Revelation by C. J. Sansom
Diary Of An Autodidact
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2d ago
Source of book: Borrowed from the library   I discovered Sansom’s Matthew Shardlake series nine years ago, after a legal colleague introduced me to them. Since then, I have occasionally added one to my reading list - I am a sucker for a good mystery, and these are, shall we say, far above average.    Sadly, Sansom recently passed due to cancer, and there will be no more of these books forthcoming.    I have previously blogged about Dissolution, Dark Fire, and Sovereign.    One comment that I have seen about the series (although I can’t remember who said it ..read more
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La Cage aux Folles (Ovation Theatre 2024)
Diary Of An Autodidact
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2d ago
I grew up watching classic Looney Tunes, and my dad was a big fan of MASH. So, let’s just say that drag was nothing out of the ordinary, and I do not remember it being a huge screaming deal.    These days, alas, anything that might possibly touch the third rail of gender fluidity or gay sex causes Right Wingers to absolutely lose their shit. The Culture Wars(™) are in full scorched-earth mode, and drag queens seem an easy target to those who need a vulnerable community to destroy to satiate (for now) their hate.    Fortunately, even in Bakersfield (home of the Truck Nutz an ..read more
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Testimony by Dmitri Shostakovich and Solomon Volkov
Diary Of An Autodidact
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1w ago
Source of book: I own this   First, let’s get the controversy out of the way. According to Solomon Volkov, he met with Shostakovich multiple times during the end of his life, and obtained the material that became this book. He then had Shostakovich sign the pages of his manuscript.  However, it later appeared that some of the book was copied verbatim from prior articles written (or allegedly written) by Shostakovich, and that many of the pages of manuscript had been lost.    Further complicating the issue is that the book was never published in its original language, Russ ..read more
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How to Read Now by Elaine Castillo
Diary Of An Autodidact
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1w ago
Source of book: Borrowed from the library   It is hard to believe that it has been four years since I read America is Not the Heart, but time has flown. My eldest also read and enjoyed the book, and we discussed it.    When we heard that Elaine Castillo was coming out with a book of essays, it went on our lists.  How to Read Now is a provocative, and unashamedly confrontational book. Castillo tackles the problems of how the white establishment reads, and how it needs to change in order to stop marginalizing and fetishizing people of color.    For the most part ..read more
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Pride Month 2024: God (or Nature) Makes Queer Creatures - Get Over It
Diary Of An Autodidact
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1w ago
This post is this year’s edition of my occasionally “annualish” Pride Month blog. I will link the others at the bottom of the post.    ***   Mother Nature is Queer AF.   Queer. As. Fuck.   This is not actually debatable - it is supported by overwhelming evidence, countless examples, and centuries of observation.    If you are a religious person (like me, although things are…complicated), then you likely also believe that, at some level, a divine being or entity ultimately created queerness - and that means that God created and continues to create LGBTQ+ peopl ..read more
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Unprotected Texts: The Bible's Surprising Contradictions about Sex and Desire by Jennifer Wright Knust
Diary Of An Autodidact
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2w ago
Source of book: Borrowed from the library   Without question, the most dangerous thing my parents ever did was encourage me to read the Bible for myself. I read it the whole way through in Jr. High if I recall, again, in High School, and since then, have re-read every part of it at least once.    The problem is, once you start reading it, even in translations which have (to put it mildly) a strong political and theological agenda, it is impossible to escape the conclusion:   For the most part, what Evangelicals say about the Bible, and what they say it says, is a bunch of m ..read more
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The Round House by Louise Erdrich
Diary Of An Autodidact
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2w ago
Source of book: I own this   Our book club has read two Louise Erdrich books previously, The Night Watchman, which has elements of the author’s grandfather and his struggle to have the Federal government recognize his Tribe; and La Rose, which is the third in the “Justice” trilogy.  The Round House is the second in the “Justice” trilogy, which means I am reading them backwards. I have yet to read the first one, The Plague of Doves. This is the latest book I am discussing online with a pair of friends, one of which had to read this book for a literature class, and wanted to re-read ..read more
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The Wager by David Grann
Diary Of An Autodidact
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2w ago
Source of book: Borrowed from my kid, who is an Age of Sail nerd.   This book was this month’s selection for our book club, the Literary Lush. Unfortunately, due to a change in schedule, I was unable to attend the meeting. While many books we read are new to me, this one is actually one we got for my kid, who read Moby Dick in Jr. High, devoured the Patrick O’Brian books, and can literally free-build any style of ship or boat (and there is a difference) you desire, out of legos.    So, have you ever heard of the War of Jenkins’ Ear? If so, you are probably a naval history buff ..read more
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American Capitalism by John Kenneth Galbraith
Diary Of An Autodidact
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3w ago
Source of book: I own this   Like virtually every teenager in America, I took an economics class my senior year of high school. Because I was homeschooled, options were limited. I took video classes my last three years of primary schooling, from A Beka, which meant a fairly good academic education (particularly in math and English), but some highly questionable ideological indoctrination.    For the economics course, this meant complete and utter worship of laissez faire economic theory, and venomous hatred for John Maynard Keynes, FDR, the New Deal, and every form of government ..read more
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Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
Diary Of An Autodidact
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3w ago
Source of book: I own this   Anyone who read T. S. Eliot’s poem, “The Hollow Men,” back in high school remembers the line, “Mistah Kurtz, he dead.” Followed, of course, by “A Penny for the Old Guy.” (The things I still remember 30 years later….)    The second line is a reference to Guy Fawkes Day. The first, however, is one of the two most famous lines from Heart of Darkness. The other, which is also well known, is “The horror, the horror.”    For many of my generation, Heart of Darkness is also strongly associated with the film, Apocalypse Now. The film is loosely bas ..read more
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