LB from working shitty retail and food jobs, all the way up to working in a high school. I could totally relate, as I’ve worked lots of shitty retail and food jobs– and I’ve recently moved up to jobs in high schools and public libraries. It was written in real-time, so there’s all kinds of good messiness. But it’s also really well-written, and you won’t be like “Whaaa, where’d the rest of that sentence go.” Some of the sentences are like, whoa.

A++. Buy a copy from Mend My Dress Press. It’s $19 and totally worth it. But if you can’t handle the $19, you can also get #16 for $3 from Antiquated Future, and probably some of the other ones from other places.

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