Tom Wolfe Disservices his Character Magdalena in Back to Blood

 

Back to Blood, Tom Wolfe

This is the fifth book I’ve read by Tom Wolfe. His journalistic style plus stories make for great page turners. Often his books explore class, wealth, and race—quite successfully. Back to Blood explored all those and more. I’m always a little weary when a white man writes about race and tend to read with breath held. I sometimes suspect that he is “stepping back and watching and reporting on those outside his world.” Sort of like the narrator on a nature program. The other three books of his that I read, The Bonfire of the Vanities, I am Charlotte Simmons, and A Man in Full all made sense and addressed people, dialect, and intentions with respect. In Back to Blood, most of it was good, almost all of it seemed quite well thought out and reasoned, but there was a character that just didn’t make sense to me. The lovely, intelligent, first generation Cuban American, Magdalena. She’s a nurse who ends up involved in the art world, specifically Art Basel of Miami.

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Murderous Mermaids? Sure, because I trust Mira Grant aka Seanan McGuire

 

 

 

I don’t care for mermaids. Nor have I ever been interested in zombies. I have never wanted to read about diseases and outbreaks. And yet, I’m obsessed with Mira Grant. I am slowly working my way through everything she’s written. And she’s quite prolific. I never ever would have picked up her books if a friend hadn’t recommended her to me. The reason being I don’t really read scary books—I don’t like having nightmares. But her books are not horror at all. They probe what could happen if. . . . And sometimes what happens are dangerous situations that the average person is not prepared to handle. I know I most certainly am not. But after reading her books, maybe I would make it along a little farther in the story than the first person to die.

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An Unintentional Literary Pilgrimage of Los Angeles

 

I’ve been to Southern California many times, and yet, I’ve never quite seen the Los Angeles that I wanted to. As a book nerd, I’ve always dreamt of doing a book tour, visiting famous literary sites. But Los Angeles County feels unwieldy. However, on this last trip, I lucked out. I stayed in downtown Los Angeles proper, with my friend, Erin Eyesore (check out her post-punk feminist radio show, erineyesore.tumblr.com). While she attended a conference for work, I did some sight-seeing. First on the list, The Last Bookstore which I’ve seen photos of on friends’ Instagram feeds. We were staying just blocks away from this heavenly place. It’s like the Cemetery of Forgotten Books in The Shadow of the Wind by Arturo Perez Reverte—you enter a noir bookstore, a space selling books in another realm, a fictional place that you wish existed—touching things seems unreasonable because they will flitter away in smoke because they exist in another dimension. But the  labyrinth you wander is real and if you go on a slow day, which I did, you find yourself in mazes all alone, which of course, makes things more surreal.

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Roxane Gay’s Hunger Helped Me Recognize My Goth Roots Stem from Something Darker

Hunger, Roxane Gay, Bad Feminist

Roxane Gay‘s latest book, Hunger, opens up with “Every body has a story and a history. Here I offer mine with a memoir of my body and my hunger.” (3). Gay writes of being fat in a world that shames and demeans people for taking up space. And she looks at her body’s history: how did she get where she is? Why does she weigh so much? What happened to create this body? It wasn’t merely eating. It wasn’t just not taking exercise or being weak or lazy. I could not handle some of the physical challenges she’s endured. Hunger is not a self-help book, it’s not a feel-good book, nor is it a change-your-life book. And while it is not any of those things, this book is everything to me. This book is a writer opening up about her past, exposing the very things so many of us don’t talk about, this book made me feel connected to her in a way very few authors do.

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Mira Grant is thoughtful, even when she’s killing her best characters in Feedback, a Newflesh novel

Mira Grant, Seanan McGuire, Newsflesh, Feedback

Mira Grant is a thoughtful writer. Correction, well-established, respected Seanan McGuire is a thoughtful, caring writer. So thoughtful that she created a pseudonym when she started writing a new book series—because it was drastically different from what she had already written—she didn’t want to alienate her fans, confusing fairy-loving (magical creatures) readers who picked up her gory, bloody, virus-laden zombie books.

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