See you at Worldcon!

UnknownI’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

Room 211C

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.




Between the Lines Book Club: What’s Coming Up!

between the lines book club logoHello 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!

Between the Lines Book Club: Strangers in Their Own Land

between the lines book club logoThis 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!