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The New Mind of the South: A Review

Here is a book that attempts to pick apart the fundamental contradictions of the American South, with mixed success. Tracy Thompson’s The New Mind of the South seeks to find truth in that slice of America that puzzles everyone outside it. I must admit to a particular fascination with the South, myself, both because of its continued importance to American politics and the economy, and also thanks to my personal connections to it.

Life, Death, and Daytripper

I recently finished Fábio Moon and Gabriel Bá’s graphic novel, daytripper. Now, I’m here with some thoughts on it. There’s no questioning that daytripper is a beautiful book. The drawing style is detailed, not fixated on realism but authenticity–designed to give every place a sense of purpose and identity. The color scheme is often muted, sometimes ethereal, evoking the quality of a watercolor effect. This fits perfectly, as the book itself presents a nonlinear trip through the memories of its protagonist, Brás de Oliva Domingos.

The New Jim Crow: A Review

Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow is already a national bestseller, so it certainly doesn’t need another positive review. But here’s one anyway! The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness was first released in 2010, but came to my attention over the past couple of years as the Black Lives Matter movement really got going. I had been on my “must read” list for a while, and so I finally got around to reading it.

Nature in Verse: A Review of "Treasures"

I’ve always been more of a prose guy than a poetry guy. I don’t write or read poetry very often. But with a copy of Donny Barilla’s Treasures in hand, I feel compelled to do more of both. I ended up with Treasures in a somewhat roundabout way. I made a number of friends on a writing site several years ago, and while I eventually left that site behind, I stayed in touch with many of those people.

Chairman Mao was a Big Jerk

No figure of the 20th century had more of an influence over China than its Communist leader, Mao Zedong. Years after Mao’s death, his personal physician of over 20 years–Li Zhisui–published a lengthy memoir of his experiences with Mao. The Private Life of Chairman Mao had been sitting on my bookshelf for some time. It’s an intimidating volume, clocking in at well over 600 pages of dense prose. Despite its length, I found it an immensely compelling read.

Sausage Party is Very Confused

If you knew that heaven was a lie, would you be compelled to tell everyone, or just make a bunch of dick jokes? Sausage Party’s answer is “both.” As usual, spoilers follow! This is a very strange film that doesn’t seem to know what it wants to say. The first ten minutes appear to be the result of a self-imposed challenge to see how many times the word “fuck” can be uttered.

Archivist Wasp: When Ghosts Speak

I’ve been trying to give some different kinds of novels my attention this year. Nicole Kornher-Stace’s Archivist Wasp is one such foray. It was OK, but I was left wondering why there wasn’t more to it. There are spoilers ahead, so be warned! Archivist Wasp is set on Earth in an undetermined future. Society has clearly long ago collapsed. The great cities of world civilizations have crumbled into dust. Wasp is an Archivist, as the title suggests, whose job it is to hunt ghosts.

Suicide Squad: It's Bad to be Bad

Suicide Squad isn’t very good. Here is a somewhat spoilery review, in my inimitable style. Let me preface by saying it’s not nearly the worst movie I’ve ever seen. Truly bad films can be burned into one’s memory, becoming unforgettable mistakes. Some are so uniquely bad, they become cult phenomena, see: The Room. Suicide Squad is nothing like that. Nobody’s going to remember this movie in ten years. We’ll be lucky if anyone can recall it in half that time.

A History of the World in a Postmodern Novel

Julian Barnes’ A History of the World in 10 1⁄2 Chapters is a great book, just so you know. I apologize for having two reviews in the same week. It wasn’t intentional, that’s just how these things go sometimes. (The other one is here, in case you missed it.) _A History of the World in 10 1⁄2 Chapters _is a postmodern novel, which might make it sound inaccessible, but it’s quite the opposite.

When Gods Look Away

Having recently played through the game Gods Will Be Watching, I thought I’d give it a review and some analysis. Major story spoilers ahead! Gods Will Be Watching (hereafter GWBW) is a point-and-click adventure thriller, according to developer Devolver Digital. In a futuristic science fiction setting, you play as Sergeant Abraham Burden, originally of the Constellar Federation, and at other times a mercenary working for the Everdusk Corporation, and still other times a member of the terrorist group known as Xenolifer.