deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2014-02-22 12:47 pm
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Three things regarding Anuja Chauhan

1. My social experiment seems to indicate that Anuja Chauhan's appeal does cross international borders, but also that her work especially resonates with other Asian-identity sharing readers. I've been updating the post linking to all the reactions to her books, so now there's quite a collection of people pleased by her - The Anuja Chauhan Reading Club.

2. The books have mostly left the US, and are winding their respective ways across Europe and Australasia. So if you are a non-US, non-Indian resident who wants in, and can promise to read the book in a month, write a review, and mail it on internationally, you can sign up for a turn here.

3. My friend [profile] troiroyaumes has generously bought a box set of all three of Anuja Chauhan's books, and donated them for the annual Con or Bust benefit auction. So if you'd like to get the books to keep, with no strings attached, and also support a good cause (that I personally benefited from), please consider bidding for them over here. (I haven't offered anything since I still owe blog posts from over two years ago, but if the bidding goes over some extravagant amount, I could consider doing a post-it notes commentary of the books like I did for previous auctions, if anyone would like it.)
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-10-04 06:01 pm

Unwhitewashed Chasing Shadows Cover in the Wild!

I have been having one of the most stressful, unhappy weeks this year so far, and it doesn't seem to be headed anywhere good. HOWEVER, I needed to claw out time to make this quick update post, because of how much delight these pictures brought me.

See, when I designed my unwhitewashed (LESS RACIST!) cover for Chasing Shadows, I was kind of hoping other people would care about the issue too, that it might become a thing people talked about the way that other book covers that Racist Gremlins have attacked have become. But nope, people went on talking about how beautiful the racist cover was and how much they loved it, and I kept seething in my little corner.

Then [personal profile] kingrat commented asking if I had a hi-res version he could print off to use for his actual, physical copy of the book, and I was so stressed out with other things that I went a little nuts and spent three hours working on my dinosaur-age combination of Picasa and MS Paint to produce a full book jacket. Since I didn't have a copy of the actual book, or for that matter a printer, I just made wild guesses as to size and dimensions, but from that, [personal profile] kingrat managed to produce the glory that is...
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-09-25 03:26 am

Judging a Publisher by Its Cover

Today is the day a book called Chasing Shadows officially releases. The book and I go a ways back, since the author--Swati Avasthi--is a friend, and I've talked about the novel with her and read it in draft. Because I make for a biased reviewer of the work, suffice it to say that I think she has maintained the complexity of character and plot that she displayed in her first book Split, which a bunch of you appreciated when I passed around an ARC of it. You might like it if you enjoy books about female friendship and grief and loss and madness and the importance of stories and scaling rooftops and superheroes in graphic motion.

This post, however, is about the cover.

TL;DR version, the publishers issued a racist, whitewashed version so I made my own. Want, Take, Have. )
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-09-18 06:22 pm
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What she said

Tony Stark is a rich, white, privileged male who owns managing shares in a giant corporation. Tony Stark/Iron Man IS privatisation and corporate ideology. [...]So the suits and Tony don’t function simply as vigilantes; they function as a corporate endeavor that is eventually legitimated by the pretense of individuality. It’s capitalism at its best. And lest we forget that corporations and governments have a certain reciprocity, the government gets War Machine at the end of the second movie. [...]
The implication viewers receive here isn’t just that a Middle Eastern or Asian terrorist is inevitably a joke; an over-acting, drunk who wants to sit around doing hookers and blow, and quickly apprehended in the end, but also that true power only lies in the hands of white men. The narrative simultaneously relies for its basis on the presumption of genuine terrorist threats as to be feared, relying upon racist prejudice, while attempting to subvert that narrative with the racist assumption that only white men have any true power.[...]
The fact that Rhodey could just enter the country’s airspace like that is not only really unlikely, but also implies a lot about the presumed power of the American army to go where it pleases without huge political ramifications.[...] And no, it’s not okay to produce a narrative that narrows an entire country and culture down to an “oopsiedaisy” joke on the part of American military force.

-- [personal profile] stepquietly in Iron Man 3: a review
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-09-04 08:08 pm
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The Anuja Chauhan Reading Club

As the reactions to my Anuja Chauhan passing the parcel experiment trickle in, I'll update this post. When people have made public posts, I've linked to them, when they have emailed me their reactions I have quoted them here (with permission, obviously). Spoilers will go under a further cut.

The Zoya Factor (2008)
Blurb )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says:There were some awfully funny bits, and some bits that made me quizzical. )

[personal profile] oyceter says: "there's just something really fun about Chauhan's narrative voice, from the toinnnnngggg commercial to the two sports announcers and the assorted excerpts from gossip magazines.

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: the other part of the story I found interesting was the underlying theme of superstition and luck.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: I don't often read chick lit, but Chauhan's narrative voice is incredibly entertaining.

[personal profile] via_ostiense says: Zoya/Chauhan have great senses of humor, there were many parts where I cracked up laughing out loud. )

[personal profile] samvara says: I loved this, it's fresh and funny with believable and likable characters.

[personal profile] illariy says: The book is an entertaining romance; I really enjoyed both the lucky charm and the Nikhil/Zoya plot aspects.

[personal profile] rmc28 says: The writing is exuberant, funny, full of Indian English and Hindi slang, and I adored it.

[personal profile] glinda says: On the whole I'd recommend it if you like chick-lit, Zoya's job and relationships with both colleagues and family are well-drawn, I loved the code switching and the observations on the relationship between sports and the media.

[personal profile] kaberett says: The first time I burst out in delighted cackles was at the top of page two, and I kept on laughing all the way through.

Battle for Bittora (2009)
Blurb )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says: The author draws many memorable characters and indulges in the supposed sin of writing in dialect to excellent effect. )

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: The whole novel works excellently as a satire of political campaigns, but like the best satires, it has a sincerity about the topic it parodies.

[personal profile] dorothean says: In short -- the funniest, most thoughtful, sweetest, and overall best chick-lit novel I have ever read.

[personal profile] afrikate says: I felt the book was very accessible to a Western audience )

[personal profile] oyceter says: Definitely recommended, and in case I made it sound serious and unfun, it is hilarious and includes a scene with Jinni putting a condom on a large wooden penis. For politics, of course.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: As with The Zoya Factor, Chauhan conveys the feeling of being swept up in larger social currents incredibly well, but my favorite aspect of this book was the family dynamics.

Connie L. says: Overall, I thought the book was fantastic )

[personal profile] rmc28 says: I do appreciate the way the book sets up stereotypes and then shows It's More Complicated Than That, and does it all with the same humour and exuberance as I loved in The Zoya Factor.

Eve says: Jinni’s dynamics with the other characters, as much as the campaigning antics, were what kept me reading.

Those Pricey Thakur Girls (2013)
Blurb )

[personal profile] troisroyaumes says: "It's been a while since I've come across a book so engaging that I've sacrificed sleep on a weeknight"

[personal profile] afrikate says: Overall, I think this book would need some more background for non-Indian readers. )

[personal profile] laurashapiro says: Overall this felt like Chauhan's most mature book )

[personal profile] oyceter says: This is my favorite out of all of Anuja Chauhan's books and feels very much like what I've been waiting for.

[personal profile] glass_icarus says: Family dynamics are probably Chauhan's best narrative strength. Also, there simply is no humor quite like the wacky family hijinks kind.

[personal profile] starlady says: It helps that the Thakurs are pretty hilarious, and that Chauhan has an eye for the telling and comedic detail.

[personal profile] rmc28 says: There is a large cast of distinctive, vividly-drawn characters. There's a lot of humour and witty dialogue.

[personal profile] kaberett says: I enjoyed this. I enjoyed this a lot.

[personal profile] via_ostiense says: its sense of humor makes it entertaining and affecting at the same time )
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-08-09 12:52 pm

Last-Minute Capitalist Pig-Dog Marketing Push

Hey America-based part of the internet,
I'm going to be leaving your continent Monday night, having finally got the paperwork in hand for the thing that I delayed my flight for. I'm irrationally scared to talk about the thing until I actually reach home because I am well aware of all the pitfalls between there and here, but its a good thing, a thing that has countered my unhappiness and kept me healthier in the brain.
This thing and the delay and redoing the paperwork and yet again once more doing additional paperwork etc etc has cost me some serious amount of money that I arbitrarily decided was worth it.
It is worth it, and I am very lucky and privileged to have people willing to lend me their money to spend as I see fit even if it does not seem to them to be the practical thing to do.
But I would like to be able to repay them sooner rather than later, and so I'm asking, one last time, for some assistance.
I have no business taking something for nothing, I'm far too safe and secure and well-off and privileged to merit such generosity. But if you can find some use for pretty things the purchase of which would push me towards USD-solvency... I'd be grateful.

Earrings, bracelets and neckware can be found at Chuninda.
(And here's one of the last pictures I have of Leher, making grabby paws at the shiny danglers.)

Leher the kitten making grabby paws at necklaces

I thought of slashing the prices there but it didn't seem fair to the kind few who had already bought stuff.
But here - these are 4 stoles/dupattas/scarves and 10 anklets that I brought along as just-in-case presents.
4 tie-dyed rainbow scarves
4 tie-dyed rainbow scarves
Multi-Red, Multi-Purple, Multi-Green, Multi-Blue

10 anklets
10 anklets
4 2 Multicoloured, 2 Golden-brown, 2 Purple, 2 Beaded

Give me what you think you'd care to for one, plus shipping, and it's yours. (Colour preferences in order of comment, leave an email address if you're anonymous, I'm screening all comments.)

And uh... you don't need to apologise or explain not buying anything; I've only ever been able to help internet friends out in kind myself and I well know the inability to do more. :)
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-07-29 05:48 pm


1) The Anuja Chauhan mail-around is international, though I'm going to schedule all the US readers in before having the books sent to Australia/Canada/the UK/Indonesia etc.
1a) LOL you guys when talking on the internet, don't assume the other person knows what country you're from. A complete address includes a nation name.

2) I'm stuck on this continent for two more weeks. This means that I have some more time to try to sell some jewellery, though it also meant that the stuff that needed to be mailed has not yet gone out; soon, I promise.
2a) If you'd feel like being kind but are not the sort who wants these particular trinkets, perhaps you could gift them to someone? I'd be happy also randomly bestowing them on people I see on the bus or at a street corner and saying "some lovely stranger from the internet wanted you to have this!" I can't take something for nothing, but I am really at a loss to find any other way to achieve solvency in USDs.

3) I went with some friends and their daughter to watch 'Epic'. Anyone else notice the pimptastic blinged-out Black-coded frog along with the Beyonce-voiced Magical Negro, and Aziz Ansari's har-har-he-thinks-his-fat-slug-self-can-get-the-girl? Some decent stuff on gender, but god, the bad science made me hurt. In what world does mould and rot lead to a dry and burnt out and dead forest?
3a) Someone needs to write the essay about how animals are racialised--the dark bats, crows, and bugs are the bad guys, the bright hummingbirds, deer and sparrows are the good ones.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-07-26 04:26 am

Something for you, something for me

1. Some kind friends have already pointed to Chuninda where shiny things are up for grabs, but the latest day they can be mailed out with domestic rates for US addresses is Saturday, so I would be very grateful if you felt like indulging in a pair of earrings or three. Money has become somewhat of an urgent necessity, due to circumstances.

2. I had planned to conduct a social experiment using US-based readers as guinea pigs. The experiment is this: Anuja Chauhan is one of the most beloved writers of most of the Indian ladies I talk books with. She however has neither been released in actual ebook format (no flipkart, your ghastly flyte does not count), nor sold outside the Indian subcontinent. Perhaps foreign publishers think she is too local, too Indian English to be accessible to non-desis, which is why she has not been snapped up and featured on dear author and the book smugglers. And the truth is, she IS very Indian, her writing is basically like going back to the school canteen and overhearing the teenage chatter. Code-switching, khadi feminism, filmi drama and fun romance... I am thinking though that at least some of these things must be appealing to other people?

So I have hauled over a copy of each of her three books. [profile] troiroyaumes has read one (and loved it!) and will soon be united with the other two, but I told her the books were a loan, not a gift, and she seems to enjoy being my lab rat:

If you too, wish to try the delights of Anuja Chauhan, all you have to do is agree to read the book within a month of receiving it, and then mail it on to the next person on my list. You don't have to blog about it publicly, but I'd appreciate being dropped a note about what you thought of it.

The Ladies Finger offers Six Reasons to Love Anuja Chauhan, so comment telling me which title you want -
1) The Zoya Factor
2) Battle for Bittora
3) Those Pricey Thakur Girls
I'm screening comments so you can leave your mailing address details in it. Anyone can get in line for a book, but if you're an anonymous commenter, make sure to leave your email address along with your name and address, so I have some way of getting in touch with you.
ETA: People all over the world can play too! Just remember that you'll have to pay for international shipping, and that I'll be rearranging the mailing order a little to consolidate all the addresses on one continent before sending the book along to another.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-07-14 06:03 pm
Entry tags:

लहर की मौत

Leher sleeping
March 2013 - 14 July 2013

I was told he disappeared from the house and was found outsider, later, with signs of having been attacked by a dog.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-06-13 11:25 pm
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What race does your rage come in

Remember I mentioned a while ago I wished someone would write that in-depth analysis of race and Iron Man? Well, I just came across the antithesis of that post.

Over here, [personal profile] coffeeandink suggests that Kanye West and Tony Stark could be the same person because they are, among other things, both "Egotistical, Genius, Wealthy, Extremely fashionable [and] Speaks before he thinks."

A wave of heat washed over me when I read that, and I confess, I had never imagined this particular reaction to the vagaries of fandom. I've read all sorts of AUs, after all, and crossovers, and I like the fannish space where you are given permission to set aside your real life morality to indulge in id-driven kinks (narrative and otherwise).

But the idea that the middle-class son of an English professor who catapulted himself into richness because of his artistic talent (and business savvy) can just be described as 'wealthy' in a way that makes him similar to the heir to a business empire whose silver spoon is inherited from a capitalist father and maintained by arms dealing... that idea flabbergasts me.

The idea that the public persona of a musician and singer could be compared with someone whose chosen profession is to design and operate lethal weaponry against people whose political or moral choices he disagrees with, and both could be equated as 'egotistical'...

it just crystallised for me, why I felt such horror at reading the comparison.

It's because somehow, violence has stopped being noteworthy. Just like the US acts like it is not fighting multiple wars, killing people all over the world, similarly a superhero like Iron Man is defined by being brash and smart and rich rather than an arms dealer turned violent terrorist.

In the face of the many myriad ways in which people like us inscribe our resistance: through words, and theatre, and song, and stories, and litigation, and legislation, and volunteering, and teaching, and hunger strikes, and whistle-blowing, and boycotts and....
in such a world, to think all of those things have any sort of equivalence to a morally bankrupt capitalist white man who chooses to use violence to uphold the hegemonies and hierarchies that privilege in...
it makes un-sense to me.

This cognitive dissonance is jarring, because I've been on the side of villains before, I've admired Ursula's tentacles and Hades' blue hair and thought them 'cooler' by far, than the heroes. Stories should be safe places to play out aspirations to violence and villainy.

I had not realised though, how strongly what the Tony Stark/Iron Man story meant to the world I live in. Where I live, Kanye West is an excellent musical artist with some questionable choices of public personas. A rich, clever (cis, straight) white man with business and military power enough to decide whom he wants to point his rocket blasters at?

That's the enemy.

Why would you ever want to see someone who in the real world has provided you some pleasure and joy through his creative talent and skill, as degraded into such a character?
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-06-08 12:43 am
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Return of the King Cat

Oh yeah, so btw internet, Leher is a boy billa. I suspected so soon after I made my last picture post, and spent a few instructive minutes googling kitten genitalia pics. The vet confirmed that I had indeed identified his balls correctly.

This has led to several people telling me that Leher is a girl's name. I respond by pointing out that Mihir and Kiran and Seher can all be boys names, so why not Leher. One friend went grammar-Nazi on me and pointed out that leheren are striling. She continued to further argue that calling him Leheriya would have been more appropriate, like Kanhaiya. I disagreed, and by foster-parent fiat, the name remains.

I am prompted in making this post because I need to defend Leher's reputation. It seems some shady pics have surfaced of him having a wild night at a party.

Leher wishes it to be known that he was Not Himself, by virtue of being fed meat for the first time in his young, innocent life (and that too imported sausages from London!) and that his evil Aunty [ profile] ActuallyAisha took terrible advantage of him. She and the other cougar ladies kept him up all night. He Denies Everything, and knows nothing about the Unfortunate Demise of That Balloon.

Gratuitous kitten pictures and the verbal updates to go with them )
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-05-07 11:12 pm

In pure self-defence

Because I am being drowned in the flood of 'OMG Iron Man 3 is SO cleverly unracist!!11!!' squee posts, I am going to link to (obviously spoiler-filled) [personal profile] crossedwires post here and [personal profile] wistfuljane's post here. Neither are quite the comprehensive critique post that I'd like to see someone write but they are nonetheless pointed reminders that perhaps white people shouldn't cheer quite so smugly when they are setting their bars so very low.

It's so much easier to ignore white people media (and the people who talk about it) when it isn't trying to Deal With Racism.

ETA: Go ahead and be as detailed as you want about spoilers in the comments, I certainly don't care, and am spoiled anyway.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-04-28 02:15 pm
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Pop quiz time: Show your learnings about mah cities!

You know how sometimes something is so bad it flips around to being awesome? Well, someone inadvertently made me crack up during a really shitty day by linking me to the following film about Delhi, made by white dudes in 1938.

75 years ago, they shot my city in glorious technicolour, and added the most lolarious music and commentary, and today, here it is on youtube for the edification and amusement of the natives.

There are unfortunately very few Delhiites reading my blog (that I know of, at least), but the errors in this film contain a grandeur beyond local knowledge, so I thought I'd put it out there towards the commentariat -

Spot an error in the film and you get rewarded with a kitten picture!

Now scuse me as I go take a metro to that pinnacle of civilised archetecture: Connaught Place Rajiv Chowk.

deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-04-18 04:24 pm
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Return of the Very Tiny Cat

Hi internet.
Things have been pretty shitty for various reasons, but [ profile] ActuallyAisha asked for more kitty pics, and I said, "Self, no one's day is ever made worse by someone posting cat pictures to the internet." (Behind a cut, obviously, so that the people whose day would be made worse by the irritation of having to scroll past boring cat pictures are not bothered.)
So here, a few more pictures and a gratuitous update post.

Day 25: Still Alive... )
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-03-25 10:42 pm
Entry tags:

Finally a part of that internet meme...

Here you go. Kitten pictures.

Day 3: Still Alive! )

I continue to be delighted by advise or suggestions, if you can bring yourself to move beyond the high-pitched squealing noises that I trust Ms. Leher is worthy of inducing.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-03-23 08:02 am
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Wherein I look for non-Western modes of Kitten care

Yesterday I offered to take in an orphaned kitten. It will arrive today, sometime, if everything goes according to schedule, and it's eyes are open, which means its at least 10 days old. That's all I know about it so far.

I grew up trying to take care of various animals when they needed help; I've helped bats and sunbirds get out of human buildings, crawled into gutters to fish out puppies, called Friendicoes to rescue injured cows, looked after bulbul chicks till their parents could take over, picked up injured pigeons. I'm used to handling animals, but the thing is, my knowledge, pre-internet, came from common sense, parental memories of their own childhood rescues, and reading James Herriot and Gerald Durrell. I did the best I could, I've had many animals die on me (never pleasant to find shreds of kittens in your closet after a tom cat decided to get his murderous alpha on), I know some things but there is so much that I don't.

In the intervening years, the internet has happened.

And so now I know that kittens can't digest cow's milk. (Adults certainly can; I've handfed a number of sick cats with milk and egg mixed up and smeared on my fingers for them to lick off.)

Except every English kitten care webpage I seem to turn up contain advise like "go to your nearest Walmart and buy a heating pad" and "get a Kitten Replacement milk formula".

People have obviously been taking care of animals in vast and varied conditions; I know a person in Pune who's reared sparrow chicks with mashed watery dal till they were ready to eat solid food. There's a lot to be said about the differences in the ways in which animals are a part of people's environments in different cultures, but for now...

I know there are a lot of cat people reading this blog, so if any of you have tips or suggestions that are feasible for the world I live in, I'd be grateful to get them.

(I don't have a fridge yet. It's getting hot enough that I was hoping to get one soon, but I might need to bump it up on the list, even if it means holding back paying off the loan I needed to take to make rent a few months ago. Aie yai yai.)

Wish me luck so that I can contribute to this newfangled internet pastime of spamming everyone with cat pictures. I shall now attempt to find out if I can procure goat's milk from somewhere. All the goats I know of are destined for Eid biryanis so it seems doubtful that they are being milked.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-03-09 01:42 pm
Entry tags:

A particular sound of heartbreak

It's funny how in a whole bazaar of inhumane and outrageous things, sometimes just one ordinary, seemingly small item can jump out at you and pierce your heart.

Nivedita Menon recently posted Gender Just, Gender Sensitive, NOT Gender Neutral Rape Laws on Kafila, which is a statement signed by so many people whose feminist work I admire.

And I am terrified that these, the voices of some of the most publicly liberal and radical feminists who represent my interests, so stridently argue against one of the core realities of rape culture:

Woman can be rapists.

Female-identified people can sexually assault and sexually coerce and sexually violate another person. Their victims can be child or adult, male or female.

And this is not even touching the appalling lack of acknowledgement of transgendered and transexual identities, which are even more vulnerable to sexualised violences by status as marginalised and oppression minority.

This is not even about becoming the thing you are fighting by taking a push-back against patriarchy so far.

This is about wanting to take away protection from rape survivors, and denying them the legal ability to name the experience they went through with a term that states it to be as non-consensual, as violent, and as obscene as the actions a male rapist perpetrates.

Rape is sexualised violence, and violence can be perpetrated by any human being regardless of their gender or sexual orientation. Female caregivers who have power over children or the elderly or the infirm, female prison wardens and policewomen and armed forces officers, female teachers and professors, these are all in positions of power that can be abused. Women who have sex with women can be abused. Men in heterosexual marriages can be abused.

There is so much these women have fought for, so long and so hard, that I am so grateful for: these endless battles against the patriarchy, against casteism, against communalism, against homophobia, against classism and capitalism and every other form of bigotry and systemic oppression that warps the world I live in. I have such a sense of solidarity and empathy and admiration for most of their words.

It hurts so much to be so divisively excluded from their cause right now.
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2013-02-03 06:44 pm
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Nice White Lady Authors Take a Hike: 'Vacations from Hell'

A while ago (far longer a while ago than it should be) I rashly committed to writing ‘about a book (or movie) that I really, really, really did not like' for the noble cause of a charity auction for [personal profile] ephemere. Some people were kind enough to bid for it, and [personal profile] crossedwires, who won, was generous enough to say I could write about whatever I felt inspired to.

The problem was though (beyond my being the most incurably lazy creature in shoe leather) that I didn't want to read or watch something that I knew I'd hate! Subjecting myself to shitty media is not pleasant! I have spent a great deal of time and energy figuring out how to protect myself from it and avoid it! And while I enjoy reading an eviscerating rant or three when people expend the energy to write them… it's a lot of work having to justify the sentiment ‘this is a terrible book wot is terrible'.

So after having contemplated my list of pending commitments with squirming guilt ([ profile] con_or_bust winners, you have not been forgotten!) I decided that I needed to break down and ask for some help. Thus in the spirit of teamwork and This Oughtta Be A Drinking Game, I bring you the collective snark of [personal profile] noldo, [personal profile] delfinnium and [personal profile] marina, who were kind enough to suffer through my reread in group chat.

Together we bring to you: Vacations from Hell –YA Fantasy short stories by Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Claudia Gray, Maureen Johnson, Sarah Mlynowski (Harper Teen, 2009)

I should warn you, if you do wish to read the book (which, you know, I sincerely suggest you DON’T) that these are meant to be suspenseful mysterious twist-in-the tale-type of stories which the ensuing summaries and commentaries thereof will completely and thoroughly spoil for you.
[personal profile] marina: OH GOD IS THIS YA
[personal profile] marina: ARE YOU GOING TO MAKE ME READ YA
[personal profile] marina: o____________________o
[personal profile] delfinnium: YES SHE IS.
[personal profile] marina: DEEPA I ALREADY HATE YOU
[personal profile] deepad: also. MARINA. you missed the part about how a part of the books proceeds go to a non-profit that helps poor teens with college applications. And then we have a bunch of white college-educated ladies writing about white teenagers on vacations (except for one teenager who is not white but OMG. I will save that horror for the last). I feel like this book is sort of ironic. Rich kids go to vacations and presumably will buy this book for the poor kids who don't go to college.

Cruisin' by Sarah Mlynowski )

I Don't Like Your Girlfriend by Claudia Gray )

The Law of Suspects by Maureen Johnson )

The Mirror House by Cassandra Clare )

Nowhere Is Safe by Libba Bray )

In conclusion: Just donate directly to College Summit if you must. Because the writers of this anthology do not, for the most part, deserve any encouragement to go on producing this sort of awful, offensive drivel.

As a palete cleanser, here’s an organisation actually producing indigenous books for promoting literacy, if you’d like to support current and future non-white writers. And here is [personal profile] delfinnium flailing and squeeing about The Gameworld Trilogy, which are finally out in ebook format, and which I have been having tremendous fun talking about in chat.

[personal profile] crossedwires - Thank you for your support of the auction and apologies for the delay in posting this! [personal profile] delfinnium, [personal profile] marina and [personal profile] noldo thanks a tonne for doing this with me <3
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2012-12-13 10:04 pm

Admission Tickets for gods and graves

Occasionally, Shrivastava’s research produced vivid illustrations of what was lost when a religious relic was smuggled out of India. He stumbled across a series of beautiful Matrika, or mother goddess, statues from outside Tanesar, a village near Udaipur. Originally, there were a dozen of the statues, each about two feet tall, carved from dark-green schist, and dating to the fifth century. They depicted graceful, broad-hipped women, each in a different stage of motherhood: one pregnant, one breast-feeding an infant, one cradling a toddler, one walking a child. An Indian archeological journal had published photographs of the Tanesar Matrikas in 1961. Sometime thereafter they were stolen and smuggled out of the country. In the late nineties, one of the statues appeared in a Sotheby’s catalogue, and in February, 2003, Shrivastava assembled some photographs of the sculptures and travelled to Tanesar.

When the police contingent arrived at the village, a crowd formed. Shrivastava’s men asked whether anyone remembered a series of statues of women that had once stood nearby. “We got hold of a person who was now eighty years old,” Shrivastava told me. “Long white hair. Old guy.” Shrivastava asked the man if he remembered the Matrikas, and after a moment the man said, “Oh, yes, I recall, seven or eight idols were there of a lady, a lady feeding her child.” Shrivastava took out the pictures of the Matrikas. The old man stared at them for a moment. Then he began to weep.

I asked what had become of the Matrikas, and Shrivastava told me that they had ended up in various museums in England and the United States. Today, one is at the British Museum, one is at the Cleveland Museum, and one is at the Met.

-- from this old New Yorker story
deepad: black silhouette of woman wearing blue turban against blue background (Default)
2012-12-12 01:50 pm

Ravi Shankar

92 years is a good long time to be around, and I'm grateful to have been able to seen some truly golden concerts. But it never seems like enough, when the taiyari and knowledge of the older generations seems to be getting diminished and lost. :(

Here's a lovely Raga Bairagi Todi from him, somber and contemplative.

And a video recording of him with Allah Rakha.

Maybe its time for that rewatch of Pather Panchali.