Books I read in July 2022

A varied month: bisexuality, climate fiction, and essays.

The Actual Star, Monica Byrne

My mind was blown by this book. A mysterious cave in Belize is the heart of this novel. In 1012, the last monarchs of the ancient Maya are preparing for the sacrificial ball game. In 2012, Leah Oliveri travels to Belize to rediscover her roots. And in 3012, two competing factions of a religion born from climate chaos travel to Belize to see which of their visions should prevail.

Read my full review

Bi: The Hidden Culture, History, and Science of Bisexuality, Julia Shaw

Very enjoyable and interesting. Highly recommended. Easy to read, and debunks a lot of the myths about bisexuality. It also confirms that people think we are straight if we are partnered with someone of a different sex, and gay if we are partnered with someone of the same sex (as happened with Freddie Mercury in the recent Queen movie). Hence our powers of invisibility. It also confirms my preferred definition of bisexuality: liking both people of the same gender and people of a different gender. NOT people who subscribe to binary gender.

More details on the author’s website

A mind spread out on the ground, Alicia Elliott

A collection of essays about a variety of things: depression, bipolar, being Indigenous, Indigenous writers, the ongoing violence of colonialism, the invasive aspects of photography, and growing up on the Six Nations reserve in Ontario, among other things. Alicia Elliott is a member of the Haudenosaunee. The title of the book refers to the Mohawk word for depression,“wake’nikonhra’kwenhtará:’on” which describes the mind as “[l]iterally stretched or sprawled out on the ground. It’s all over.” A second phrase, “ake’nikonhrèn:ton,” means “the mind is suspended.” Such depression is often caused by the destruction of Indigenous cultures, languages, and life ways by colonialism.

Publisher details | Author interview

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