Showing posts with label Comics. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Comics. Show all posts

My Current Bookshelf - May 2017

May was a much more active month as it relates to reading because, well, the semester was over and I had a whole lot of downtime to which I filled it with reading...mostly because, I like busman's holidays!  There were so many good reads this month so I've got a lot to talk about!


The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal


We all carry with us various myths about what willpower is, our relationship with it, and how to do better with it.  However, so many of our assumptions about willpower are often wrong in total or problematically applied because of a failure to understand what willpower is and its different forms.  McGonigal's provides a fantastic foundation to exploring and articulating willpower by breaking it into three different forms (I will, I won't, I want).  She guides readers through the science it has taken to better understand it from our historical or often racially, culturally, classist views of willpower to one that highlights just how willpower works in many different ways with cognitive, physiological, and mental tricks that humans fall prey to quite often.  One of my favorite parts of McGonigal’s work is that she provides small challenges for readers to test out with each new idea she introduces.  While it is inevitably something she, herself, has developed, I can’t help but think, her sister, Jane McGonigal has helped or advised in as it has a strong gamification element to it.  What I appreciate most about this book is that it reminds the reader that willpower is often a moving target and that one cannot necessarily conquer it but rather just better understand where and when one is most likely to succeed or surrender to short-term desires that are at odds with long-term goals.


Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely


This short but intriguing book will be useful for not just leaders but really for anyone who is looking to understand his or her own sense of motivation as well as those of others that someone works with.  It's a fairly short book and one that you can get the gist of from Ariely's TED Talk.  Known for conducting a range of curious tests with humans to better understand human nature (previous works include The Truth about Dishonesty and Predictably Irrational), Ariely takes this book to explore how we tend to profoundly misunderstand how motivation works and therefore regularly fail to achieve the outcomes we are expecting in others or severely cramping the possibilities.  He unpacks some rather strong misconceptions about how extrinsic rewards (e.g. more pay) can fail to increase or even decrease productivity or how purpose and meaning on behalf of the individual drives more productivity.  This book has a lot of potential for everyone as it makes the reader more aware of how to make outcomes more beneficial for both parties involved.  

The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli

Dobelli works his ways through some 98 different biases and faulty thinking practices that he has witnessed and experienced in his life as an author and businessman.  With each, he introduces the concept in clear and easy to understand prose with some great examples to illustrate how each works.  While the format remains largely the same, the text is still lively, fun, and helpful.  I enjoyed learning about and realizing the different fallacies that I have regularly stumbled with and ways of trying to get around them.  He smartly emphasizes that we cannot use a list like this all the time, but when we are pressed to make the big decisions in life, it is useful to go through such a list to make sure we're not missing something in our thinking.  The one strong critique I have of the book is that his final chapter, labeled, "Why You Shouldn't Read the News: News Illusion" entails many of the fallacies to which he has discussed.  He argues that there is no value to the news and that it's distracting in most people's lives.  He claims to rely on his friends and associates to filter news of relevance to him and that ultimately, people should read books and forgo news.  Of course, this seems to be a blatant case of the man with the hammer or as he says, "if you take your problem to an expert, don’t expect the overall best solution. Expect an approach that can be solved with the expert’s toolkit."  That is, the book author is telling the reader the fix is more books rather than more strategically engaging with news.  Besides that one issue, the book is a solid collection of wisdom and food-for-thought when making big decisions. 


On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder


Snyder's book is short and sweet.  It's kinda like a TED-Talk or highlights real.  However, the book is straight and to the point, providing specific details, historical examples, and things to consider about tyranny in the 21st century, with particular attention to the US President Trump and the tenuous and problematic elements of his election and administration. I found there was practical advice about being involved and active but equally important was the smaller stuff that on some level people might disregard but are also central to keeping society a community.  For instance, his advice to make eye contact and be friendly with others is something that we don't realize its prominence and importance until it's gone and by that time, we are in serious trouble.  In total, it's a solid short read that helps the budding activist or reminds the experienced one of the importance of the work.  

Making Gumbo in the University by Rupert W. Nacoste

Nacoste's book is an enjoyable read in many regards and a look at the problems that those involved in diversity work often come up against.  Nacoste relates his experience as a chief diversity leader on southern US university and the walls he came up against while trying to create a more effective and meaningful approach to diversity at the institution.  For me, I liked how this book captured the fact that diversity is not milk-warm acceptance of one another but is embedded in the tension of recognition of differences while trying to move forward in different directions.  That is, diversity is not blind acceptance but respectful dialogue of differences that at times will be hard or unlikely to be reconciled.  He also provides a good frame for institutions to rethink diversity as housed in a particular place or position and more embedded throughout the different areas of an institution; what does diversity mean for the different areas and how do they foster?  Where I was less interested and impressed with the prose was the interweaving of his family life and his earlier life.  Both are important to include but sometimes, the details (relevant though they were to his personal experience) distracted from his discussion and analysis of his work.  Also, as a self-published book, it had a significant amount of grammatical and spelling errors.

A word cloud of this blog post in the shape of a coffee cup on a saucer

Check out other reading recommendations from 2017 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads):

BOOKS

  • An Introduction to Qualitative Research: Learning in the Field by Gretchen Rossman
  • On Tyranny: Twenty Lessons from the Twentieth Century by Timothy Snyder
  • Making Gumbo in the University bu Rupert W. Nacoste

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Horrorstör by Grady Hendrix
  • Notes of a Native Son by James Baldwin
  • Thrawn by Timothy Zahn
  • Printer's Error: Irreverent Stories from Book History by JP & Rebecca Romney
  • Certain Dark Things: Stories by M. J. Pack
  • The Collapsing Empire (The Interdependency #1) by John Scalzi,
  • The Willpower Instinct: How Self-Control Works, Why It Matters, and What You Can Do to Get More of It by Kelly McGonigal
  • Payoff: The Hidden Logic That Shapes Our Motivations by Dan Ariely
  • The Art of Thinking Clearly by Rolf Dobelli 
  • The Chessboard and the Web: Strategies of Connection in a Networked World by Anne-Marie Slaughter
  • Finding Gobi (Main edition): The true story of a little dog and an incredible journey by Dion Leonard
  • House of Names by Colm Tóibín

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Briggs Land Vol. 1: State of Grace (Briggs Land, #1) by Brian Wood
  • The Silence of Our Friends by Mark Long

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?

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By Any Other Nerd Blog by Lance Eaton is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

Review: March

March March by John Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

These three graphic novels capture John Lewis's first-hand account as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. From his upbringing in Troy, Alabama to his entrance into college and earliest political experiences, the story provides his bird's eye view and experience in striving for a nonviolent revolution in the face of overwhelming white supremacy, oppression, and violence. His experience in the 1960s is paralleled with the inauguration in 2009 of President Barak Obama, providing a beacon to the harsh and vitriolic culture to which both Lewis and Obama (and for that matter all African Americans) were (and continue to be) subjected to. Through the three volumes, Lewis touches upon the leadership of the Civil Rights Movements, the different factions, and the challenges of trying to find the best courses of action to take. The book is both a history and a primer on attempting to change a racist culture that is worth reading for those interested in autobiographies, history, African-American studies, and organizational and cultural change. It would be fascinating to see a volume 4 that parallel's Lewis's experiences with the cultural backlash of the 1970s & 1980s that goes hand-in-hand with the inauguration of Trump.

View all my reviews


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My Current Bookshelf - April 2017

April is a busy month but despite that, I managed to keep my reading going and even finished three physical books.  


Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single


Book Cover - Peg Boyle Single - Demystifying Dissertations
Obviously, there's a particular audience for this type of book (doctoral students), but it is a solid book with some clear and direct tools to use in order to prepare for the path down the dissertation.  I strongly recommend it for students who are about to enter a doctoral program as though I am still finding it helpful, I think having it (and following its recommendations) from the start, I would be in a much better place.  I appreciated how Single's method moves you from ideas to a focus statement to an outline to detailed outline to mini-papers to full-blown work.  Beyond the structural approaches and considerations, Single also drops different hints and hacks that can be helpful for the doctoral student (such as putting a "To-Do" list at the top of any dissertation document to work through what needs to get done).  Like many other books, she iterates the fact that it's essential to create a writing habit that doesn't consist of trying to find the large-chunks of time.  Now, if we can have a book on how to perfect that that works well, I think I'll be all set!


Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker


Jes Baker is just amazing and delightful to listen to (seriously, the audiobook blows the book away because she reads it herself).  Baker confronts head on the challenges, judgments, discrimination, and disregard that Western culture (particularly the U.S.) has for fat girls (the term she uses and in a standard method of cultural resistance, reclaims as a badge).  Her approach is multifaceted from calling out the questionable literature around health issues related to fat people to critiquing the de-normalizing of larger bodies by consumer culture, particularly fashion--she even makes room to discuss the intersectionality of size and other elements of identity.  Besides laying down a critical framework around deconstructing fat in the US, she also repeatedly finds ways to speak to fat girls in particular but really, everyone dealing with self-image, self-acceptance, and self-love issues, to argue fiercely that everyone deserves the right be feel perfectly natural in their bodies.  Despite the book's title, this book is for everyone.  No, really.  Yes, Baker focuses specifically on the internal and external challenges of life as a fat girl, but her core message is that whatever one wants in the world, what we need more than anything is compassion and love of ourselves.  It reminds me in many ways of Brene Brown's work (which I really love) but with an edgier, wittier and more bad-ass kind of approach.

The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass


Book cover of The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass
About five years have passed since the fall of Tencendor to the Time-Keeper Demons and the conclusion of Douglass's previous (and second) trilogy, Wayfarer Redemption.  But rest of the largely unexplored world continues.  King Maximillian of Escator has been offered a bride from Ishbel, a woman who comes from the Serpent's Nest, a curious cult with macabre practices.  Meanwhile the Tyrant of Isembaard is beginning to put into an action that will ruin the kingdoms to the north, including Maximillian's.  Powerful forces are at play which results in the return from the world beyond of Douglass's premier hero, Axis Sunsoar and even, his father, Stardrifter.  There's a lot that is happening in this novel and like many of Douglass's works, she keeps the story going; it's not like other epic fantasies where you can go hundreds of pages without anything happening.  In this first of the trilogy, the world is turned upside down again and we get to enjoy seeing a different side of Axis--a more human one not seen since BattleAxe, the first book in the entire series.  What I like even more about this book is that  Douglass interweaves her two single novels (Beyond the Hanging Wall and Threshold) as integral parts of this story.  One does not have to have read them to fully understand as she does create opportunities for readers to get filled in, but it certainly helps.  Finally, it's also becomes a recurring (and insider joke for those who have read the previous trilogies), about the havoc that always comes in the path of people (particularly, women) who associate with the Sunsoars; in many ways, this feels like Douglass's wink to avid fans and their critiques.  If you're looking for an enjoyable and active epic fantasy, Douglass is definitely the read to go with.  

Check out other reading recommendations from 2017 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads):

BOOKS

  • Demystifying Dissertation Writing: A Streamlined Process from Choice of Topic to Final Text by Peg Boyle Single
  • 147 Practical Tips for Synchronous and Blended Technology Teaching and Learning by Rosemary Van Den Berg
  • The Serpent Bride by Sara Douglass

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Things No One Will Tell Fat Girls: A Handbook for Unapologetic Living by Jes Baker
  • Dear White America: Letter to a New Minority by Tim Wise
  • The Name of the Wind (The Kingkiller Chronicle, #1) by Patrick Rothfuss
  • The Castle in the Mist by Amy Ephron
  • The Awkward Thoughts of W. Kamau Bell: Tales of a 6' 4," African American, Heterosexual, Cisgender, Left-Leaning, Asthmatic, Black and Proud Blerd, Mama's Boy, Dad, and Stand-Up Comedian by W. Kamau Bell
  • Thanos: Death Sentence Prose Novel by Stuart Moore
  • Word by Word: The Secret Life of Dictionaries by Kory Stamper

GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Invincible, Vol. 23: Full House by Robert Kirkman

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?




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My Current Bookshelf - March 2017

Another month, more books!  We know that's how it goes here and I've had some really fascinating reads as well as one, painfully-bad read (FYI: Cop Under Fire; easily assuming worst book of the year in my book for numerous reasons; I won't be reviewing it because I'd rather not give it any more attention than it deserves, but you've been warned).  I feel a bit behind with reading this year in terms of how many books (just over 40) for the first 3 months of the year, but there's little I can do about that given the program.  Oh well!  So let's get cracking!
Word cloud of the book reviews for this month.

Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi

If there is a single book that can structurally explain how racism permeates the history and mythology of the United States, then Kendi's book is if not the book, then certainly a contender (having not read all of them, I cannot say, but having read many books on race, this one is among the best).  Kendi traces the history of the United States' approach to, discourse on, and political consequences of racism from the colonies in the 1600s until the present.  He does this by exploring the lives of five pivotal figures in the history of racism who span all five centuries of US history: Cotton Mather, Thomas Jefferson, William Lloyd Garrison, W.E.B. DuBois, and Angela Davis.  Kendi posits three ideologies that are found in various forms throughout the history and the works of those with whom he presents: racist, assimilationist, and anti-racist ideologies.  Ultimately, Kendi's power lies in his ability to tie the individual lives to the contemporary discourse of the individuals' time while also drawing parallels to and building a mounting context for understanding racism in the present.

White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

Anderson skillfully deconstructs an unspoken but prevalent theme in the US history of race relations since well before the Civil War: white rage.  Directly and indirectly, she shows how the often stereotypical assumption of African-Americans as being unwieldy or out of control (that is, having "black rage") is largely a matter of projection of a white rage.  White rage has historically over-reacted to each attempt by African American and other marginalized peoples to establish an equal footing as put forward in the US's founding documents.  Thus, she shows from the Civil War to the presidency of Barak Obama, how viciously and brutally dominant white culture has reacted.  Whether it was de-facto enslavement for unemployed African Americans in the post-Civil War era, the rise of segregation, the intentional exclusion of compensation for African Americans who fought in war, the attempts to shut down or create private or charter schools in the absence of desegregation to unequal sentencing (or due process) in the justice system to systematic attempts to limit their ability to vote, white social, cultural, and political power has actively sought to see equality as a threat to the status quo and been willing to take innocent lives and freedoms to maintain and perpetuate this power and racial divide.  Anderson's makes that provess entirely clear with accessible prose that provides specifics but does not inundate readers with unnecessary details.  

We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Adichie's short book (what's the equivalent of a novella in nonfiction?  Long-form essay?) is a collection of short essays that stem from her TED Talk exploring how and why feminism is a necessity for all societies.  She connects her personal stories and experiences to the larger discourse on feminism and draws useful analogies for many to understand and appreciate about its place in the 21st century throughout the world.  It's a quick read that can refuel some while also introducing complex considerations about feminism to someone just exploring it for the first time.

Check out other reading recommendations from 2017 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads):

BOOKS


  • We Should All Be Feminists by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

AUDIOBOOKS


  • The Soul of the First Amendment by Flloyd Abrams
  • Cannibalism: A Perfectly Natural History by Bill  Schutt,
  • How to Talk Dirty and Influence People: An Autobiography by Lenny Bruce
  • Snapshot by Brandon Sanderson
  • Cop Under Fire: Moving Beyond Hashtags of Race, Crime and Politics for a Better America by David Clarke
  • Dr. Strange: The Fate of Dreams by Devin Grayson
  • Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America by Ibram X. Kendi
  • Born Both: An Intersex Life by Hilda Viloria
  • White Rage: The Unspoken Truth of Our Racial Divide by Carol Anderson

GRAPHIC NOVELS


  • Outcast, Vol. 4: Under Devil's Wing by Robert Kirkman
  • The Walking Dead, Vol. 27: The Whisperer War  by Robert Kirkman
  • Star Wars, Vol 4: Last Flight of the Harbinger by Jason Aaron

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?


Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

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My Current Bookshelf - February 2017

Slow month for reading--there were a couple longer reads that I came into contact with as well as it being just a busy (and shorter) month than others.  But as usual, there are still some great reads to be had.  Pretty much all of my reading was audiobooks this month because I'm in full reading mode with my program--no surprise.  But that should reiterate the importance and value of audiobooks.  Despite the busy reading of academic articles, I still managed to enjoy 10 books that I would not have otherwise gotten to.  Given that, I've only got one book that stands out particularly and want to talk about today.


Book covers read this month.


The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee

Where do I begin with this review besides just saying, "WOW!"  I knew about some of the aspects of this book such as strong anti-Asian immigration laws and racial discrimination in the US toward Asian-Americans since the 1800s.  But Lee provides a meticulous and nuanced exploration of the history of migration and representation within the Americas since the 1500s.  She traces the history of discriminatory practices by different American countries that challenge, limit, devalue, or pit against one another the many different immigrants from the numerous Asian countries.  In doing so, she helps the reader understand the denial of identity and culture that comes with the term "Asian American", and how it masks the distinct experiences, cultural dynamics, and sense of history that different immigrants from Asian bring with them.  In tracing the history to the present century, Lee further aids readers in considering the experience of Asian Americans whose families have been here for generations and the more recent Asian American immigrants fit into the rhetoric of immigration for various discourses and for different dominant-group purposes.  It's definitely a must-read for people trying to better understand race and ethnicity in the Americas.

Check out other reading recommendations from 2017 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads):

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Giovanni's Room by James Baldwin
  • The Making of Asian America: A History by Erika Lee
  • Every Heart a Doorway (Wayward Children, #1) by Seanan McGuire
  • Master Harold...and the boys by Athol Fugard
  • The Dispatcher by John Scalzi
  • The Vegetarian by King Han
  • The War Doctor: Only the Monstrous by Nicholas Briggs
  • Doctor Who: Death and the Queen (The Tenth Doctor Adventures, #1.3) by James Goss
  • Hacker, Hoaxer, Whistleblower, Spy: The Many Faces of Anonymous by Gabriella Coleman
  • Grim: Classic Fairy Tales Updated for an All-About-Me-Age by Joseph Burgo


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

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My Current Bookshelf - January 2017

Given that January was a month in which I was not in class, it will surprise few that I read a decent amount this month and many of them were phenomenal reads; a great way to start the year!  There were a lot of great books to discuss but I will restrict my posting to just a handful and I'll be curious if anyone can see a theme.   Feel free to ask me about any of them if you're looking for recommendations.


White Like Me by Tim Wise

Wise's memoir of his own awakening to systematic racism in the United States is a powerful and useful tale for white people to read and reflect on their own experience.  From his early upbringing in the south to his education in New Orleans and early days of activism against the David Duke campaigns in the 1990s, Wise explores the ways in which he has succeeded and failed in being an ally to non-white people.  But what Wise does best throughout the book is to mark with clarity the ways in which the privilege afforded him by being white created opportunities or nullifed threats that would have existed for him, were he not white.  Additionally, he is great at unpackaging the ways in which investment in whiteness doesn't harm just non-whites but does damage to white people as well.  For anyone looking to better understand how one can strive to address and engage with the racial strife in this country, Wise's book is a great start.  

March Volumes 1-3 by John Robert Lewis

These three graphic novels capture John Lewis's first-hand account as an activist in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s. From his upbringing in Troy, Alabama to his entrance into college and earliest political experiences, the story provides his bird's eye view and experience in striving for a nonviolent revolution in the face of overwhelming white supremacy, oppression, and violence. His experience in the 1960s is paralleled with the inauguration in 2009 of President Barak Obama, providing a beacon to the harsh and vitriolic culture to which both Lewis and Obama (and for that matter all African Americans) were (and continue to be) subjected to. Through the three volumes, Lewis touches upon the leadership of the Civil Rights Movements, the different factions, and the challenges of trying to find the best courses of action to take. The book is both a history and a primer on attempting to change a racist culture that is worth reading for those interested in autobiographies, history, African-American studies, and organizational and cultural change. It would be fascinating to see a volume 4 that parallel's Lewis's experiences with the cultural backlash of the 1970s & 1980s that goes hand-in-hand with the inauguration of Trump.

Book covers for March by John Robert Lewis Volumes 1-3


Focus by Arthur Miller

Book cover to Arthur Miller's Focus.
I came across this novel in a used bookstore and thought the premise sounded fascinating, especially since I've been a fan of Miller's dramatic works.  The story follows Lawrence Newman after he awakes in the middle of the night to hearing a screaming woman being assaulted.  But since the woman is a minority, he largely seems to pay it no mind.  The bachelor enjoys a home in a white Christian neighborhood and works in New York City and is largely successful until his eyesight gets the best of him and he's forced to get glasses.  His glasses, as he feared, make him appear more Jewish in the race-obsessed world of the World War II 1940s.  What follows is Lawrence's demise as those around him increasingly suspect him to be a Jew and he becomes subjected to the same cruel realities that he perpetuated just months before.

Miller's tale is a classic tale of what it's like to live in another man's shoes but also well layered with reflection by Lawrence as he comes to weigh the meaning behind the white supremacist view and how easily it insinuates itself into the minds of the privileged.  Originally published in 1945, there is so much about this book that resonates with the world today that it could have easily been written as today with only slight adjustments.

Check out last year's reads if you are interested (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)

BOOKS

  • Focus by Arthur Miller
  • Eservice-Learning: Creating Experiential Learning and Civic Engagement Through Online and Hybrid Courses by Jean Strait


AUDIOBOOKS

  • White Like Me by Tim Wise
  • Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott
  • Simple Rules: How to Thrive in a Complex World by Donald Sull
  • Miniatures: The Very Short Fiction of John Scalzi by John Scalzi
  • Letters to a Young Muslim by Omar Saif Ghobash
  • Tears We Cannot Stop: A Sermon to White America by Michael Eric Dyson
  • The Power Paradox: How We Gain and Lose Influence by Dacher Keltner
  • Delusions of Gender: How Our Minds, Society, and Neurosexism Create Difference by Cordelia Fine 
  • Boy by Anna Ziegler
  • Everything I Never Told You by Celeste Ng
  • Smarter Faster Better: The Secrets of Being Productive in Life and Business by Charles Duhigg


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • March: Book 1-3 by John Robert Lewis
  • Han Solo by Majorie Li
  • Black Panther: A Nation Under Our Feet, Book 1 by Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Birthright, Vol. 4: Family History by Joshua Williamson
  • Descender, Volume Three: Singularities by Jeff Lemire

What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?



Did you enjoy this read? Let me know your thoughts down below or feel free to browse around and check out some of my other posts!. You might also want to keep up to date with my blog by signing up for them via email. 

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Reality & Continuity, Or Why 9/11 Reveals Some Insights About Live-Action Superheroes

The following is an except of a blog post, I wrote for Jeremy Flagg's blog in celebration of his upcoming superhero novel, Nighthawks.


Word cloud of this post in the form of a person reading a book.
Superheroes aren’t real. (Gasp, I think one may have just died because I said that). They aren’t, but the rise of realism in comic storytelling that emerged in the second half of the 20th century, means that readers demand realistic elements to the storytelling. Even though our capes are walking deus-ex-machinas, we prefer the veneer that all things are genuine struggles for them. But surprisingly, superheroes do have limits. They are not perfect. Because for all that the superheores can do in their fictional realms, they cannot leap from the page and be a part of this world. However, they can appear increasingly life-like through good and sustained storytelling.


A good measure to think about superheroes is to consider how they operate in response to the world around us? How do they deal with real tragedies such as 9/11 and other tragic events wherein they are specifically designed to protect us from? Herein, I will explore how both DC and Marvel have grappled with that idea and the implications it has had for their cinematic and television universes.


I turn to Peter Coogan and his seminal book on the superhero as a genre (https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/222322.Superhero) to highlight the power of the genre over others and how it may operate or deal with the real world.


“Real events from the past are worked in…Likely it will become more prominent as creators are freed from the burden of timeless continuity and are able to present stories that deal with the passage of time in more flexible ways….The superhero has a unique signifying function. It can be used to express ideas that other genres cannot portray as well. Superheroes embody a vision of the use of power unique to America.


Superheroes enforce their own visions of right and wrong on others, and they possess overwhelming power, especially in relation to ordinary crooks. They can project power without danger to themselves, and they can effortlessly solve problems that ordinary authorities cannot handle. This vision of power fits quite well with the position America finds itself in after the Cold War. America is the only superpower in the world, something like Superman in the days before other superheroes and supervillains.”

For the rest, visit Jeremy's blog and check out some of his other great content!



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My Most Recent Reads - December 2016

I end the year with another month with a good amount of reads that I was full enthralled with but many of which I cannot really speak about since they are ones that I am reviewing elsewhere.  I will probably come back and write reviews for a good deal of them since some of them will likely be some of my most recommended reads for the year.  I can at least talk a bit about two of the books of the past month:


Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin

Word cloud for this blog postMartin explores the history of dramatic television in the last two decades, defining it as the third golden age of television.  The title refers to the defining feature of this third golden age in that both onscreen in the form of lead characters and off-stage in the form of the rise of the "show-runner" writer is universally male.  In tracing the history of many of the most famous and genre-defining shows, Martin shows how the leading characters (Tony Soprano, Vick Mackey, Don Draper, Walter White and others) are men in constant desire of power in a variety of forms and willing to do harm to achieve it.  They are contrasted with often more-complicated but still flawed creators and writers who are also trying to leave their own mark on the world.  Taken together, the book holds up a fascinating mirror to the American culture and in particular, males.  It's a nice slice of Americana, gender studies (though not necessarily too overt), and cultural history.


TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson

Word cloud of TED Talks review in the form of a brain.
Anderson, the head of TED, the central repository for engaging ideas in small 7-18 minute speeches by many key industry leaders (of almost every industry) presents a concise and clear guide to organizing and preparing to give the best speech of one's life.  Focused largely on giving a "TED Talk," which is not necessarily every talk one is likely to give, Anderson walks readers through everything from different approaches on preparing, to technical considerations to delivery styles and wardrobe questions.  He draws upon many of the most famous TED talks to illustrate the best examples of what he is discussing and while he does refer to bad examples, he usually is vague on the details, sparing the targets (and probably himself from lawsuits).  I appreciate Anderson's ability to pull together different aspects of a speech and clarify with each, what is the essential consideration one must keep in mind. Anderson's guide provides a lot of great information and ideas about how to improve one's speaking technique and is likely to be useful to anyone trying to hone their presentation skills.

Monthly reads for 2016 (and you can always look at all of my books that I've read on GoodReads)

AUDIOBOOKS

  • Books for Living by Will Schwalbe
  • Difficult Men: Behind the Scenes of a Creative Revolution: From The Sopranos and The Wire to Mad Men and Breaking Bad by Brett Martin
  • The Third Reconstruction: Moral Mondays, Fusion Politics, and the Rise of a New Justice Movement by William J. Barber III
  • The Souls of Black Folk by W.E.B. DuBois
  • Invisible Man, Got the Whole World Watching by Mychal Denzel Smith
  • The Mountaintop by Katori Hall
  • The Industries of the Future by Alec Ross
  • Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist's Guide To Thriving In The Age of Accelerations by Thomas Friedman
  • The Untold Story of the Talking Book by Matthew Rubery
  • TED Talks: The Official TED Guide to Public Speaking by Chris Anderson


GRAPHIC NOVELS

  • Darth Vader, Vol 4: End of Games by Kieron Gillen
  • Poe Dameron, Vol. 1: Black Squadron by Charles Soule
  • Paper Girls, Vol. 2 by Brian K. Vaughan
  • Trees, Vol. 2: Two Forests by Warren Ellis
  • Huck by Mark Millar


What about you reader?  What book recommendations do you have for me?



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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 24, 2016 at 05:01PM


They are truly persecuted... #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #Xmas WarOnChristmas ##Christmas
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 23, 2016 at 06:36PM


Make America a wasteland...again? #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #TwitterDiplomacy
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 21, 2016 at 08:40PM


Definitely a sack of something... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #Xmas
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 20, 2016 at 07:15PM


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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 20, 2016 at 08:59AM


That's right, the semester is over, #StartingNow. #DailyStickMan #EndOfSemester #PhDLife #PhDStudent #BrainHurts
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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 18, 2016 at 08:29PM


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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 15, 2016 at 05:06PM


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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 14, 2016 at 05:14PM


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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 13, 2016 at 02:57PM


Here's hoping they think I'm (un)qualified enough! #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #Cats #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica #FromRussiaWithLove

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 12, 2016 at 08:32PM


It does tend to make one sick... #DailyStickMan #DailyCat #Cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #TrumpCat #TrumpsAmerica

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 11, 2016 at 05:05PM


Nothing to see here folks! #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #TrumpCat ##cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #ManchurianCandidate

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The Daily StickMan Adventures - December 10, 2016 at 05:26PM


Honestly, what's more important? #DailyCat #DailyStickMan #Cats #catstagram #catsofinstagram #SNL #TrumpCat

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