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Joined 1 year, 10 months ago

they (en), yel (fr), etc. Nairm & Birrarung-ga, Kulin biik gopher:// |

Testing out a stenography system by remarking on the odd good sit-down. Sometimes nicking vocab from non-ficcy bits.

Let me know if we know each other from elsewhere, and please feel free to say hi (or not) either way!

My user avatar is a rainbow lorikeet feeding on orange gum blossoms.

Ratings, roughly: “Half” stars (to approximate zero) seemed almost pure harm and were poorly written. 1s were slogs and wastes. 2s I would have refused publication pending thorough rounds of redrafts, reframing, and/or reresearch. 3s read neither fantastically nor awfully, or they did both just enough that it cancelled out — unless they delighted but I barely began, so couldn’t reliably say. 4s held something, substantial, of distinct interest or especial enjoyment, which might richly reward a deliberate revisiting. 5s may not ring perfect to me, but I would gift or receive with unhesitating gladness.

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Why I'm No Longer Talking to White People About Race (Paperback, Bloomsbury Circus) 3 stars

In 2014, award-winning journalist Reni Eddo-Lodge wrote on her blog about her frustration with the …

broadly, fine

3 stars

Content warning racism

The Righteous Mind (Paperback, 2013, Penguin Books) 1 star

Why can it sometimes feel as though half the population is living in a different …

parochial figure figures all parochial

1 star

It sounds a worthy idea, doesn’t it? In a volatile society, to draw on findings that promise to help ordinary people to coexist? If your idea of credible scientific methodology is for researchers to codify their own prejudices and then strive to promulgate and prove the resulting slapdash hypotheses through prematurely declared Theories and in unintentionally but laughably rigged experiments (rather than to test through attempts at disproving), the writing of Jonathan Haidt may be for you!!

Like Simon Baron‐Cohen is for him! “I do not want to suggest that utilitarianism and Kantian deontology are incorrect as moral theories just because they were founded by men who may have had Asperger’s syndrome,” writes Haidt, after invoking the spectre of Those Insensitive Autistics totally out of the blue for no other apparent reason, and while continuing to diligently lay out precisely the argument on which he claims not to want you …

Whole Notes (AudiobookFormat, 2021, ABC Audio) 5 stars

How can we pause long enough to repair ourselves? How can we make space and …

as musicianship and earnest engagement in the trials of living deserve

5 stars

Whole Notes imparts the cosiness and charm of a dream first formal lesson on an orchestral instrument.

This book also represents a profound reservoir of careful contemplation, speaking, though primarily of the Western classical tradition and midlife gender transition, quite broadly to how practical musical understanding applies across peoples’ lives. The surface is tickled with cheeky humour, always friendly. In the spaces formed around the contours of his manner, one could almost hear delighted young students’ laughter bouncing along strings, grazing their instruments’ f-holes, or see the tension pouring out of the nervous adult beginner as they ready to take up their bow.

But more importantly, Ayres communicates in waves of understated sensuality, sharing a wealth of pedagogical wisdom (from a variety of teachers-and-learners), quiet courage, and at times a light, resonant awe.

To the audiobook recording, he brings every last mole of his broadcasting aplomb and finesse (if, perhaps, …

The Three‐Body Problem (Paperback, 2016, W F Howes Ltd) 4 stars

Set against the backdrop of China’s Cultural Revolution, a secret military project sends signals into …

professional play

3 stars

Much of the novel assumes a tone of gossamer fantasy, still with the heft of a folktale. Think of fabric draping a central space into being, over a solid floor.

There is video gaming (along with rally and militarism) as theatre, perhaps most overtly, but the whole story is almost palpably sited within in staging containers — which mostly stretch or are transcended rather gently, in contrast to the claustrophobic violence possessing and constricting the gap in the crowd, the logged woods, the cramped room, the retina, the battered biosphere, the rigid formation, the traumatic shared memory, the laden canal, the proton.

For its themes, The Three-Body Problem is a very comfortable read. The “hard sci‐fi” elements are good fun, silly (or playful and open) without committing to ridiculous abandon. Although, on occasion, explanatory dialogue felt condescendingly conspicuous, on the whole, Liu’s devices moved smoothly enough. There are some beautiful …

On a Barbarous Coast (Paperback, 2020, Allen & Unwin) 2 stars

We were becoming the wild things we most feared, but could not see it at …

matters of fluency

2 stars

Narrative, themes, and mood flow exceedingly well across the scale of the entire novel, while very frequently individual sentences disintegrate. Some short paragraphs are riddled with ridiculous quantities of parenthetical translations that could have been skimmed out, by way of ever so slightly more evocative wording around those terms written in‐Language. Instead, the Guugu Yimidhirr boy’s chapters sputter along, tiresome despite their brevity. Comic timing, for instance, pulls through the prose more intact within the chapters from the perspective of the co‐narrating white man.

And through that boy and that man storms the worst problem: not only does talk of people always wind up actually being of men and boys, but the authors’ extensive and careful planning is built on the same mistake. Women (let alone anyone else) scarcely exist in the worlds of this book, and primarily as leverage for expressions of machismo (or in sometimes backhanded authors’ acknowledgements …