Saturday, March 7, 2015

Weekend Reading

It's Saturday again! Out here in California, it's a beautiful, sunny, warm day. The mockingbirds are busily singing, singing, singing, and I think I'm going to take my e-reader out into the garden and enjoy some sunshine.

I hope no matter what the weather is like where you are, you can at least get some time in relaxing and enjoying something good to read. Check out some of the pieces I've linked below to start off your weekend. And, as always, feel free to share links to articles you're reading and enjoying in the comments.

Beginning farmer Lindsey Morris Carpenter humanely raises livestock at Grassroots Farm in Wisconsin. Photo: Anthony Wahl

I feel very fortunate that I know a lot of the people who grow my food or otherwise work in the agricultural world. So many of them are amazing women who are fighting not just to make a living, but to make real change. Sena Christian interviews several women who've taken up the mantle, and writes about the evolving face of our food systems in her piece Unconventional Agriculture.
Many of these women are part of a growing crop of new farmers – both men and women, between the ages of 25 and 34 – who have taken to working the land in the past decade. They aren’t necessarily your typical young farmers, either. Many are college-educated and did not inherit farmland or come from a family of farmers, suggesting a more purposeful motivation for entering such a tough profession.
Reading through this collection of "Tiny Rebellions" put together by the ladies at Rookie Magazine totally made my day!
Harmless, moooostly subtle acts of defiance are ways to push back against the jerk-itude, mundanity, and unfairness we encounter on a daily basis. Stirring the pot just a little bit also makes life more interesting—for you and anyone who’s paying close enough attention to what you’re up to. Here, we share some really good ways to be bad (but not actually bad).
This one by Tova made me laugh out loud:
When I was younger, we had to pray every morning in school for an hour or more. I worked really hard to move my lips and move the pages at the right times so it appeared as though I were devoutly praying, but all the while I was making up (spiteful) stories about my teachers in my head. In retrospect, it would have been less work to just pray, but I got such a kick out of it all.
Athena Volunteers. Credit: Jodie Chiang

I'm a bit late on sharing this, as the 2015 Athena Film Festival has already come and gone, but this piece by Lesley Coffin for The Mary Sue is still a worthy read to understand why it's so important to celebrate the work of women in Hollywood, and to push for change in the film industry.
Being someone who writes about film myself, I am of course more than familiar with Women and Hollywood, and was curious how it even started. Speaking with Silverstein, she recounted how a moment of frustration was her inspiration. “One day I was at the movies, because that is what I always did,” she said. “But as I was getting older, I went to the blockbuster films, [and] I said to myself, ‘These all suck, and I don’t see anyone like me here.’ So that kind of stuck in my head and I was doing other things and learned about the blogosphere. And I have always been a person interesting in pop culture and feminism, and there was this light bulb day.”
Photo: Joey Hi-Fi

Here in the US, and likely in the UK as well, we almost take it for granted that our SciFi/Fantasy will be somewhat representative of our larger culture. It'll be written by someone who lives a similar life as us, and have something to say that can be directly related to us. We maybe never stop and think about what people in other parts of the world want to write or read. So this piece by Lauren Smith reviewing some of the most important SF/F coming out of South Africa really intrigued me.
I know it was – and probably always will be – vital for us to have overtly sociopolitical literary fiction, but even as a non-white person growing up in a disadvantaged community, I seldom felt that this fiction resonated with my experience of South Africa or catered to my interests, which – shockingly – aren’t defined by the way apartheid screwed me and my family over. I’ll never be free of apartheid’s legacy, but at the same time I’ll never be so consumed by it that I expect everything we create to carry all the miserable weight of history. I don’t want to put an end to political fiction rooted in stark reality; it’d just be nice to have lots of other stuff too.

So when Lauren Beukes’s debut novel Moxyland came out, I was really happy. Suddenly local fiction could be fun and full of exciting ideas. It could have a thrilling plot that, for once, happened in the same place that I lived. It could still acknowledge or engage with our troubling history and the grotesque inequality it left behind, but it could do that without making me feel like I was chained to the past. And it could even – *gasp * – not be about South Africa at all!


Post a Comment