Sunday, November 13, 2016

shock, for the most part

Well, as this week continues to soar across the sky on the wings of a zombie vulture, now our furnace has gone out. To look on the bright side, practice for nuclear winter probably isn't a bad thing. 

This week has been, obviously, devastating, and my terror is only growing as we learn about potential cabinet appointees and as violence by emboldened racists escalates. Yes, living in a super-blue state (and being white and middle-class) gives my family a definite buffer, but any new Supreme Court appointees will be doing their best to make sure my daughter doesn't have legal control over her own body during her lifetime, and that if either of my children turns out to be gay or transgender, they have no legal protections and will be denied the right to create a family. This administration will do its best to see that the services my workplace provides for the poor, for immigrants and refugees, for addicts and the homeless, are phased out as unnecessary wastes of money that could be better spent on tax cuts for the super-rich. And that is just what I can write about right now without throwing up. 

58 million of my countrymen endorsed racism, sexism, xenophobia, antisemitism, rape culture, homophobia, and basically any other kind of bigotry available  - and don't give me that "willing to overlook" versus "endorsing" distinction attempt. Being willing to overlook racism, sexism, xenophobia, antisemitism, rape culture, homophobia, and basically any other kind of bigotry available IS an endorsement of those things. Period. If a man bragging about committing sexual assault is not a goddamn deal-breaker for you - like, if you even have to think about whether this is going to be a deal-breaker - then you are endorsing rape culture, because a culture where ANYONE will overlook bragging about committing sexual assault in favor of LITERALLY ANYTHING ELSE ABOUT THE FUCKING GUY WHO JUST FUCKING BRAGGED ABOUT COMMITTING SEXUAL ASSAULT is, by definition, rape culture.

Okay. Breathe. Stop crying. Drink some water. (I've been giving myself that set of instructions every couple of hours since Wednesday morning.)

I am at the period of my maternity leave which involves working from home 20 or so hours a week, so that's had to carry on. Perdita still needs to have her lunches packed in the morning and be taken to preschool. Puck has decided he's not really going to sleep at nights, which is fun. (Of course he slept like a stone Tuesday night through Wednesday morning, when sleep was the last thing available to his panicked, weeping parents.) The routines of our days continue, for the moment, with this unreal shadow over us. 

Concentrating on books is difficult; mostly I just stare in horror at my newsfeed these days. But there is some reading to report:

The Crime at Black Dudley, by Margery Allingham. Even more bizarre than the one of hers I read before. 

Parting the Waters: America in the King Years 1954-63, by Taylor Branch. So good. Immense and devastating (especially now, when 58 million people have endorsed a return to those times) and just freakin' brilliantly done. 

India Black, by Carol K. Carr. Ugh, pretty awful. Not sure why I finished it.

The Making of Home: The 500-Year Story of How Our Houses Became Our Homes, by Judith Flanders. Very well researched and well written, but not nearly as fun as her book about Victorian murder and literature. I may need to re-read that one. 

Good Man Friday, by Barbara Hambly. I continue to binge through this series, and take great comfort from it. 

Emma: A Modern Retelling, by Alexander McCall Smith. Blech. If you think Emma Woodhouse is annoying as a product of her time, wait until you see a modern version of her. I didn't really see the point of this, honestly. 

Love Warrior: A Memoir, by Glennon Doyle Melton. A really good memoir - of which there are few - needs to be compelling regardless of whether the reader has had the same experiences or comes from the same general place as the writer. This is not one of those. It was so spot-on for me that it took my breath away sometimes, and felt like exactly what I needed to read right now, but I am a white middle-class woman with a certain level of comfort around traditional Christian religion. This is not a book for universal recommendation; it is a book that might be really fantastic for individual people. 

Revenge in a Cold River, by Anne Perry. The latest in her William Monk series, which I am of late enjoying more than her Thomas Pitt series. In these ones at least the characters still seem like people, not paper dolls being moved through their paces. That being said, I read this book two weeks ago and I could tell you very little about the plot. Conspiracy and courtroom drama, I believe, but I can only say that much because they all pretty much follow those lines. 

Good Wives: Image and Reality in the Lives of Women in Northern New England, 1650-1750, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich. Quite interesting, even at two in the morning. 

And now we wait for the furnace repairman, and for the next set of horrible news, and for Puck's next smile (he has started smiling and cooing in the last few days and it is a lifeline), and for Perdita's next display of vocabulary, and after a little more time grieving I have to start figuring out what actions to take.