Chris' Fish Place

Thoughts on things, mostly books.




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Essentail Reading Add Ons

I'm still keeping to lesser know writers or books in general.  (I mean, I think it goes without saying that LOTR is in my personal canon.  But it gets so much love).


1.Thor by Wayne Smith

Werewolf novel told from the viewpoint of a dog.  So damn good.


2. Tales from the Haunted South by Tiya Miles

This wonderful work of non-fiction looks at how ghost tourism makes use of slave narratives and ghost tours/stories that feature slaves.  As someone who loves ghost folklore, I say this is a really eye opening, thought provoking wonderful piece of work.


3.Love Graphic Novel Series by Frederic Bremaud

Pretty much a series of graphic novels about animals doing things for love.  No dialogue.  The second volume is the best, in my opinion.


4. Jacob I Have Loved by Katherine Paterson

As the oldest child, I kept having to read stories about how the youngest child was always the chosen one.  Paterson nails being an older child in this young adult novel.


5. Sister Citizen by Melissa Harry-Parris, Against Our Will by Susan Brownmiller, Rape is Rape by Jody Raphael

Forget Naomi Wolf.  These works by these women should be on every feminists reading list.  Brownmiller is slightly dated but still important.  Raphael's work is more recent.


6. Geometry of Love by Margaret Visser

This is about why a church is made the way it is.


7. Anything by Alberto Manguel when he is writing about libraries or books


8. Peter Ackroyd's non fiction about London, in particular his London A Biography.  Additionally his Albion which is about the English imagination.

FYI - on Librarything

if you are in the Dc area, Librarything staff are going to be at Busboys and Poets tomorrow at 6.30.  They are also offering (via the Librarything website) free exhibit hall passes for the ALA conference.

Buzzfeed wrote another Hale article

If you want to be outrages this morning, you can find it here


Updated - the feminist group I'm part of on Facebook just posted a link to this article.  I'm not sure why.

Non Book Post

I discovered Tubi.  They have Aaron Pederson's Circuit.  :sigh:.  Happy, happy.

Flat Earth: A History of Strange Tales, Bizarre Beliefs, and Conspiracy Theories about the Earth's Surface - Charles River Editors

This is actually a pretty good overview of the Flat Earth theory/myth. Short and quick but it is one of Charles River Editors better offerings. The writer walked the line of showing how the theory was wrong but did not name call.

The Punjab: The History of the Punjabis and the Contested Region on the Border of India and Pakistan - Charles River Editors

It is a pretty good overview, but the beginning bit is word for word from other CRE books about Alexander.

Abydos: The History and Legacy of the Ancient Egyptian Holy City and Burial Site - Charles River Editors

This is a good overview, but almost half the book is a history of Osiris. This does make sense, but makes it less of a history of the city.

Additionally, while I can understand why CRE uses the same wording in multiple books, I find it irksome. I am not talking about when they offer combined editions, but when a huge part of one history, say about Osiris, is used word for word in another book, like say Abydos.

I know it makes sense from a money point of view. And it's not plaragism. But if CRE wants people to buy the works instead of picking them up for free, I think they need to stop doing this. 2.99 for a book that is almost 50% of another book you might have already read is steep.

If Pablo had been a woman, he would have been forgotten.

Life with Picasso - Fran├žoise Gilot
There is a musical titled, La Vie en Bleu -Life in Blue - and it is about Picasso. It’s actually a pretty good musical, even if it is about a douchebag. Because the one thing you learn reading this book is that he might have been a famous/great painter but he was a douche.

No, having lots of lovers does not make you a douche. Nope. It is abusing said lovers.

I mean, he held a cigar on her cheek.

Okay, okay. Gilot’s memoir is strange. On one hand it feels like she knows that the relationship was not healthy, so it reads in part like a woman coming to realize the truth about her relationship. Gilot seems to be aware of this because she notes why she does things that meant not be healthy. How she cannot refuse a challenge, or something she sees as a challenge. And it is telling that the friend of hers that is present in the early part of the book disappears.

But on the other hand, Gilot seems to be taking care to point out that she was far different, say better, than the other women in Picasso’s life. She isn’t as crazy, she’s more accommodating, smarter, better matched.

So, she basically proves that Picasso is douche because she follows his manipulations. I mean, if his woman ever had ganged up on him, he would have been so dead.

Yet, the book also presents a time and place, so it is interesting, and extremely well written.

First Native American Poet Laurate (for the US)

She Had Some Horses - Joy Harjo

Joy Harjo just got named Poet Laurate for the US.  (The US version serves for a year and is appointed by the Librarian of Congress).


If you haven't checked out her poetry or her music, do so!

Review of dual language edition

I Am Not a Number - Jenny Kay Dupuis, Kathy Kacer, Gillian Newland

Illustrations by Gillian Newland
Translation by Muriel Sawyer and Geraldine McLeod
Contributions by Tory Fisher

Disclaimer: I received a digital version of this book via Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. The book, however, had been on my tbr shelf as the English only edition has been out since 2016. Additionally, I cannot speak to the accuracy of the translation into Nishnaabemwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect.

Shortly before I got approved for this galley, The Final Report of National Inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls was released in Canada. It provoked various reactions including, predictably, people getting upset about the use of the word genocide. Yet, when you look at the history of colonialization in both Canada and America, you reach the conclusion what other world can be used. It wasn’t just simply killing in terms of a warfare of taking land but also the attempted (sometimes wholly or partly successful) destruction of culture.

This is what Dupuis and Kacer’s book illustrates. The story is based on the real life of Dupuis’s grandmother Irene, who along with two of her brothers, was forcibly taken to a residential school where her native language, Ojibway, and culture. And if you are thinking that doesn’t sound pleasant, it’s not.

If you have read anything about the Residential schools, even in passing than you know that to say they were hotbeds of abuse is an understatement. This a children’s book, and so Irene’s experiences, while not sugar coated, are not as graphic as they would have been in a young adult novel. It is important to note that the writing and art make it clear that while the physical abuse was painful, also painful, perhaps more so, was the attack on culture and belief. This is particularly true of where Irene is forced to have her hair cut.

The book also speaks to the strength of family ties, not only between parents and children but between the children themselves. While not all the nuns are sadistic, even the nice one’s form part of the power structure that is determined to “transform” First Nations children into Western (white) children. Such people might not be physically abusive but they can be harmful in a different way, and the book does show this.

There is an afterword and historical notes at the end. Dupuis tells the reader more about her family and grandmother. There is also information about the Residential schools. However, there is not a further reading list, and I wonder if this because there are so few children’s books about the subject or if it is simply an oversight.

The layout of this edition includes the Nishnaabenwin (Ojibwe) Nbisiing dialect version first, followed by the English version. This is true from the title, to story, to afterword. This layout is wonderful. The only thing I might add, might be a pronunciation guide. According to the translation note at the beginning of the book, the translation is important not only because it is the language that Irene was forbidden to and punished for speaking at the school, but also because it is also to create space for Indigenous speakers in children’s literature as well adding to community literature. This reasoning would speak to not having a pronunciation guide (why would Indigenous Speakers need it) but considering the dual language of the book, it could easily be used in a majority non-Indigenous class, in which case the guide would be helpful.

Princeless Volume 5: Make Yourself - Jeremy Whitley

This one shifts the focus a bit.  We are introduced to Bedelia's family - basically the dwarven side which includes the difference between male and female dwarves as well as queer couples.  This leads to Adrienne and Bedelia splitting up because Bedelia wants to visit her mother.  Adrienne uses the break to ask questions about sexuality which was handled quite well.  The first part of the collection is a beautiful story about Adrienne coming to terms with hair.  I wish I had read this when one my students had written a research paper about natural hair because I really think she would have liked this.


The second focus is on Adrienne's brother Devin and his quest to save his mother.  He is aided by a new team of friends which includes a girl wolf-shifter as well as a prince and a elf girl.  Devin is great because he shows intelligence and creatively are just as important as the ability to whack things.

Good installment

Princeless: Be Yourself - Jeremy Whitley

I love the goblins in this.  We get a bit more of Sparky's back story.  The book deals with abusive relationships, or at least in such a way that is okay for young readers.  If you are upset about someone mooning over Edward and his stalker friends, this is a cure.


There is a bit about using monsters.  And the goblin line about politics is well worth the cost.

Cinderella Story

Sorrow - Saiteru S.
Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book via the publisher in exchange for a fair and honest review.

Sorrow is a retelling or to be more accurate a continuation of Cinderella. The story is told in prose poetry and poetry, designed as messages and letters sent to various people or a newspaper report.

What Saiteru S. does is continue the story of Cinderella while addressing and mediating on the questions of love and abuse as well as duty. This is done though letters and telegrams that Cinderella sends to various people in her story.

In doing so, Saiteru has combined various Cinderella variants. The story moves far beyond the Disney version with singing mice. What also makes the work stand out is the brief, bare outline that is used. It is in some ways more of an internal monologue, yet the varied letters and reports bring a different look to Cinderella, one that is not seen very often.

The frame, of a discovery of a mummy with a glass shoe, works quite well and plays with the idea of the truth. If a Cinderella exists in most culture, is there one true Cinderella idea that is being used to great effect. The not fully revealing of what happened works with the conceit and makes the story more powerful. Saiteru’s Cinderella is hardly a shy and retiring type. It is her connection to the kingdom that also raises the questions of the ability to rule and the structure of families that are not fully addressed in many Cinderella folk and fairy stories.

This is a lovely and powerful reimagining of Cinderella. I look forward to more in this series.

Review of 1-2

Niobe She is Death #1 - Sebastain A. Jones, Amandla Stenberg

Excellent continuation of Niobe's story. A bit darker but wonderful. Some of the inking(?) of some of the script should be darker though.


But there is pretty of action and struggle to find and know oneself.