I allowed Big Bang: The Origin of the Universe by Simon Singh to sit on my bookshelf for three and a half years, unread. After finally reading this thrilling, enlightening, and entertaining book, I now know that all these years I was missing something great. And holographic.
Thanks to a tweet from IndieBound a couple of months ago, I discovered Jólabókaflóð (yola-boka-flot), which translates to “Yule Book Flood.” It’s the Icelandic tradition of exchanging books on Christmas Eve and reading them late into the night while enjoying hot chocolate, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Last weekend, I was supposed to be at the Freedom From Religion Foundation’s 2021 National Convention in Boston. It would have been my first freethought conference ever. I had every second of our two days in Boston planned, down to dinner reservations, outfits, and bookstores. The five books I wanted signed were packed in my backpack, and my nails were even painted galaxy to be on-theme (even if no one noticed but me).
If you have read Ibram X. Kendi’s bestseller How to Be an Antiracist, then you know that it is an absolute must-read. Kendi clearly explains why and how racism is sustained—and how it affects every group of people in dozens of intersecting ways—and he uses these facts to demonstrate how to dismantle it. While I definitely recommend that you read the entire book, here are some of my favorite quotes.
On the surface, Dick Teresi’s Lost Discoveries: The Ancient Roots of Modern Science—from the Babylonians to the Maya is an eye-opening and thought-provoking book on the history of non-Western science. It is a book I would recommend to anyone who believes in the “Greek miracle,” who takes Carl Sagan’s words about the Ionian birth of science at face value, and generally anyone who wants to take a less white, less Western perspective on both science and history as wholes. However, anyone who reads this must also be able to question what they are reading, ask for the author’s sources and motivation, and be ready to think for themselves despite the author’s biases.
I first encountered Jesse Wegman’s Let the People Pick the President: The Case for Abolishing the Electoral College on display at a Half Price Books store soon after the book was published in 2020. My first impression was feeling like the book was unnecessary. I had never heard anyone arguing in favor of the Electoral College, and honestly I didn’t know of anyone who really supported it. I certainly agreed with the title, that the College ought to be abolished, so I felt like reading a book to explain why would be a waste of time. I later changed my mind (granted, after the 2020 election had taken place) and decided that I wanted all the information to make sure my opinion on this debate was an informed one.
I was a #bookstagrammer for a hot minute. I really liked seeing everyone’s books, cute book pictures, and short reviews. About a year ago, I finally gave up on that account for several reasons, but one of the reasons was that I never really felt that I fit in with the bookstagram community. Those who do fit in will tell you it’s the best online community they’ve ever experienced, but there’s something they don’t mention: the #bookstagram community is overwhelmingly dedicated to fiction.
Two weeks ago, I posted my review of Sasha Sagan’s beautiful memoir/humanist manifesto/love letter to the Cosmos For Small Creatures Such as We. I ranked it as one of my new all-time favorite books, and I recommended it as highly as I could, but still I feel that I can’t really put into words just how beautifully moving this book is. Only the book itself can do that. Hopefully my favorite quotes will give you a taste of what this book is really like!
When I started reading books on combating racism and injustice, I wasn’t sure how to go about reviewing them. It wasn’t my place as a white woman to deem them “good” or “correct”. I’ve since decided it is better to urge my audience to read these books for themselves rather than to ignore their important messages. I also want to take a moment to step aside and let these books speak for themselves. So here are 32 of my favorite quotes from Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism.
For years, I’ve considered myself a feminist. I’ve believed that feminism was part of a dichotomy where society is made up of two groups: women and men. Barring the obvious problem of ignoring nonbinary people, I hadn’t taken into account that feminism is concerned with many more than two groups. Mikki Kendall’s Hood Feminism: Notes from the Women That a Movement Forgot reminds us that feminism is about much more than just white women paying more for razors and not being able to fit their smartphones in their pockets. Hood Feminism exposes the honestly terrible job that we white women have done in including everyone in this movement: especially women who are not cis, straight, and white.