I’m so excited to be attending Worldcon, which is in San Jose this year. If you are attending, please let me know. Would love to meet you – or, if I already know you, would love to meet up, as they say.
I have one presentation:
Women Who Outsteampunked Steampunk
Saturday Aug 18, 2PM – 3PM
Steampunk is essentially alternate history of the Victorian era. But what about the real people in history, who were inventors, soldiers, travelers? Throughout history, women have always found ways to circumvent social norms. Come hear about some women who did! Learn about adventurous and groundbreaking women of the 19th Century, including Madam C. J. Walker, Isabella Bird, Annie Londonderry, and more.
Hello Book Clubbers! Our upcoming book is Strangers in Their Own Land, by Arlie Russell Hochschild. We will be meeting in person at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30AM on August 25 to discuss this book in person, and comments are always welcome here online as well!
Because of how we arrange our books with the library, I have books tentatively scheduled all the way into next summer. Keep in mind that all of these are subject to change. Interested? Here’s the list:
September 22: My Antonia, by Willa Cather
October 27: The Jungle, by Upton Sinclair
November 17: 4:20 to Paddington, by Agatha Christie
December: our month off
January: The Geography of Bliss by Eric Weinar
February: North and South, by Elizabeth Gaskell.
March: Behold the Dreamers, by Imbolo Mbue
April: Born a Crime, by Trevor Noah (this one is especially subject to change since it’s in high demand)
May: Manhattan Beach, by Jennifer Egan
June: Being Mortal, by Atul Gawande
We have a great year ahead!
This August I’m back in Clarkesworld Magazine with a piece about Mary Shelley’s life and how her experiences informed Frankenstein, her most famous novel. Enjoy!
This month’s book club pic is Strangers in Their Own Land: Anger and Mourning on the American Right, by Arlie Russell Hochschild. We will be discussing the book at Arden Dimick Library at 10:30AM on August 25, 2018.
What did you think of this book? While it’s been well-recieved on the whole it’s also been divisive.
The Washington Post found the book to be condescending:
When she lands in Louisiana, Hochschild realizes, “I was definitely not in Berkeley, California. . . . No New York Times at the newsstand, almost no organic produce in grocery stores or farmers’ markets, no foreign films in movie houses, few small cars, fewer petite sizes in clothing stores, fewer pedestrians speaking foreign languages into cell phones — indeed, fewer pedestrians. There were fewer yellow Labradors and more pit bulls and bulldogs. Forget bicycle lanes, color-coded recycling bins, or solar panels on roofs. In some cafes, virtually everything on the menu was fried.”
Dear God, no yellow Labs or solar panels? How do you live?
On the other hand, The New York Review of Books found the book to be descriptive and insightful:
The deep story that Hochschild creates for the Tea Party is a parable of the white American Dream. It begins with an image of a long line of people marching across a vast landscape. The Tea Partiers—white, older, Christian, predominantly male, many lacking college degrees—are somewhere in the middle of the line. They trudge wearily, but with resolve, up a hill. Ahead, beyond the ridge, lies wealth, success, dignity. Far behind them the line is composed of people of color, women, immigrants, refugees. As pensions are reduced and layoffs absorbed, the line slows, then stalls.
An even greater indignity follows: people begin cutting them in line. Many are those who had long stood behind them—blacks, women, immigrants, even Syrian refugees, all now aided by the federal government. Next an even more astonishing figure jumps ahead of them: a brown pelican, the Louisiana state bird, “fluttering its long, oil-drenched wings.” Thanks to environmental protections, it is granted higher social status than, say, an oil rig worker.
So what did you think of the book? Insightful? Inspiring? Discouraging? Condescending? Let us know in the comments below!
Overseas adoption can be a wonderful way to help your family grow and to help a child in the process. However, due to cultural differences and lack of oversight, overseas adoptions can also cause harm, placing children whose parents had no intention of surrendering them for adoption with well-intentioned adoptive parents. In some cases, this is due to confusion or lack of means to reunite the child and the family. For instance, Saroo, the author of Lion, had a loving parent to return to but no way for workers to find her.
However, in other cases, children may be kidnapped and sold (brokers make big money for providing children to adoption agencies), or sold by a parent. Sometimes parents believe that the children are going to the USA for an education with the expectation that the children will be coming back, only to lose all contact with them forever.
The problems with International adoptions, and the lack of good solutions for children, is not unique to India. This CNN article discusses some of the pitfalls of International Adoption. Meanwhile, the New Yorker has a lovely first-hand story of a family who adopted a child from Haiti. It includes some of the troubled history of international adoptions in the past and today.
Hey guys! Two pieces of news today!
#1: My essay “The Monster at the Movies: Film Adaptations of Frankenstein” is in Issue 142 of Clarkesworld Magazine. I’m so honored to be published here! You can also find my essay “Aliens Among Us: Cephalopods in Science Fiction and Fantasy” in Issue 138.
#2: I’m moderating a panel at San Diego Comic-Con! Please join us for:
Happy Birthday Frankenstein!
This upcoming Halloween, there will be an international celebration of the 200th anniversary of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. And with that comes a plethora of books and movies rejoicing this occasion. At this panel, listen to authors talk about the influence that Mary Shelley’s writing had on their works and why people still obsess over Frankenstein. And watch as they talk about the monsters that never die in their own novels. Good luck sleeping tonight! Panelists include Merrie Destefano (Shade series), Leslie S. Klinger (The New Annotated Frankenstein), Jonathan Maberry (Glimpse, V-Wars), Kiersten White (Bright We Burn and The Dark Descent of Elizabeth Frankenstein), and Carrie Sessarego of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books.
The panel will be on Saturday, July 21, in Room 7AB. See you there!
This month our book club pick is Lion, originally published under the title A Long Way Home. We will meet to discuss the book on July 28 2018, at 10:30AM, at Arden Dimick Library.
A Long Way Home was made into a movie called Lion in 2016. At that time, the book was republished with the new title, Lion, to match the movie. Because the movie was such a big hit, conversation about the book and the movie are intertwined.
When the movie came out, a lot of people did interviews, including the real-life people from the story. Here’s an interview with Saroo and his mother, Sue Brierley. It’s pretty basic until near the end, at about the 5 minute mark, when Sue talks about how she knew what kind of mother Saroo had had when she first met him because of the characteristics he showed at that age of four or five.
In this interview, Saroo talks about his childhood experience and the difficulites he had searching for his birth family. At the end there’s footage of the two moms meeting for the first time.
Here, of course, is the movie trailer: