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Recent Reading: December 2016

Here’s what I’ve been reading lately: queer theory, poetry, and Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind.

A row of books in a bookshop.
Photo by Jessica Ruscello on Unsplash

Queer Style by Adam Geczy and Vicki Karaminas

London: Bloomsbury, 2013.

This book was actually assigned back in college. I was instructed to read it at the end of a term in which I was overloading with 25 units. I did not read it then. But I wanted to read it! So I finally got around to it now.

This book fails on writing style, but content-wise is actually pretty interesting. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything as “academic ivory-tower” as this book, and I’ve read some ivory-tower bullshit before. Honestly, I kind of want to re-write this book sentence by sentence and make it accessible, but I’m not enough of a masochist to actually do that. (Also, no one has yet offered to pay to do so.) Nonetheless, the content covered is actually pretty interesting. The early chapters fill in some interesting fashion history that we’ve forgotten as a society (macaronis and dandies, I’m looking at you), and the latter chapters on drag and non-Western cultures are so interesting that they’re fun, in that academic sort of way.

Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki

New York: Weatherhill, 2004. Originally published in 1970.

Awesome book. I read it before, but didn’t get as much out of it. There’s a lot of depth hidden within this text. If you have some experience of Zen/meditation/mindfulness and think Zen/meditation/mindfulness is cool, I quickly recommend this book.

The Alchemy of Stars: Rhysling Award Winners Showcase edited by Roger Dutcher and Mike Allen

Science Fiction Poetry Association, 2005.

Check out my post on the 2015 Rhysling Anthology for some context on Rhysling Awards. This anthology presents the first 27 years of Rhysling Award-winning poems. These poems are altogether very weird, but you’ll be surprised by just often often they succeed. If you’re interested in speculative poetry, this is probably your best place to start. Just know that it does not end here.