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8 years ago @ The Toast - Feel the Burn: Plyomet... · 0 replies · +5 points

I have accepted that I am probably not going to get super into these workouts (small crowded room with minimal free wall/floor space, roommates, old house), BUT Nicole, I started doing Couch 2 5K! I am five runs in! I haven't wanted to die once, and only hated myself a little twice! This is the last thing I ever though I'd do! I realized that I wasn't actually super interested in being strong (plus squat/jump/whatever exercise is SO boring to me), but that maybe I would like to be fast! And I can run in the quiet mornings through my pretty autumnal neighbourhood blaring indie rock or post punk on my headphones and think quiet thoughts. My friends are all astounded, and I am also pretty astounded. Thanks for the encouragement!

8 years ago @ The Toast - My Favourite Cookbooks... · 2 replies · +2 points

Ahhh, this is perfect today as I just finished making soup (red lentil, from Orangette) and drafting a column for this local food website I write for occasionally.

I am currently bewitched by the gorgeous Folio Society edition of Italian Cooking by Elizabeth David that I recently snapped up at my bookstore job. Beautifully illustrated, and Elizabeth David writes in the loveliest, most assured voice about food, and is generally full of useful knowledge and midcentury delight.

I find I cook most regularly from the internet (Smitten Kitchen, Orangette, Joy the Baker, Eat Make Read), but I do keep a shelf of cookbooks, and I love to dip into Seasonal Canadian Cookbook by Lucy Waverman, The Moosewood Cookbook, How to Peel a Peach, which is full of useful food knowledge, and this tiny weird bean cookbook from the El Paso Bean company that I bought for six bucks at Housing Works on my last trip to New York that contains my favourite beans and rice recipe of all time.

Also, super excited you wrote about that cooking science book, Nicole, because I am almost certain I saw it years ago in a Montreal bookstore and forgot to write down the title and have completely failed to find via google.

8 years ago @ The Toast - Emily Books Book Club:... · 0 replies · +6 points

I mean, I know we can only judge poets based on the actual work that we have from them, and not projections about how things could have been, but this pervasive need to compare Plath and Hughes against one another as though poetry is a zero-sum game not informed by history and misogyny seems silly to me.

(Haha, I mean, thanks for agreeing with me! I just came back down here and realized I had more to say.)

8 years ago @ The Toast - Emily Books Book Club:... · 2 replies · +10 points

Also, I think it's patently ridiculous to talk about Ted Hughes being the better poet as if he didn't live 35 years longer and had time to develop a greater body of work. What Plath did was necessary and dramatically new for her time, and she had some fucking killer lines. I particularly like the bee poems.

8 years ago @ The Toast - Emily Books Book Club:... · 0 replies · +5 points

I loved this book so intensely, and it echoed so many things I have felt in my own life. it's hard to intellectualize it, but I'm going to try to be coherent.

I really loved the way that Baker captured that exhausted selfishness of being depressed and screwed up; how Cassandra feels so thwarted by the world, her mother's legacy, her sister's pulling away, and how she reacts in selfishness in that intense self-preserving way that felt so genuine to me.

I also loved how the whole book is haunted by the dead mother, and how her studio behind the house is a sort of spectral presence, both a part and not of the family home. It felt ever so slightly Shirley Jackson to me. I love how Baker plays with that tension of being a part of and apart from all the way through.

I'm so glad other people love Cassandra too. I was so worried that everyone would hate her, but I love rooting for her and all her wounded fucked up displaced desires.

8 years ago @ The Toast - "Broader, Better Liter... · 0 replies · +1 points

Fair enough, but the exposure that reviews provide, along with interviews and whatnot, is of tremendous importance for marketing and selling books, and many smaller publications look to bigger publications for cues on what's current and "worth" talking about. Obviously that can be a pretty artificially constructed conversation, but if big reviewers make books by POC sound worth reading and discussing, hopefully the buying public will take a cue and we can increase the number and longevity of POC voices in our literary conversations.

8 years ago @ The Toast - "Broader, Better Liter... · 0 replies · +8 points

VIDA counts for gender, not for race. I follow Roxane on Twitter and she has developed this count project explicitly as a reaction to/conversation with the VIDA count (Roxane, I hope I am representing that right).

8 years ago @ The Toast - "Broader, Better Liter... · 0 replies · +6 points

It's my understanding that when most people use the term "people of colour" they are referring to people who are not white of European ancestry. those people being the institutors and beneficiaries of white privilege. There is a lot of discussion about how "people of colour" is a not very useful/falsely homogenizing term, which is a complicated but useful discussion, but I think for Roxane's purposes (and the chart in her original posts does track reviews of books by Asian, Native American, Black/African, and Latino writers), she is talking about anyone who is not of white European descent. So yes, Japanese and Japanese diasporic writers would be included.

8 years ago @ The Toast - "Broader, Better Liter... · 0 replies · +4 points

Two other thoughts:

It seems to me like publications feel this obligation to review whatever the big publishing houses are putting out, because they are the big publishing houses. I think reviewers and editors have to make a conscious decision to review smaller presses where a lot more diverse writing is happening, and worry less about all being part of the same conversation (this is something I love about Bookslut, though I do think they still skew pretty Euro-centric).

But also big publishing houses seriously need to start "taking chances" on more writers of colour. Because let's face it, THAT + great marketing is how this mess is most likely to change.

8 years ago @ The Toast - "Broader, Better Liter... · 0 replies · +3 points

I LOVED her way of using Ifemelu's blog to focus and catalyze both recognition and deep awful discomfort in her reader, depending on the reader's own racial baggage. I loved that it was such a fuck you to Nice White Ladyhood while still being completely centred on Ifemelu's experience and and Zed's frustrated love story. I found the beginning dragged a little for me (I am not really into this ubiquitous literary device of starting in media res and then flipping back and forth between the past and the present), but I loved how it picked up more and more speed as we went along. Also Dike. DIIIIIIIIKE.