Everything is The Worst. [PINNED POST]

August 17th, 2017 4:06 pm by Kelly Garbato

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Mini-Review: How to Make Friends with a Ghost by Rebecca Green (2017)

October 20th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

The Cutest

five out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Library Thing’s Early Reviewers program. This review contains spoilers!)

Written in the form of a how-to guide, Rebecca Green’s How to Make Friends with a Ghost is, in a word, adorable. Like, it just doesn’t get any cuter than this. (Seriously, just check out this photo on the author’s website. ADORBS!)

2017-09-30 - Friends with a Ghost - 0011 [flickr]

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For the Casper-curious, Green advises readers on how to attract a spectral friend, keep him entertained and content, and protect him from harm. As it turns out, ghosts aren’t all that different from us: they enjoy nature, dancing, reading, socializing, and personal hygiene. But they do have some special needs; ghosts, for example, look a lot like various white fluffy foodstuffs, so it’s easy to nom on them without even knowing. And even though they resemble tissue, boogers are not a ghost’s best friend.

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tweets for 2017-10-19

October 20th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 19th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 18th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: Sorrow of the Earth: Buffalo Bill, Sitting Bull and the Tragedy of Show Business by Éric Vuillard (2017)

October 17th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

What did I just read?

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review. Trigger warning for violence against Native Americans, including genocide.)

However, the real spark was elsewhere. The central idea of the Wild West Show lay somewhere else. The aim was to astound the public with an intimation of suffering and death which would never lose its grip on them. They had to be drawn out of themselves, like little silver fish in a landing net. They had to be presented with human figures who shriek and collapse in a pool of blood. There had to be consternation and terror, hope, and a sort of clarity, an extreme truth cast across the whole of life. Yes, people had to shudder—a spectacle must send a shiver through everything we know, it must catapult us ahead of ourselves, it must strip us of our certainties and sear us. Yes, a spectacle sears us, despite what its detractors say. A spectacle steals from us, and lies to us, and intoxicates us, and gives us the world in every shape and form. And sometimes, the stage seems to exist more than the world, it is more present than our own lives, more moving and more persuasive than reality, more terrifying than our nightmares.

There’s no mistaking the sound of iniquity on the move.

Originally published in France in 2014 (under the title Tristesse de la terre), Sorrow of the Earth is the first of Éric Vuillard’s novels to be translated into English. A work of historical fiction, it tells the story of Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West show, which traveled throughout the United States and Europe, under various names, for thirty years around the turn of the century (1883–1913).

While the show featured a number of performers and attractions – including Annie Oakley and her husband, Frank Butler; trick shooter Lillian Smith; Calamity Jane; and reenactments of the riding of the Pony Express trail and stagecoach robberies, to name a few – Vuillard centers the narrative on Native Americans, to great effect. The Wild West show employed a number of Indigenous performers, most notably Sitting Bull, as well as survivors of the Wounded Knee Massacre. Perversely, these last were hired in part to perform in a reenactment of their own victimization; only instead of a massacre, the audience witnessed a battle: “the Buffalo Bill interpretation of the facts,” to quote Vuillard. Likewise, in Cody’s reimaging of the Battle of the Little Bighorn, none other than Buffalo Bill himself swoops in at the last moment to avenge Custer and his men.

In other words, the show glorified its star and ringmaster, while rewriting history and vilifying the oppressed Native populations. To add insult to injury, Indigenous people were recruited to assist in their own denigration.

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tweets for 2017-10-16

October 17th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-10-15

October 16th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 15th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-10-13

October 14th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Hollow Girl by Hillary Monahan (2017)

October 13th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

A shrewd interrogation of rape culture – now with dark magic!

four out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free electronic ARC for review through NetGalley. Trigger warning for violence, including sexual harassment, stalking, and rape.)

“The single most important thing to know about magic is that there is always a price. Making the impossible possible is difficult, as it should be, so I must weigh results against what I am willing to pay. It is never a gratuitous thing. This makes some people—people like Silas—disbelievers. They see my unwillingness to perform on command as a sign that the magic is untrue. Let them drown in their ignorance. When it is time for them to know a witch’s wrath, they will know it—and there will be no mistaking it.”

Seventeen-year-old Bethan Jones is a diddicoy: born to a Romany mother and a gadjo father, she was left in the care of her caravan’s wise woman, Drina, after the death of her mother Eira during childbirth. Her apprenticeship under the drabarni should have kept her safe – and might have, under other circumstances. But the chieftain’s son, Silas, has set his sights on Bethan. Silas is spoiled, entitled, and cruel; a dangerous powderkeg of toxic masculinity and male privilege that his father Wen (himself a recovering teenage bully) lacks the fortitude to extinguish.

So it’s no surprise when Silas’s sexual harassment and stalking of Bethan escalates to rape. Silas and his four cronies ambush Bethan and her would-be beau, Martyn, on the way home from market. The assault leaves Bethan physically and psychologically scarred – and desperate to save Martyn, who’s left for dead after the attack. With the help of Gran and her dark magic, Bethan just might be able to resurrect Martyn, while exacting revenge on her assailants too. She has three days to collect a finger, an eye, a nose, a tooth, and an ear from the five boys. What becomes of them after the harvest is entirely up to Bethan.

I was super-excited when I first heard of The Hollow Girl. Lately I’m really into rape revenge stories; as I said in my review of A Guide for Murdered Children, if done right, rape revenge stories can provide a satisfying outlet/alternative to real life, where rape is more likely to be excused and minimized than punished and condemned. Throw in the supernatural twist and diverse cast of characters, and I’m sold.

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tweets for 2017-10-12

October 13th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 12th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

tweets for 2017-10-10

October 11th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato
  • RT @yashar: Ronan Farrow had the audio of Weinstein admitting assault months ago, but that wasn't enough for NBC News…so he went to the N… ->
  • RT @Amy_Siskind: Shared by a friend w/family in Puerto Rico. From today. How Americans in remote areas are trying to get food. https://t.co… ->
  • RT @anewlookonbooks: Ready for a Halloween inspired giveaway? RT&FW for a chance to win a $10 Barnes & Noble giftcard + 3-4 themed treats!… ->
  • RT @MikalebRoehrig: I'm celebrating my debut's birthday (belated) with a GIVEAWAY! RT + follow me by 10/17 to win a signed ARC of WHITE RAB… ->
  • RT @TheRoot: By not standing with Jemele Hill, ESPN has chosen to stand on the wrong side of history https://t.co/cAWOkNHo8e https://t.co/G… ->
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Twenty Little Ralphie Things

October 10th, 2017 12:00 pm by Kelly Garbato

2013-05-07 - An Afternoon at the Park - 0036

Dear Ralphie,

I love you so very much, my darling boy. If your atoms happen to bump up against those of Dad – or Jayne, Peedee, Kaylee, or Ozzy – tell them I said the same.

Miss you, little bear.

– Mom

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tweets for 2017-10-09

October 10th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 9th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 8th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

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October 7th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Book Review: The Torture Report: A Graphic Adaptation by Sid Jacobson & Ernie Colón (2017)

October 6th, 2017 7:00 am by Kelly Garbato

Important, though occasionally repetitive and hard to follow.

three out of five stars

(Full disclosure: I received a free copy of this book for review through Goodreads. Trigger warning for violence, including torture.)

The Committee Study of the Central Intelligence Agency’s Detention and Interrogation Program – otherwise known as “The Torture Report” – is the result of a three-and-a-half-year bipartisan Senate investigation into the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the CIA in the wake of 9/11. Weighing in at 6,000 pages, the entirety of the report has yet to be released; rather, in December 9, 2014, the SSCI released a 525-page version containing key findings and an executive summary of the full report.

Among the committee’s twenty key findings:

* The CIA’s use of its enhanced interrogation techniques was not an effective means of acquiring intelligence or gaining cooperation from detainees.

* The CIA’s justification for the use of its enhanced interrogation techniques rested on inaccurate claims of their effectiveness.

* The interrogations of CIA detainees were brutal and far worse than the CIA represented to policymakers and others.

* The CIA repeatedly provided inaccurate information to the Department of Justice (DOJ), impeding a proper legal analysis of the CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program.

* The CIA has actively avoided or impeded congressional oversight of the program.

* The CIA’s operation and management of the program complicated, and in some cases impeded, the national security missions of other Executive Branch agencies.

* The CIA coordinated the release of classified information to the media, including inaccurate information concerning the effectiveness of the CIA’s enhanced interrogation techniques.

* CIA detainees were subjected to coercive interrogation techniques that had not been approved by the Department of Justice or had not been authorized by CIA Headquarters.

* The CIA did not conduct a comprehensive or accurate accounting of the number of individuals it detained, and held individuals who did not meet the legal standard for detention. The CIA’s claims about the number of detainees held and subjected to its enhanced interrogation techniques were inaccurate.

* The CIA rarely reprimanded or held personnel accountable for serious or significant violations, inappropriate activities, and systematic and individual management failures.

* The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program was inherently unsustainable and had effectively ended by 2006 due to unauthorized press disclosures, reduced cooperation from other nations, and legal and oversight concerns.

* The CIA’s Detention and Interrogation Program damaged the United States’ standing in the world, and resulted in other significant monetary and non-monetary costs.

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tweets for 2017-10-05

October 6th, 2017 2:00 am by Kelly Garbato