Tuesday, October 31, 2017

October wrap-up and plans for November


Reading

Snail I saw at the bus stop

I've begun Middlemarch and am so far on track with our reading schedule.

Reading Challenge List: Nothing.

CBAM: Angels in America by Tony Kushner, parts 1 & 2

Romance: The Lady Travelers Guide to Scoundrels and Other Gentlemen by Victoria Alexander (review coming soon!)

Nonfiction: Hunger by Roxane Gay

Listening


The Lady Travelers Guide was on audio so I spent some time listening to that. I've also spent a great deal of time with the new Pink album, Beautiful Trauma. It's so perfect for my mood right now.


Watching

terrible pic of my new dress from eShakti

The latest season of Call the Midwife. I'm also almost finished with Miss Fisher's Mysteries, and I've begun season 2 of Stranger Things.

Knitting


My East Neuk Hoodie is progressing! I've divided for the armholes and I'm nearing the end of the back. I was stymied a bit for a moment there, but realized I cannot count. Thank goodness for simple math to get me back on the right track.

I also worked on a little cross stitch project, and now that I'm almost finished I've ordered two more.

Eating


Briefly got on track with some healthy meal-planning and then it all went to hell again, culminating with me getting sick the last weekend of the month. Not eating well, plus an exhausting conference, do not work together to make me healthy.

Doing


As I mentioned, I attended a conference this month. The New England Library Association was in Burlington, VT this fall and it was jam-packed with great, informative sessions. Some of the highlights were sessions about critical media literacy (i.e. how to spot fake/biased news), free speech vs. hate speech, and neutrality. Chris Bohjalian was the featured speaker, and authors Garth Stein and Ann Hood also spoke. I was hoping to type up my notes, but feel really behind right now so I'm not sure I'll get to it.

October always feels so busy at work, and it's even more so this year. In addition to being away for the conference, I was out for a couple of days because I had vacation time to use up, and I also had to train two new substitutes. We're also in the planning stages of a renovation which means extra meetings.

#riotgrams day 29: recent acquisitions
This month I participated in #riotgrams, which was on Instagram and sponsored by Book Riot. Each day there was a theme or topic and you just post a book-related photo on that topic and tag it #riotgrams. It was fun! I've been using Instagram a lot recently, but even so it was a bit of work to make sure I had something relevant to post every day.

I finally ordered some clothes from eShakti and can't believe I didn't do this years ago! Their clothing can all be customized to size as well as preference for length, neckline, and sleeve styles. Plus everything is machine washable and has POCKETS. Dresses with pockets, you guys! I bought a dress and a jumpsuit (!) and then as soon as I got them I ordered another dress. I should also mention that their clothing is pretty inexpensive. The dress I just got was customized to size and style and was a total of $66 including shipping.

Plans for November


I'm hoping to read Sense and Sensibility very soon as I'll be seeing a production of it in December. It sounds like we're getting our front steps rebuilt in a couple of weeks, and also getting a new retaining wall so our neighbor's house doesn't slide down into our yard. We'll probably do something for Thanksgiving, though I don't know what yet. But I'm sure it will involve pie. I'm traveling to Maine the first weekend of December for family Thanksgiving (we celebrate it whenever people have time off from work, which isn't always actual Thanksgiving weekend.) Otherwise, I'm just hoping to get caught up on stuff at work that I got behind on in October.

How was your October?

Monday, October 30, 2017

Moxie

Moxie by Jennifer Mathieu (2017)

A teenaged girl in Texas is really fed up with the way girls are treated in her school, and the way the boys are allowed to act towards them. Vivian Carter has endured games of "bump-and-grab" which is exactly what it sounds like, boys constantly telling girls to "make me a sandwich" and wearing t-shirts that say things like "Great legs - when do they open?" It's not even so much that they are doing these things, but that they're getting away with it. But football is king at this high school, and the boys who play it get to do whatever they want. Vivian is inspired by her mother's collection of zines from her Riot Grrl days and stealthily begins her own, which she calls Moxie. And now the double-standard at her school becomes even more apparent.

Viv doesn't tell anyone that she is the girl behind Moxie, the one who is encouraging other girls to find solidarity and participate in protests. She doesn't know what her friends would think. Her new friend Lucy Hernandez is obviously on board with Moxie, but her BFF forever, Claudia, seems more unsure. Viv is accidentally discovered with copies of the zine by attractive new boy Seth Acosta, but he is an ally and keeps her secret. They start dating, which adds a new dimension to the whole situation and gives Viv hope that some boys are actually decent people.

This is not at all getting across the amazingness of this book. I loved everything about it! The complexities of feminism, and how Viv's efforts were received by girls of color, the acknowledgement of the importance of all-girl spaces, the realities of being a feminist while dating boys, who despite their best efforts are just not going to quite get it. I even loved Viv's mom, though I depressingly realized at one point that she is MY AGE. Which is exactly the problem with reading teen books when you're in your 40s, but I'm willing to deal with that because I'm not giving them up.

I first heard of this book because of a horrible, ridiculous review that appeared in Kirkus Reviews. I thought the review was stupid when I first read it because the criticisms just don't belong in a book review, but after actually reading the book I realize the reviewer wasn't even remotely correct. For instance, she criticized the story because boys weren't allowed to participate in the fight against misogyny, which has nothing to do with how well the book is written, not to mention that we are not, as a society, in agreement on that particular issue. But after reading it, it's clear that she's completely wrong about boys being left out - Seth clearly supported and participated in the actions and Vivian was happy to have his support. The reviewer also claims that the characters ignored due process, which, have you ever read a crime novel? And why is this a valid thing to cover in a review? Also, it's not entirely true and honestly, I could go on at length about the reasons why women do not go to the police every time we experience a sexual assault, but again, this subject doesn't belong in a book review. Anyhow, thank you Kirkus for drawing so much attention to this book that many people have now read, who maybe wouldn't even have heard of it had you not so grossly misrepresented it in your review.

Although I'd argue it's always the right time for feminism, I think right now is an especially good time for a book about girls speaking out about sexual harassment and assault. But it's also a great story full of likable and relatable characters, and it's fun! If you haven't read it yet, go grab yourself a copy right away!

Friday, October 27, 2017

Hunger

Hunger: A Memoir of (My) Body by Roxane Gay (2017)

As a child Roxane Gay endured a horrific sexual assault that she did not know how to deal with. Afterward, she began to overeat, trying to hide herself. She writes candidly about what it's like to live in her body, one that is much larger than is acceptable in our society, and the numerous indignities that she suffers every day because of it. Although it's a memoir, much of it consists of vignettes on various topics, such as how inhospitable certain seating is for her, what it's like for her to go to the gym or to the doctor, and her thoughts about weight-loss shows like The Biggest Loser.

This book is intensely personal. She admits things that must be very difficult to admit, and though it's incredibly reassuring to hear as a fellow human, I can't help but wonder what it costs a person to write a book like this. She is really laying bare everything about herself and that has to affect her relationships and her interactions with people (including friends and family) who have read it.

Although it's more personal than her other books, her trademark wit is still apparent. In a chapter about Oprah Winfrey and her weight loss, she mentions a commercial in which Oprah says, "Inside every overweight woman is a woman she knows she can be." We've all heard that idea, of course, that there's a skinny woman inside, just waiting to get out. Gay's thought every time she sees the commercial is, "I ate that thin woman and she was delicious but unsatisfying." I also found it rather charming that she refers to her romantic partner as her "person."

I'll admit I was a little disappointed at the lack of a narrative thread through much of the book; I think I was expecting more of a traditional memoir than a collection of thematic essays, but she gives us a great deal to think about. It's not as though I was unaware of how our society looks upon people who are overweight or some of the specific problems (like airline seating), but there was so much I hadn't thought of. It's like this with any marginalized population, of course. Those of us who aren't part of that population can only understand a fraction of what they experience. Although many people have written about their weight and body image, I don't think I've read anything this detailed or personal or honest.

Gay came across as resigned to many unhappy aspects of her life, which left me feeling rather downhearted. She's appreciative of the many good things about her life, and rather likes herself though she feels like she's not supposed to. It's definitely a book that is more thought-provoking than enjoyable so I can't enthusiastically say how much I liked it. So much of it was unpleasant to hear and think about. But it's good, there's no doubt about that. She's incredibly talented and brilliant and it's always worth listening to what she has to say. Hunger is a must-read for anyone who's a fan of her work.

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Angels in America

Angels in America, Part One: Millennium Approaches (1992) and Part Two: Perestroika (1993) by Tony Kushner

This two-part play was the October pick for Classic Book-a-Month Club. Set in the 1980s, it focuses on two couples: Joe and Harper, and Louis and Prior, but other major characters include lawyer Ray Cohn, Joe's mother Hannah, and a nurse named Belize. The story takes place in the height of the AIDS epidemic, and two characters are afflicted. The angels of the title aren't a metaphor - actual angels appear, though they're only one of the fantastical, surreal elements of the play.

Early in the play, Prior is diagnosed with AIDS and his lover, Louis, doesn't deal well with this news, to put it mildly. Joe and Harper's relationship is also crumbling; they are supposed to be good Mormons, but Joe has been repressing his true self for quite a while and Harper is mentally ill.

I knew this was going to be confusing to read as soon as I read the list of characters at the beginning. There aren't a lot of them, but there are specific instructions that the actor playing Harper's imaginary friend Mr. Lies, for instance, should be the same actor who plays Belize, and the actor playing the Angel should also play the nurse, Emily. I really tried to picture the actors in each of these roles but they were a number of instructions of this nature and it was a bit too much to keep in my head the whole time.

I can see that this is a great story and I think watching a production would be rather spectacular, but I'm afraid that the reading experience wasn't great for me. I had such high hopes after A Raisin in the Sun, but this is just such a complicated play that it didn't come through as well on the page for me.

I don't know if this is a play that gets performed often, but I'll keep an eye out for a production because I think I'd really like to see it. In the meantime, I know that HBO made it into a mini-series and I may check that out. I'm a bit daunted by the length - it's about 6 hours and the two volumes together are only about 260 pages, so they must have added a lot to it - but I've heard it's very good.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Top Ten Unique Book Titles




Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. This week is all about unique book titles, which is super fun! A lot of book titles are rather samey, using words that aren't very memorable, not to mention trends like all the books with "girl" in the title, which just leads to confusing them all wiht each other. But some really knock it out of the park with creativity. I'm sure there are some great titles out there I'm not remembering now and I'll kick myself later when I think of them, but here are a few that came to mind right away.

1. The Cry of the Sloth by Sam Savage
I can't seem to make a book list of any sort without this ending up on it.

2. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
A classic. But I love it. It's a whole sentence and it's kind of creepy even when you don't know much about the story.

3. We Are All Shipwrecks by Kelly Carlisle
This is a new memoir and I'm planning to read it, based almost entirely on the title.

4. Nefarious Twit by Tony McMillen
I haven't read this yet, but I think I'd like it. I keep coming across it at the library where I work, because it's in both our regular collection and our local author collection. It's a very satisfying title to say.

5. Normal People Don't Live Like This by Dylan Landis
A great book of short stories that I read based on the title alone. It's also a refrain that goes through my head a lot when I look around at the condition of my house.

6. I Was Told There'd Be Cake by Sloane Crosley
A book of essays that didn't really live up to the title, but was still ok enough. I really like cake.

7. The Braindead Megaphone by George Saunders
A book of essays by Saunders back before he got really well-known with Tenth of December. It's very good!

8. When God Was a Rabbit by Sarah Winman
Slightly magical British coming-of-age novel that I kept hearing about on The Readers podcast, and remembered because the title really stands out.

9. Your House Is On Fire, Your Children All Gone by Stefan Kiesbye
Pretty ominous, and it was totally appropriate to the story. A bizarre little book. Great title and a creepy cover.

10. Grasshopper Jungle by Andrew Smith
Those aren't two words you'd generally think to put together if you're not Andrew Smith, and most of us aren't.

I didn't even get into all the punny romance titles, which I totally love, but I guess they aren't unique since so many of them do employ puns. I can think of some more that are unusual, but in ways that I find annoying because they're just too long or too precious-sounding. Are there any great ones that I forgot?

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Turtles All the Way Down

Turtles All the Way Down by John Green (2017)

It feels like it's been about a decade since John Green's last novel, and for a while there I didn't think he'd write another one. But finally the happy day has arrived! And passed, because I read the book in about two days and now I'm in the same position of being caught up on his books and having who-knows-how-long to wait for another. Possibly for all of eternity. ANYWAY.

The premise of the story is that a billionaire went missing overnight to escape indictment, and there's a very large reward being offered for information on his whereabouts. Sixteen-year-old Aza has taken notice of this situation - or rather her best friend Daisy has - because it so happens that Aza used to be close with the billionaire's son, Davis. Daisy persuades Aza to take the opportunity to rekindle their old friendship and Aza does. Davis sees right through it, but it doesn't actually matter because as it turns out he and Aza hit it off quite well.

But what makes this all so much more interesting is that Aza suffers from Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder. It really screws with her life. She gets into these thought spirals and can't escape and can't participate in what's going on around her while it's happening. She has a cut on her finger that she keeps re-opening and is convinced she's going to die of a bacterial infection called Clostridium difficile or C. diff, which can be fatal. We have access to her thoughts, her conversations about this with her mother and Daisy, and her therapy appointments. I don't think I've read anything about mental illness that put me as a reader quite this effectively into the character's thought processes. It was scary, and I just felt so bad for her because the main issue is that she can't control her thoughts and, I mean, who can? Most of us are just lucky that our thoughts aren't quite like this. It's no secret that John Green has OCD himself, which explains why he has such good insight into this. It must have been painful to write.

I loved Davis and his younger brother Noah. They really were rich beyond rich, but they seemed to realize that their life wasn't exactly normal. Their house had a movie theater and a pool. They had a full staff including a house manager, who was basically their stand-in parent while their father was missing. It was so sad because nobody seemed to appreciate that they needed someone to take care of them. Their mother was already dead, and Davis was old enough that he and Noah could be on their own and just needed a legal guardian, who I think might have been the house manager. But Noah was not dealing well at all with the situation. Davis wasn't crazy about his dad anyway, but Noah really missed him. Aza was the only one who seemed to understand and to empathize with him.

I haven't even mentioned the tuatara. Their father's will left everything to a pet a tuatara. You know, as you do.

Anyhow, if you like John Green I don't even have to tell you to read this. In my opinion it's not, like, TFIOS-level awesome, but it's still a book by John Green which makes it better than the majority of books out there. I really enjoyed the time I spent with it.

Monday, October 16, 2017

Binti

Binti by Nnedi Okorafor (2015)

As you may know, Nnedi Okorafor is a hot new science fiction author. Every time I turn around someone is recommending one of her books, either at work in the library or on one of the many book blogs that I read. I've been wanting to read her since I saw one of her books listed on For Harriet's books by black women that everyone must read, which I used for a display last January. Finally I requested a copy of her novella, Binti, which is hard to come by since it is pretty much always checked out.

Binti is the first of the Himba people to be offered a place at the elite Oomza University, and her family would not have approved, but it's an opportunity she can't turn down. So she leaves home secretly at night to travel to another planet. Aboard the ship she stands out, with her clay-covered skin that is the hallmark of her tribe, but she quickly makes friends. But just days before arriving at their destination the ship is infiltrated by a deadly enemy.

This is one of the most creative stories I've read, and I can't even compare it to any other scifi I know of. I loved some of the details of this story - for instance, Binti was essentially traveling through space in a giant shrimp. A shrimp! That was their ship! And I don't mean that the ship was made to look like a shrimp - I mean that it was an actual living creature and they were all inside it. WHAT. Also, Binti was super into math in a way that I barely comprehended, but that was one of her special gifts. Her people were very talented with technology, but she went beyond what was usual. She was considered a harmonizer, which had something to do with the way she understood and communicated with circuits and currents. The enemies that board the ship were also fascinating: jellyfish-like creatures called the Meduse who wreak havoc but are strangely unable to harm Binti.

I always appreciate books that are character-driven, and it makes it immensely happy to find character-driven science fiction. This was all about Binti and her experiences, hopes, and fears. As I mentioned it's a novella, but even at 90 pages there was a lot going on and a great deal of world-building. This is a planned trilogy, with the third installment due in January. Highly recommended!

Friday, October 13, 2017

Ghost

Ghost by Jason Reynolds (2016), narrated by Guy Lockard

Castle Cranshaw - self-nicknamed Ghost - knows how to run. He's been running fast since he was a kid trying to outrun a bullet. But track has never been his thing, until one day he impulsively shows up a practice and challenges one of the best runners there. The coach takes ghost under his wing and adds him to the team. But it's a challenge. Not the running - that part's easy. What Ghost keeps getting stuck on is the part where he needs to stay out of fights, plus he doesn't have the right gear for running track and the only way he knows how to get it might get him in even more trouble.

Middle-grade fiction has never really been my thing, but I keep hearing about Jason Reynolds and this book in particular recently (partly because a book group at work is reading it) so I downloaded the audio which was a nice short listen between some of my longer audiobooks.

I enjoyed this story way more than I thought I would. Ghost is really a great kid, and Reynolds captures all the difficulties of growing up with it's myriad pressures and few solutions available to kids. Ghost is really doing the best he has with what he has, which isn't much. His father is in jail for trying to shoot Ghost and his mother, and now his mom is working her butt off to take care of him. She works in the cafeteria at a hospital and she's taking classes to be a nurse. Every time she appears in the story she is exhausted, and it's not hard to see why. She's a pretty amazing, strong woman and I think Ghost sees this too.

He's not over what happened when he was so young, but he's never really talked about it. Only when he joins the track team does he have a real support system of peers who help each other out and understand what their friends have been through. This camaraderie is due in no small part to their fantastic coach, a former Olympic medalist who doesn't like to talk about his past but obviously cares more about the kids on his team than pretty much anything else.

The other great adult in Ghost's life is Mr. Charles who owns a store where Ghost goes all the time to buy his favorite snack, sunflower seeds. The two have a great relationship and when Ghost finally gets his track uniform Mr. Charles is the first person he goes to show it to.

Lest we forget how young this kid is, at one point he exclaims how great it would be to own a store because you wouldn't have to buy groceries. I totally remember being young enough to think that makes sense. He's also obsessed with the Guinness Book of World Records, memorizing and rattling off the names of people who hold records for various feats, a very common interest for people that age (I also found it fascinating, but never got as far as memorization.)

Guy Lockard captured all the humor and wonder and cleverness of Ghost's personality and made this book a lot of fun to listen to. He narrates some other books by Reynolds too, so if I decide to read more from this author - which seems likely after Ghost - I'll probably listen to the audio version again.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book

Everyone's a Aliebn When Ur a Aliebn Too: A Book by Jomny Sun (2017)

In this graphic novel, a sad lonely little alien is sent to Earth to study humans. He meets all sorts of "humans" including a tree, a bear, an egg, some bees, a turtle, a dog, and some very smart otters. He feels more at home among all these various earthlings than he does with his own people, who check back on his progress from time to time. They don't seem to think he's doing very well fulfilling his duties, but the little alien is learning so much about friendship and feeling good about oneself that it hardly matters.

This book is apparently based on a Twitter account, which I haven't even checked out since the book is so cute I can't imagine how it would come through on Twitter. I mean, I can imagine and it doesn't seem like the sort of account I'd enjoy following. But I love it as a book.

It's a simple, but also profound. It's adorable, sad, hopeful, and philosophical. It's right up there with Hyperbole and a Half on my just-now-formed list of graphic novels to read when you need to lift yourself out of despair.

Graphic novels always leave me a loss when I'm trying to blog about them. They're so visual and contain so few words, and somehow that translates to me not being able to find enough words to talk about them. So I'm just going to leave you with photos of some of my favorite pages.






Thursday, October 5, 2017

A few I didn't finish

I've failed to read a number of books recently, so I thought it would be fun to do a roundup. (Plus I have nothing else to post about since I haven't finished anything.)

WTF?
The Sympathizer by Viet Thanh Nguyen

This Pulitzer-winning (2016) novel was one of the nominees for our Community Read. It sounded promising, the story of a Vietnamese double agent in America after the Vietnam War. However, I only managed to read 22 pages of the book. I had no idea what was going on. This author clearly spent immense time and effort in masterfully crafting each sentence, but I have no idea what those beautiful sentences were saying. I feel bad about abandoning a book for the Community Read committee, and I think this is the first time I haven't finished reading one. But it was so clear that this impenetrable book would be a turn-off to a lot of people and that's the opposite of what we're trying to do.

Poor timing.
White Teeth by Zadie Smith

My first (and only?) foray into the work of Zadie Smith did not go nearly as well as I had hoped. For years I've felt like I should try this author and finally I put this book on my Personal Reading Challenge list and, a couple of weeks ago, dove in. The problem is that I knew I was going to start reading Middlemarch soon, and that's a terrible time to pick up a 400+-page novel with tiny print, thinking I could just breeze through it. There's no breezing with this book. It's not bad, actually, and for a while I liked it and assumed I'd read the whole thing. Then, about 75 pages into it, I realized that I just saw no compelling reason to keep going. The characters felt distant and unknowable, and the story had no momentum for me. The writing is perfectly lovely and had I not been just about to embark on an even longer, denser book perhaps I would have kept going. Would I have finished? There's no way to know the answer to that one.

Outcasts United by Warren St. John

Ugh.
Dear readers, this is the second Community Read I failed to finish and it came so soon after the first one. It's almost like the problem is me, not the books. But that's not the case. This book is terrible. It sounds interesting - it's about a group of refugees and their soccer team. This particular edition is adapted for middle-grader readers and it's possible that the adult version is better but I'm not willing to find out. (And the committee was unsure which version we'd be talking about because the person who nominated it hasn't actually read it, and I think this is where we went wrong.) I have two examples of what is wrong with this book. First, there's a scene in which a woman is fleeing her house in Liberia with her children because some men have broken in to murder her husband. It is unclear how many children she has because the book says she lives with her husband and sons and then lists four names, but the first one is definitely a son and if the husband's name was mentioned wouldn't it have been first? So she's fleeing the house and grabbed two sons on the way out, and they escaped to a refugee camp where they lived for 5 years and then got 4 tickets to the US where she then set up house with her three sons. Did she go back for the other son? And how many sons total did she have? It was incredibly unclear. The second example of what is wrong with this book is that all of a sudden on page 92 the author inserts himself in a bit of first-person narration after the entire book so far is in third person and he does not appear in it. Talk about jarring. It was also just kind of boring. I abandoned it soon after, almost halfway through.

So there you have it. All of my recent shame.

Have you read any of these books? Have you given up on anything lately?

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Mrs. Fletcher

Mrs. Fletcher by Tom Perrotta (2017)

Tom Perrotta's brand new novel is about two characters: a 46-year-old woman and her son. Brendan is a total frat boy, heading off to college. He's not a terrible person, but he's a straight white dude who is completely oblivious to what it's like not be a straight white dude. He's sort of gross to women and doesn't understand that. He just sort of bumps around through his life, without focus or intention, other than having a good time and partying. Eve is sort of glad to have Brendan out of the house (who wouldn't be?) but also feels the empty space that has now opened up in her life. She makes some attempts at friendship, and starts taking a class called Gender and Society at the local community college. One night she gets an anonymous text from someone calling her a MILF, and she gets fixated on the concept and develops an obsession with a porn site called MILFateria.com.

I loved Eve. She ran a Senior Center and was a totally competent and confident professional, but in her personal life she floundered. She was divorced and her dating life is rather stagnant, though her newfound porn habit has made her rather more adventurous in real life. She begins doing lots of ethically-questionable things, and I really rather enjoyed her struggle to behave as a responsible adult and give in (sometimes) to her desires. I found her very genuine and relatable in many ways, and to be honest I feel a bit miffed that a male author created her.

Brendan is another thing altogether. He annoyed me so much, and I kept picturing Tom Perrotta chuckling about Brendan's stupidity as though he was once just like Brendan (though I suspect he wasn't ever like Brendan.) I feel like we were supposed to be annoyed with Brendan but also write him off as young and stupid in a harmless way, but I don't find him - or any guys like him - to be harmless, and couldn't be amused by him. He even once used my most-hated, most-invalidating, male-tone-deaf statement, which is: "Don't be like that." (Does anyone else hate that phrase as much as I do?) He was an interesting character in a way, and he got his comeuppance but didn't actually care because he is so stupid he doesn't know what a jerk he is. I wanted him to grow up more during the course of the novel and develop more self-awareness. Don't get me wrong though; I still liked reading the parts of the story that were narrated by Brendan.

So that's not a criticism of the book AT ALL. My only criticism relates to a transgender character, Eve's class instructor. Margo Fairchild referred to her early life a couple of times saying things like "when I was a guy" and referencing how she "used to be man," which is not how trans people generally think about themselves. I mean, in her mind she was always a woman, right? But trans people are all different just as cis people are all different and it's not completely out of the realm of possibility that someone might speak this way. Just...I find it hard to believe that a trans woman who teaches a college class about gender would speak this way.

Otherwise, I loved this book. Tom Perrotta has never disappointed me. His stories and his style of writing are always a pleasure and and I'm only sad that now I'll have to wait another few years for another book.