#Charlottesville

I posted it on my Facebook, but I wanted to make sure everyone saw it. I don’t often get into politics on this blog – I typically save that for my personal social media – but this needs to be said. What happened in Charlottesville is not just heartbreaking, but ENRAGING. Nazis and White Supremacy are not an opinion that deserves a seat at the table. They need to be SMASHED. We literally FOUGHT A WAR about this.

Nazis literally murdered a woman in Charlottesville, and though they’re calling it murder, they’re not calling it terrorism. The police sat around in regular uniforms and gear while Nazis were marching with torches and assault rifles. But peaceful protests by black people get the riot gear? Fuck THAT racist double standard.

Here are the beliefs of this blog, in an easy-to-digest format:

Black Lives Matter.
Women’s Rights are Human Rights. (And so are every Minority’s.)
Love is Love.
No Human is Illegal.
Science is Real.
Kindness is Important, but Violence has its place, too.
God Probably Does Not Exist, and if he does, he doesn’t seem to care what we do. (That said, as long as you’re not forcing your religious beliefs on people that don’t share them, you’re cool.)

I am an atheist, socialist, feminist, angry-as-fuck white woman. (And yeah, I’m specifying white because I try to recognize my privilege, and I’m not going to gloss over it. We white women need to STAND THE FUCK UP and stop making WOC do all the real fucking work. Over half of us voted for Trump. TRUMP. We’re fucking responsible for this shit.)

I refuse to apologize for any of my beliefs. And I will not debate them.

Upcoming Books, a rare DNF, and Faire!

wolvesHi! Summer’s almost over (thank god, I’m so sick of this heat!) which means the Maryland Renaissance Festival is starting again soon! I’m not working the Fair nearly as much as I have the past two years, so I should be keeping up on at least the Saturday reviews, though my Tuesday posts might suffer. Between The Canadian Book Challenge, and the tempting books on my Litsy feed, though, I’ve been reading a lot! I’ve also started to get a few books from Goodreads giveaways, so you can look forward to a review of The Wolves of Dynamo, and The Awakening (which is also written by a Canadian author, so it doubles for the Canadian Challenge!) I’m always amused when I get a random book in the mail, since all the giveaways say you’ll be notified by e-mail….and you never are! Just surprise books in the mailbox! (Which I’m really not opposed to!)

I started to read Oryx and Crake – gave it 130 pages, in fact,  before I tossed it. It was too disconnected, and jumpy, and it just IRRITATED me. I loved The Handmaid’s Tale, I was excited to read more Atwood, but I couldn’t handle it. So that’s a rare Did Not Finish for me. There’s a Litsy read along for it this month, so I’m going to keep an eye on it and see if they convince me to give it another shot, but I doubt it.

darkmoneyAhead in the next month of reviews is a debut fantasy novel about a kingdom that’s lost its magic, an absolutely FANTASTIC London Steampunk Vampire/Werewolf series, a YA GLBT novel, and Station Eleven, a Canadian dystopia. I also have Dark Money requested from the library, but heavy nonfiction like that always takes me longer to read, so I’m not sure when I’ll post that review.

Also from the library currently I have The Courier, another Canadian dystopia; A Hundred Veils, about an American caught in the Iranian Revolution; The Last Neanderthal, a novel about an archeologist and the ancient people she’s studying; and What the Dead Leave Behind, “A Gilded Age Mystery.”

courierAs you can probably see, I’m trying to diversify my reading away from just sci-fi/fantasy and romances! The Canadian Book Challenge is helping with that, and I’m making a concentrated effort to pick up more diverse books in general. (Litsy is also making my TBR list absolutely GINORMOUS.)

In a couple of weeks I’ll be making a trip to the Enoch Pratt Free Library in Baltimore, one of the oldest free public library systems in the United States. (Established in 1882!) I’ll take pictures and make a post dedicated to that visit! Anyone in Maryland can get a library card for their system, so I’ll also be doing that and gaining access to another library system besides my county system. I’ll probably mostly use it for ebooks, but there’s a branch close enough to swing by and pick up books if I need to, as well.

 

Book Review: This Common Secret

commonsecThis Common Secret
Susan Wicklund with Alan Kesselheim
Memoir
268 pages
Published 2007

Let me begin by saying I am a feminist. I am pro-choice. This was a difficult read because it talks about the lengths people will go to infringe on the rights of women like me to make that choice. Dr. Wicklund goes into detail about the dangers she personally has faced as an abortion provider – from stalking, to assault, to arson and death threats. The murders of Dr. Hill and Dr. Britton are mentioned, and the attempted murder of Dr. Tiller. (An attempt on Dr. Tiller’s life was successful two years after the publication of the book.) She resorted to wildly varying routines, different methods of transportation, elaborate disguises, as well as hiring private security guards, none of it really alleviating her fear that she could be next.

Running throughout the entire book is Dr. Wicklund’s concern for her patients. She is a dedicated, compassionate woman who wants nothing but the best for the women in her care. In many cases, that’s not actually abortion. One of the things that makes her an excellent doctor is ferreting out what is really in her patients’ best interests.

The book is mercifully short; I have no doubt she had many more stories she could have told, but the topic is brutal and hard to read, and keeping it concise and on-message was well done. I still had to set it down and play some mindless video games when I was done, as it was a little overwhelming.

In the ten years since the book was published, nothing has really changed. The New York Times has a short read on the major acts of violence against abortion clinics and providers. The National Abortion Federation has a longer database on all acts of violence against clinics. Their summary is eye-opening – all statistics below are from 1977 to present. (They have it broken down further by decade and year on a downloadable pdf.)

Murders – 11
Attempted Murders – 26
Bombing – 42
Arson – 186
Attempted Bombing/Arson – 98
Invasion – 411
Vandalism – 1643
Trespassing – 2925
Acid Attacks – 100
Anthrax/Bioterrorism Threats – 663
Assault & Battery – 239
Death Threats – 545
Kidnapping – 4
Burglary – 255
Stalking – 583

That doesn’t include the pure amounts of hate mail, picketers, hate mail, and blockades. This is what providers persevere through to give us health care. To provide a LEGAL PROCEDURE so women don’t die from performing it on themselves in an unsafe manner.

This Common Secret also touches on why people keep it a secret. Why people don’t talk about their abortion. And why people should. If more people realize that the women that get abortions are your neighbor, your sister, your grandmother – not just that “whore that slept around” – although she, too, deserves an abortion if that is the right choice for her. Maybe they would rethink their opposition to it.

I’m honestly probably not giving this book justice – it’s a decade old, but could have been written yesterday. And I am infuriated by anti-choice assholes.

From the cover of This Common Secret:

Susan Wicklund was twenty-two-years old and juggling three jobs in Portland, Oregon when she endured a difficult abortion. Partly in response to that experience, she later embarked on an improbable life journey devoted to women’s reproductive health, attending both undergraduate and medical school as a single mother. It was not until she became a doctor that she realized how many women share the ordeal of unwanted pregnancies – and how hidden this common experience remains.

Here is an emotional and dramatic story covering twenty years on the front lines of the abortion war. For years Wicklund commuted between clinics in different states and disguised herself from protesters – often wearing a bulletproof vest and carrying a .38 caliber revolver. Her daughter, Sonja, experienced seeing wanted posters with her mother’s face on them and riding to school in police cars to get through the human blockades at the end of their driveway.

Wicklund also tells the stories of the women she serves, women whose options are increasingly limited: counseling sessions in which women confide that they had used combinations of herbs – or worse – to attempt a miscarriage; or patients who have been protesters, but then find themselves bearing an unwanted pregnancy; and women who claim to want an abortion, but nothing they say or do convinces Wicklund that the decision is whole-hearted.

This Common Secret brims with the compassion and urgency of a woman who has witnessed the struggles of real patients. It also offers an honest portrait of the clinics that anti-abortion activists portray as little more than slaughterhouses for the unborn. As we enter the most fevered political fight over abortion that America has ever seen, Wicklund’s raw and revealing memoir shows us what is at stake.

 

#90sInJuly – July 11 – My Hero

It greatly amuses me that today is “My Hero” and I’m not actually going to post a book today. Because, you see, it is my tenth wedding anniversary! Ten years ago today, my husband and I ran to the courthouse and made it official before he shipped out to the Marine Corps. Six months later, we had a more formal ceremony with lots of friends and family, but this was the real one. Unfortunately, life has gotten in the way this year, and we don’t have any big plans to celebrate – it’s probably going to be pizza and videogames tonight, LOL – but we’ll be having fun together, and that’s what counts.

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The #90sInJuly index post can be found here.

Canadian Book Challenge and other Miscellany

No book review today, unfortunately, the last few days have been more chaotic than I was expecting. But next week I’ll be reviewing The Crown’s Fate, the sequel to The Crown’s Game, a duology about Russian enchanters serving the Tsar. Spoiler: The Crown’s Game was absolutely amazing, and so far, Fate is turning out to be a worthy successor!

I have signed up for The 11th annual Canadian Book Challenge! I’m really excited to expand my reading outside of my normal comfort zone (urban fantasy, high fantasy, etc) and try to read more multiculturally. I’ve been researching books by First Nations authors, but the hard part seems to be finding books my library actually has! It’s supposed to be 13 Canadian books (set in Canada/about Canada/written by Canadians) in the next year. (Canada Day to Canada Day.) So if all goes well, one of my book reviews each month should be about a Canadian book!

20170708_141810In other news, my husband and I helped a friend vend at Anthrocon in Pittsburgh last weekend, and that was an extraordinary amount of fun! I got a little bit of reading time in the hotel room while she was at parties, but I spent the largest amount of my weekend selling leather masks to people. She had a record weekend, so it was pretty awesome. All of the hotels and restaurants near the conference center go all out for the Con – our hotel keys have original art of a derpy-looking unicorn! I got a couple of chances to walk around the vendor room, and there were a couple of small publishing houses there, but (and this makes perfect sense, it’s Anthrocon, after all) they catered exclusively to Anthro writing. I thought about picking up a book anyway, but I just didn’t see anything that called to me. I don’t mind fantasy whose world involves anthro animals – I loved Redwall, after all – but all of the blurbs felt much more like “this book is about anthropomorphic animals doing stuff because they’re anthropomorphic” than “they just happen to be humanoid animals doing things.” It’s a small distinction, I suppose. And for the main audience at the Con, not an important one. (I’m obviously not the target audience.)

I have a lot of interesting books heading my way in my local library system, including a biography of Jon Stewart (of The Daily Show fame), a memoir by an abortion doctor, and a retelling of Captain Hook’s origin story. Exciting things to come!

 

#90sinJuly – July 4 – No Rain

“And I don’t understand why I sleep all day
And I start to complain that there’s no rain
And all I can do is read a book to stay awake
And it rips my life away but it’s a great escape
Escape, escape, escape”

Oooo I identify with this. I’m hypothyroid, and despite being medicated, I still have bad fatigue days sometimes. Sometimes that means I can’t pull myself out of bed to go do things I’d planned to do. I tend to write and schedule a bunch of blog posts on my good days, so even if I have a bad fatigue day, something still posts on the blog here. So this is my book today – it’s taught me a lot about my condition and what I can do to mitigate it.20170626_134908