wow, two newsletters in one week? yes, I’m back and it’s a party. well, it’s a single book that I’ve written about, but I have something equally exciting to talk about hopefully so we will be able to make it worth your while this week. Personally, I am chugging along—when I wrote last, I was struggling to get my stuff together, and this week continued to be rough on the reading front; I did a few things, but not as consistent as I want to be. But it’s a new week, and I already put in some time today to make sure I read what I want to and work through the books I have (especially uh my library book, oops! I have so many holds from the library that have come in, because the branch I use has curbside pickup for holds,) and I hope to keep that up this week! I have weekly goals and one of this week’s goals is to read every day, which I haven’t done as much recently because I’ve been sick or had too much brain fog to make it work. But onto the cool stuff!
I know I already have a little book club going (more on what we’re reading this month!) BUT I learned today about Study and Struggle, a four month long political education and community project meant to connect folks with education and action around prison abolition, with the focused goals specifically around abolishing prisons in Mississippi. It has guided curriculum, and I am committing to hosting a group. We will meet on the second and fourth weeks of the month to discuss readings—many of which are selections (not as long as books!), all of which are free digitally through their curriculum pages. If you are interested, let me know!
So with that exciting thing out there, let’s move to
The Book I Wrote About This Week
"ai, is it a smart emotional choice to read this book at this time in your life?" perhaps not, but honestly if we move away from Madden grappling with her father's presences and absences (her father died when she was in her twenties) what I kept coming back to about this book was a tender portrayal of the women in her life, from her mother as her mother struggled with family secrets and her own addictions to a variety of substances, to her friends, to the women who she dated and by whom she was taken care. It was just... folks I love women. I don't know a better way to phrase it, but I love women and I think in a world where we often fight to have even one single woman appear in media, and when multiple women appear they often show up in competition with one another (I did just today share Dar Williams's "As Cool as I Am" as an example of the first step towards loving women, which is refusing to see them as your competition) we just so so rarely get to see women written about--especially as friends--with the kind of complicated tenderness that Madden does here.
I just generally was blown away by it. The Tribe of Fatherless Girls is not about the lack of fathers, exactly, but what women and girls do to care for one another in a world that harms them over and over, that has destabilized their lives enough that they can only cling to one another. I don't want to like wax poetic about the trauma of the women Madden writes about in this book, but I was just in awe of the ways that the girls and women Madden writes about come together and support each other in a world that offered them no reprieve or real support. And really it was just that I was amazed that the writing left them space to be broken and sad and pretty fucked up, while also loving one another and struggling in the world. I just. I love women and I love the way Madden writes about them and I would love to read a thousand more portrayals of women like this, the hard work, the care when you yourself also need care. Maybe I just need to read more books about women, oops, but this was so refreshing and beautiful.
Resolution Check In
100 books: 70 books! Maintaining my 12 books ahead of schedule, and hopefully will keep going. Only 30 books left! Which looks like so many, oops, but really isn’t, all things considered!
10 books of poetry: 2/10 yikes! But I keep putting books of poetry on hold at the library so I have some stuff coming up! It’s very exciting!
Discworld: 2/10! Not sure I can recover this one exactly, but hey we’re still trying our best!
Bible: DONE! War and Peace: DONE!!
Moby Dick: I'm about to meet Ahab!!! Get excited!!! I’m ready!!
YOT/LBC/S&S: The book club that has already met is meeting Angela Davis’s Are Prisons Obsolete next, so that is what I will start, which helps because when Study and Struggle starts, the first week’s readings are some excerpts from it, so if you want to join us, you can get ahead!
And that’s it for this week! Again, let me know if you’re interested in joining me for Study and Struggle starting in September, let me know; they suggest capping the group at 15, so let me know ASAP if you want to join with me! (You can also start your own group if you want!) If you want in on our discussion of ALL of Are Prisons Obsolete (which you can find a PDF of for free) also let me know and I can get you connected to our group for that. I believe right now the guess is for our meeting to be Sunday, August 30, but I will keep folks updated through this if that changes!
If you want to keep tabs on my reading, you can be my friend on the StoryGraph by searching for user aimiller, or follow me on twitter @fadesintointent, or on instagram @sonofahurricane. Or you can reply to this email and I will see it! Thank you so much for reading—it’s a fun exercise for me and it frankly surprises me that people get anything out of it, but thank you anyway! I hope you have a good week—take care of yourself and each other!