From Truth-Out: Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult
From the Chronicle of Higher Ed: Let's Get Serious About Cultivating Creativity
From the Washington Post: PAPA Festival highlights Christianity, anarchism and community spirit
From the blog Red-Letter Christians: Moving on the Block: What White People Can Do About Racism
Perdido Street Station, China Miéville: It's...fantastical. Weird. Bizarre. I read a review that says that one reads this book for the prose more than the plot. The prose is certainly kind of wonderful and voluptuous and a bit overwhelming--as is the world that Miéville builds. For example:
Miéville weaves his story into this world, giving us flawed, sometimes despicable, characters. The main thrust of the plot is this: Isaac Dan der Grimnebulin is a scientist who's something of a rogue. He is visited by a (half-bird, half-human) garuda, who has had his wings cut off as punishment for a crime. The garuda, Yagharek, enlists Isaac in his search to fly again, and in researching flight, Isaac accidentally unleashes a monster into the city. There's one main twist at the end that was surprising enough that I had to re-read it. Perdido Street Station is not a happy book. I wouldn't suggest it if you want something uplifting. But it's sure as hell worth reading.
New Crobuzon was a city unconvinced by gravity....The city thrust upwards massively, as if inspired by those vast mountains to the west. Blistering square slabs of habitation ten, twenty, thirty storeys high punctuated the skyline. They burst into the air like fat fingers, like fists, like the stumps of limbs waving frantically above the swells of the lower houses (55).
Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler: Butler sets this story in a dystopian United States, in which the government has fallen apart and people live in walled communities that protect them from the outside. The protagonist, Lauren Olamina, suffers from a condition called hyperempathy, in which she feels others' pain. She's been raised Baptist--her father is a pastor of sorts--but she develops her own religion called Earthseed, in which the principle tenet is "God is Change." When her community is destroyed, she leaves and starts a journey north, picking up people as she goes and trying to convert them to Earthseed.
Dystopian fiction's gotten bigger these days--we can see that in books like The Hunger Games and The Road. Parable of the Sower was written a bit earlier (1993). There's a second book, Parable of the Talents, and Butler had been planning a third book, but she died before she could write it (which is a shame). Butler was a pioneer of science fiction, especially as she was one of the few African-American women writing in the field.
I just started Special Topics in Calamity Physics by Marisha Pessl. It's a bit of a departure from what I've been reading.
Anyway, bits and pieces, hints and guesses, all that. I am happy for the sunshine after a week of rain.