book reviews, crafts, cheap things…


Book Review: Tell it Like it Tiz by Nicole J Georges and Marc Parker

Tell It Like It Tiz book


Tell It Like It Tiz is a zine by Nicole J Georges and Marc Parker about what goes on when they do zine workshops at a senior center in Portland Oregon.  This is a really fun and engaging anthology of a few of those zines. It’s chock full of portions of life stories, great advice, questionable advice, sayings from another time, fresh outlooks on universal life experiences, animal drawings, transcripts of conversations…

I love, love, love it. You’ll probably love it too.


get a copy from Nicole’s etsy or from a distro like this one

(pic from

Book Review: The Days of Anna Madrigal by Armistead Maupin

The Days of Anna Madrigal

The Tales of the City books were a big part of the wonderful literary freakshow that lured me (so passionately) to San Francisco over a decade ago. I loved that they were fast-paced and full of quirk– but still really, really real in their dealings with stuff like AIDS. They kept me awake, encouraged me to explore the city once I arrived, and made me feel so lucky to peer in on other people’s lives (even if they were fictional people).

The Days of Anna Madrigal marks the end of the series, as Anna is now an old woman (no longer independent, but still totally brilliant), and the other remaining originals are middle-aged (but not boring). Included elements and mentions are: more detail into Anna’s past, burning man, feminist blogging, San Francisco’s current gentrification…

I really enjoyed this book and had a hard time putting it down to do things like shower and go to work. Sometimes “final” books of series can feel like let downs, but this one didn’t. It’s up to the minute, tender, funny, and still a little mysterious. If you haven’t read its predecessors, read them first.

Get a copy here.

Book Review: My Mixed Up Berry Blue Summer

My mixed-up berry blue summer

This sweet little 119-page children’s book takes place in Vermont (right as same sex marriage is getting legalized)  and is about June (age 12) who lives across the lake from her BFF Luke with her mom and her mom’s partner, in a small town where everyone knows each other, and conflicting feelings about the new same-sex marriage law are on the rise. Homophobic signs start going up on the telephone poles, and a couple kids start bullying June.

The conflict is nested in the broader story that the town pie contest is coming up and June’s mom runs a tourist/lunch shop, where June is the star pie-maker. She also might be having what are the beginning of feelings for her BFF Luke…

I recommend it– the author does a nice job of telling the story from a 12 year -old’s viewpoint, and includes aspects of June’s ambivalence about her mother’s gayness and outness, her uncertainty about whether other people in town are allies, and manages to wrap it up with a tidy ending. Plus, the setting is pretty cool if you’re not used to small east coast lake towns….

Find a copy here


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!


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