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notreallyelaine

notreallyelaine

Joined March 2019

review
notreallyelaine
Americanah | Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie
Pickpick

Got a little lost in this book. ROMANTIC - can‘t decide if it was refreshingly or predictably so.

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notreallyelaine
An American Marriage | Tayari Jones
Pickpick

Summer of fiction continues with this wrenching whirlwind. Feels too intimate to be read so hungrily but that‘s what I did. No one can sit on this book for more than three days. That‘s the kind of book it is.

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notreallyelaine
Pachinko | Min Jin Lee
Pickpick

An epic. This book made me quietly angry about how difficult it is to be a woman and be left alone. Poignant and tragic. You‘ll get lost in it then cry when it‘s over.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

I cried at the CRJ chapter on love and shame and Hanif‘s voice is in my head.

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notreallyelaine
Halal If You Hear Me: The Breakbeat Poets | Safia Elhillo, Fatimah Asghar
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Pickpick

Beautiful and almost painfully clear. I remember Erika L Sanchez once said writing her book felt like an emergency. Reading THIS book felt like an emergency. I closed it with an emotional hangover.

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notreallyelaine
Electric Arches | Eve L. Ewing
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I feel in awe of Ewing‘s power. This book was like going to church.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

I didn‘t understand the hype at first but BOY does this book get good. I was completely oblivious to the YLO‘s organizing history in Lincoln Park. And it‘s a rare housing history book that‘s not too wonky.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

Helpful both for examining my own behavior and for having the words and context to hold others accountable, especially older folks. A quick read.

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notreallyelaine
Mehso-so

This was tough to get through, a little jargon-y or academic-lite. I picked it as a primer on a subject I‘ve never studied and it does give a solid overview of the Zapatista movement and Zapatismo ideology, just not a very engaging one.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

I think I love like Frank O‘Hara, and that‘s probably not a good thing. No one writes love and loss w such sweet and wry vulnerability. The title poem was my favorite (“why should I share you? Why don‘t you get rid of someone else for a change?”) Closely followed by Mayakovsky (“be sick as I am sick”) and Sleeping on the Wing (“Curiosity, the passionate hand of desire “). I‘ve been on a poetry kick & this book fed me. Good for reckless romantics.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

I can‘t really explain this, but what I loved most about this book was how HONEST it felt. It was beautiful to see things I know (violence, harassment, mental breaks, having a complicated and sometimes unsympathetic relationship with your parents) and things I know of (poverty, the violence of border-crossing, intergenerational tension in immigrant families) written with such care. not usually a YA person but couldn‘t resist

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notreallyelaine
Citizen Illegal | Jose Olivarez
Pickpick

I haven‘t read a poetry book w structure in a long, long time, and this was the perfect start. I finished in 40 minutes but the words stayed w me. I loved the repetition of the “heaven” poem throughout - it kept the rhythm and nailed some really poignant points.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

I finished this in a single L ride and it was an EMOTIONAL L ride. Some of the poems felt a little dry, but the final (title) poem left me in tears. Want to reread.

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notreallyelaine
The Revolution Starts at Home: Confronting Intimate Violence Within Activist Communities | Leah Lakshmi Piepzna-Samarasinha, Ching-In Chen, Jai Dulani
Pickpick

necessary and difficult read. I learned a lot about the work survivors have already done, especially in disabled and immigrant communities. I also loved the emphasis on our shared responsibility for survivors‘ healing. Tbh, I was disheartened by the accountability methods - they just didn‘t seem like they worked, even though I think it‘s a huge feat to have strong enough community to be able to even try.

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notreallyelaine
Native Son | Richard Wright
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What stood out to me most is how little has changed in Chicago in almost a century. All the wealth is still extracted from the south + west sides and concentrated in fortified white enclaves. The city is still starkly and intentionally segregated, and those who maintain its segregation still blame their victims. Poor kids still grow up in cramped, cold, roach- and rat-infested apartments while their landlords get richer! This book made me angry.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

great book for organizers; a quick read. Loved the humility and discipline of someone who has been working in movements for what seems to me like a long, long time. Also made me want to learn more about the Haitian Revolution.

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notreallyelaine
Argonauts | Maggie Nelson
Pickpick

I didn‘t wanna like this book bc of the hype but I cried in Jewel during the hospital scene anyway. Beautiful, honest, intimate. I‘m a sucker for that nerdy Gen-X queer academic type. For whatever reason this book felt refreshing, almost old-fashioned, in its style and courage. Maybe I wouldn‘t like it as much on second read, but it packed an emotional first punch.

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notreallyelaine
Panpan

This book is SUPER voyeuristic and racist! I had to read this book in high school, recently reread and am appalled my school picked this book to introduce middle class kids to Chicago‘s public housing. Looking for good criticisms of this book.

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notreallyelaine
Panpan

This book was kinda voyeuristic, but it did make me realize I shouldn‘t have picked a book on the projects by someone who wasn‘t from the projects. Its most useful feature was its outlining of major public housing milestones in Chicago history, but the approach was weird and racist. Felt like it was trying to convince a white audience of the...horror? Humanity? Inevitability? of the rise and fall of Chicago‘s high rises.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

One of the best books I read last year. It changed how I move through cities and started me on a deep dive into anti-gentrification lit and organizing.

The New Orleans section rocked me most - I straight up did not realize the extent of the gory aftermath of Katrina before the book. I felt humbled by the resilience of the Black New Orleaners profiled, fighting for their kids against the truly genocidal gentrification of their city. Recommend.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

This book rocked me. The Iraq War section left me with a profound sense of disgust, esp reading a decade later. The anti-war movement died, the war architects retired to cushy book deals, and the rest of us settled into cultural amnesia. And we‘re STILL bombing ppl! Ugh. I really loved the closing message on taking the lead from affected communities already resisting and rebuilding. A must-read for anyone trying to understand just how we got here.

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notreallyelaine
Pickpick

Intoxicating, mostly because I saw so much of my own life in the subjects. I think an uncomfortable majority of white people in America see themselves in this book, yet the world it exposes is simultaneously so bizarre. I agreed w/ her analysis but I wish the book had taken a more militant tone and really put white wealth on trial. I don‘t read a lot of sociological studies so maybe that‘s a methodological limitation. A surprisingly quick read!

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review
notreallyelaine
Pickpick

This book lit a fire under me. Smarter people have already praised her style and analysis, but what jumped off my page is how fiercely Ewing loves her home and the people in it. The way she writes kids, their parents and families, teachers, Bronzeville - the love is powerful and palpable. It made the book, which is an overview of the organizing around the 2013 school closures, feel intimate. This is a deeply hopeful book. Must read.