So I’ll just say it up front, some of these are fairly morbid. The problem is that’s the sort of thing that really sticks out in my mind sometimes.
- The Girl Who Drank the Moon by Kelly Barnhill – “Death is always sudden, even when it isn’t.”
- This Place Holds No Fear by Monika Held – The perpetrators of these crimes weren’t sick in the head – they weren’t any cra- zier than you or me. If this playground of murder in Poland, if I may call it that, hadn’t existed, Klehr would have stayed a carpenter and Kaduk a nurse. Or a fire- fighter. Dirlewanger would have remained a lawyer, fat Jupp a dumb gangster, and Palitzsch, if he hadn’t died in the war, would have been Chief of Police or Secretary of State, and Boger would have been manager of the local insurance company. Or a teacher with a secret lust for punishing children. He wouldn’t have built the Boger swing. The perpetrators, Your Honor, were young and ambitious. They wanted to succeed at what they did. What it was didn’t matter. They acted like employees, hungry for praise and advancement. The sadists aren’t the most dangerous. The most dangerous are the normal people.
- Moving Beyond Words: Essays on Age, Rage, Sex, Power, Money, Muscles: Breaking the Boundaries of Gender by Gloria Steinem – After life-giving wombs and sustenance-giving breasts, women’s ability to menstruate was the most obvious proof of their superiority. Only women could bleed without injury or death; only they rose from the gore each month like a phoenix; only their bodies were in tune with the ululations of the universe and the timing of the tides. Without this innate lunar cycle, how could men have a sense of time, tides, space, seasons, movement of the universe, or the ability to measure anything at all? How could men mistress the skills of measurement necessary for mathematics, engineering, architecture, surveying—and so many other professions? In Christian churches, how could males, lacking monthly evidence of Her death and resurrection, serve the Daughter of the Goddess? In Judaism, how could they honor the Matriarch without the symbol of Her sacrifices recorded in the Old Ovariment? Thus insensible to the movements of the planets and the turning of the universe, how could men become astronomers, naturalists, scientists—or much of anything at all?
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde – In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid?
- Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman – That was my most recent lesson: Feminism is comprised of values that are important to you as a woman, not ideals arrived at by forced consensus to which you should adjust your own life. To me, that is the core failure of (North) American feminism—the alienation of women like my mother who don’t have the leisure to fantasize about a life free of the influence of men, who have the demands of an extended family and the rigors of defining themselves in a place between two real and often contradictory worlds.
- Colonize This!: Young Women of Color on Today’s Feminism edited by Daisy Hernandez and Bushra Rehman – Gentrification: The displacement of poor women and people of color. The raising of rents and the eradification of single, poor and working-class women from neighborhoods once considered unsavory by people who didn’t live there. The demolition of housing projects. A money-driven process in which landowners and developers push people (in this case, many of them single mothers) out of their homes without thinking about where they will go. Gentrification is a premeditated process in which an imaginary bleach is poured on a community and the only remaining color left in that community is white . . . only the strongest coloreds survived.
- The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood – There is more than one kind of freedom, said Aunt Lydia. Freedom to and freedom from. In the days of anarchy, it was freedom to. Now you are being given freedom from. Don’t underrate it.
- Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly – War, technology, and social progress; it seemed that the second two always came with the first.
- Sister Outsider: Essays and Speeches by Audre Lorde – Racism: The belief in the inherent superiority of one race over all others and thereby the right to dominance. Sexism: The belief in the inherent superiority of one sex and thereby the right to dominance. Heterosexism: The belief in the inherent superiority of one pattern of loving and thereby its right to dominance. Homophobia: The fear of feelings of love for members of one’s own sex and therefore the hatred of those feelings in others. THE ABOVE FORMS of human blindness stem from the same root — an inability to recognize the notion of difference as a dynamic human force, one which is enriching rather than threatening to the defined self, when there are shared goals.
- This Place Holds No Fear by Monika Held – Leszek, when do you know whether you’re a coward or a brave person? When you decide. When does that happen? When circumstances ask you where you belong. And then? You decide. Open your eyes or close them. Hide or fight. Fear or courage. No one wants to be a hero, but sometimes it’s the only way.
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