The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

What is it: Novel. The Introspective tale of one household, four women and one man.

Title: The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Author: Lola Shoneyin lolashoneyin-1

Year published: 2010

Who would like it: People who love to examine life and how we end up where we are by following the options we have available, sometimes further from and sometimes closer to our dreams.

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Kitchens of the great midwest fruits leaves image of book cover

Kitchens of the Great Midwest by J Ryan Stradal

What is it: Book, 90 percent fiction, 10 percent cookbook

Title: Kitchens of the Great Midwest

Author: J Ryan Stradal

Year published: 2015

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How to Build a Girl by Caitlin Moran

What is it: Book, fiction

Title: How to Build a Girl

Author: Caitlin Moran

Year published: 2014

Who would like it: Anyone who has experienced being a teenage girl. Especially anyone who was particularly awkward. Especially especially if you found comfort in music, subculture, and being a bit of a cynical douche. Extra points if you grew up in an estate in a post-industrial UK city.  Alternatively, anyone who wants to understand teenage girls, with a healthy dose of humor.

Why should you read it: Caitlin Moran is just. So. Funny. I had to ban this book from public transportation and read it only in the safety of my own bed where I could laugh like an insane person in peace. Seriously. And beyond the humor, this book is so full of wisdom and love. All in all, it’s raunchy and doesn’t hold anything back, while taking on some huge themes – coming of age, gender and sexuality, identity, class, post-industrialization.

Don’t read if: You’re offended by the idea of teenage girls as sexual beings.

My favorite part: The break-up scene where the protagonist finally stands up for what she really wants – throwing together quotes from both Blade Runner and her father in a burning post-modern drunken diatribe.

A great quote: “Because what you are, as a teenager, is a small, silver, empty rocket. And you use loud music as fuel, and then the information in books as maps and coordinates, to tell you where you’re going.”

Where to get it: Anywhere, Google it. Buy it from your local bookstore. (Amazon has it, too).

Yes, There Really is a Kalamazoo

_kalamazoo1

Not enough words, but far too many. A thousand thoughts, so many emotions, with no way to speak them, to package them neatly in sentences.

The unspeakable horror, grief for the victims, the families.

Anger at a social, cultural, legislative reality that not only allows for but propagates these horrors time and time again. Resignation that this is only the latest chapter in a long story of hate. Revulsion that we all know it will happen again, maybe not here, maybe not now, but soon, and similarly.

Sadness that this is just one episode of violence and terror in a world filled with so much of it, that for some people this wouldn’t be news, wouldn’t be anything more than another day in the midst of many filled with dread. Rage again, at how we point our fears outside our borders until we can’t see the monsters in our midst.

A reminder that life is terrifying and random and cruel no how hard we try to be safe. A desire to hug my loved ones tight, live life and chase my dreams to the end.

And also sadness, sadness that the place I am from, the one with the name that has made countless people laugh with disbelief, the place that has poked fun at its own existence with t-shirts and pins and mousepads, that now this place has made the international news.

Kalamazoo, not world famous for its weird name.

Yes, there really is a Kalamazoo, and yes, it is so much more than this. But right now it’s just the latest place where a man picked up and fired a gun.

But Kalamazoo County is where there is a cul-de-sac I played street hockey on, where I skinned my knees falling off my Razor Scooter. It’s Rocketstar, and candy canes in Bronson Park, and driving down the highway listening to the Red Hot Chili Peppers. It’s the Air Zoo and beers at Bell’s Brewery and the wacky personalities at the Circle K.

It’s a great town, a beautiful town, like so many others that have been struck by similar tragedies across the US, victims to an epidemic of fear, of anger, of hate, one which we still haven’t found a cure for.

I finally finished watching Birdman.

Birdman-Movie-Emma-Stone-Sam-web

Be warned. There are spoilers in this. But only if you are seriously later than I am to watching this movie.

Usually, when there’s a movie playing on my computer screen, I have a lot of thoughts. Things like gender, sexuality, class, race, and sometimes, whether or not I should make popcorn.Birdman left me too dazed to consider these things. I was distracted by the dizzying madness of the cinematography, which leaves the whole movie looking like a long take and me feeling like I was perched inside the camera scooting around looking for some action. The lighting, the costumes, the set design, it’s all wonderfully grimy. The acting and the dialogue are exquisite. I’m not surprised by this. The movie met critical acclaim, what? A year ago now? I’m mainly surprised that I have nothing else to say about the movies’ themes, about the father-daughter relationship, the disturbing lack of meditation on deviant sexual acts, or the collision course of youth and old age, celebrity and art.

In fairness, the first full half of the movie I missed out on one of the movie’s greatest ironies.

Husband: Mentions something about Michael Keaton being in Birdman

Me: Wait….like….Batman? That’s him?

Husband:…………

Yeah that's Batman.

Yeah, that’s Batman.

It could be because I watched it in two sittings, too far apart to take in the full effect.

Or it could be just what is intended. I don’t know because I haven’t yet spent hours perusing things written by people more qualified than me to critique film. I do know that the ending left me wonderfully shocked and bewildered.

Me: Sits up straight in bed. WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT WHAT

Husband: …..

Me: Wait so either he can fly or she’s crazy too?

Husband: Yup I think she’s crazy too.