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[Book Review] Bingo Love

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Bingo Love / Tee Franklin, Jenn St-Onge (ill), and Joy San (ill)

I... don't even know where to start summarizing this story or reviewing beyond this: you will cry.  This story brings all of the Feels and will rip out your heart.  And you will love it all the more for it.

Buy, read it, add it to your library, it's worth it.

From the publisher:
When Hazel Johnson and Mari McCray met at church bingo in 1963, it was love at first sight. Forced apart by their families and society, Hazel and Mari both married young men and had families. Decades later, now in their mid-’60s, Hazel and Mari reunite again at a church bingo hall. Realizing their love for each other is still alive, what these grandmothers do next takes absolute strength and courage. From TEE FRANKLIN (NAILBITER’s “THE OUTFIT,” Love is Love) and JENN ST-ONGE (Jem & The Misfits), BINGO LOVE is a touching story of love, family, and resiliency that spans over 60 years.

Advance Reader Copy courtesy of Image Comics in…

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XIV. Of the Voyage of Eärendil and the War of Wrath

In this final chapter of Quenta Silmarilion, I would like to propose we rename (or subtitle) the "Quenta Silmarillion" to "Fëanor & Sons ruin everything."

When Tuor and Idril sailed West they left behind their son Eärendil, who likewise heard the call of the sea.  We also know of Eärendil to some extent because of one of his sons, the so called "Half-elven" Elrond.  I'm not sure how being born of a half-elf father and an elven mother makes him a half-elf, but so be it.  So with the aid of Círdan the Shipwright, Eärendil built a shift and explored the sea, leaving his wife behind.

Guess what comes next!

If you guessed Fëanor's sons ruin everything, you are correct!  They go storm the castle, slaughtering the defenders and ruining Sirion.  Elrond and Eros are taken captive, but Elwing is rescued by Ulmo... yet again demonstrating that no one ever listens to the powerful figures they should.  Elwing, in the shape of a bird, reaches her husband, …

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XXIII. Of Tuor and the Fall of Gondolin

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Why no, I didn't completely forget to do this post... (yes, yes I did).

After looking at Húrin and the fall of Doriath, we now look at his nephew and the fall of Gondor.

Tuor was raised in fosterage among the Grey Elves, until they sought to make their way to the Havens of Sirion, and he was captured by the Easterlings.  There is something of a literary tradition at work here, a Hero captured and enslaved, only to escape before meeting his Fate/Doom.  After three years in thraldom he escaped and proceeded to make life a living hell for the Easterlings, until their king placed a price on his head and Ulmo called on Tuor.  And so Tuor makes his way to Belegaer the Great Sea, where he met Ulmo who bade him to seek out the hidden kingdom of Gondolin, gifting him with a cloak to hide him in shadow from his enemies, and with a message for the Elves of Gondolin.

Well, what happens next falls within a bit of a pattern.  Tuor goes forth, and gives Ulmo's message/warning to Turgon, High K…

February Read: Chill

Dust by Elizabeth Bear is one of my favorite novels, and was one of the easy selections for when I started doing this book club thing.  But while I reread Dust with some frequency, I think I only read Chill (Jacob's Ladder #2) once, immediately after purchasing it.  There's a good chance that my reading of it was too colored by my expectations and memories of Dust, a younger me wanting the exact same thing as before, only new and different.  Similar to  my experiences with American Gods and Anasazi Boys, except Chill is a true sequel.

What I remember is that this is a story of after and of pushing through.  The Jacob's Ladder is again in motion, reduced through deliberate effort and through the abuse of its rough relaunch.  Similarly, the characters are in a state of flux, challenge, and recovery.  Perceval struggles with the unwanted mantle of Captain, the cost of power and conflict, and the ghost of Rein that now lives in the AI of the ship. Tristen and Benedick go from …

Silmarillion Blues : Quenta Silmarillion : XXII. Of the Ruin of Doriath

Wherein Morgoth spreads the misery though puppetry.  Releasing Húrin to the world after years of captivity, he aims to increase strife among Men and Elves.  His reception is varied, with his own people shunning him as in league with Morgoth.  Even the Eagles state that "Húrin Thalion has surrendered to the will of Morgoth."  This reception makes me think of Gandalf speaking of how to treat Gollum, and the importance of mercy.  I wonder how this story would have changed if people had shown him kindness and acceptance, while acknowledging that Morgoth had his plans for Húrin still.  But again, that is often the beauty of the "curses" Tolkien lays against his characters, their fated doom often not of divine or infernal end, but the result of deliberate action and self-fulfilling prophesy.

We some of what could have been, when Melian speaks kindness in face of his twisted perceptions and grief, but it leaves Húrin bereft of purpose and so he passes away.  It also happen…

Webinar - by me!

So in a few weeks I'm presenting a webinar for the Massachusetts Library System!

Disability on the Shelf – Looking for Representation in Library Collections
When asked, we all can think of a book, movie, or TV show that features a disabled character, but we don’t often think about the representation itself. With diversity and representation increasingly a part of our Collection Development practices, it is important we don’t continue to overlook this aspect. In this webinar, we invite participants to learn about disability, to gain an awareness of representation, and learn vocabulary and resources to evaluate materials.

Learning Outcomes:
Introduction to disability as a facet of diversity representation Concepts of disability Awareness of tropes, stereotypes, and representation in popular media Vocabulary to discuss and evaluate materials Resources Interested?  Sign up here: http://calendar.masslibsystem.org/event/3893912

[Book Review] We

We / Yevgeny Zamyatin

Several things drew me to We.  Comparison to 1984 is unavoidable, yet it predates it by several decades. A science fiction dystopia written in 1921 Russia that is still being read and discussed today seems like the type of foundation literature I should be familiar with.

The book is definitely an interesting read, pulling on themes we expect to see in any modern literary dystopia with investigation and discussion of what it means to be an individual.  It is also difficult to read, a short novel that makes use of uncomfortable descriptions and has passages that are undeniably racist.  What remains is to untangle what is relic of the environment in which the book was written, what is an aspect of the horror of the setting, and what is true bias of the author.  Philosophically interesting, but for me the discomfort rides heavy even if took minimal space in the text.

Discussion Fodder:
What aspects of this book are due to its dystopia setting, and what aspects are due…