Thursday, December 7, 2017

Killers of the Flower Moon

Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI by David Grann (2017)

When the Osage people were pushed off their land, they were relocatd to an area that turned out to have oil and they become quite wealthy. But in the early 1920s a rash of murders swept through the community, and efforts to investigate and bring those responsible to justice were thwarted. Finally, the organization that came to be known as the FBI, run by J. Edgar Hoover, got involved. Some murderers were caught, but it also turned out that the extent of the crimes went beyond what was previously suspected.

Grann starts his book with the story of the murder of Anna Brown, who was shot in the head. Another sister, along with her husband, was killed in a fiery explosion. Still another sister was slowly being poisoned until she went to the hospital where she was out of the reach of her husband. Many Osage women were married to white men, and it becomes clear that many of these men were playing a long game to get their hands on their wives' wealth. It was a huge conspiracy, with so many players involved it was almost impossible to stop it. Doctors, members of law enforcement, and other community leaders were themselves involved, so there was nobody victims or their families could turn to. When someone got close to solving the crime or implicating someone, they too were killed.

It's a story about a rash of crimes, but also about white supremacy. The government had promised the Osage they could stay on their land in Kansas, but when white settlers came in demanding the land, they were moved. (Among these white settlers? The Ingalls family. Now I'm even more interested to read Prairie Fires, which I think talks about this more.) American Indians weren't allowed to have control over their own finances, but were appointed white guardians. WHAT COULD POSSIBLY GO WRONG?

Killers of the Flower Moon is a thorough examination of a piece of history I knew nothing about, told in an engaging narrative style. I know pitifully little about America's indigenous people and the ways in which white people have destroyed their culture and communities, and this was a fascinating glimpse into one small piece of that history. I highly recommend it.

Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Top Ten Bookish Settings I'd Love To Visit


Top Ten Tuesdays are hosted at The Broke and the Bookish. Today we're thinking about book settings we'd love to visit - how fun!

1. Hogwarts
Obviously.

2. Regency England
But I wouldn't want to live there.

3. West Egg, 1920s
I like a good party, and 20s fashion.

4. 19th century Russia
I've been to Russia, but man it's different now!

5. Lyra's Oxford
I just want a daemon, to be honest.

6. The small English villages where Helen Simonson's books take place.
They're so cozy and filled with people I'd love to spend time with.

7. Manningsport, NY
From the Kristin Higgins Blue Heron series, and I don't just want to visit, I want to live there.

8. The cold places: Alaska, Antarctica, etc
I know that's more than one place, but I can't remember which books take place in which settings, I just like the cold climates. Again, I wouldn't want to actually live there.

9. The far future world of The Power where women are in charge
I know it's still oppressive, but as a woman it would be a refreshing change

10. The fictional version of pioneer America
Look, I know that the real Ingalls family weren't the paragon of virtue that Wilder tried to convince us they were, and that they were among those who pushed indigenous people off their land. So I consider her idealistic world a fictional one, and I would like to visit it.

This was hard, because so many of the settings I read about - especially the ones that play such an important part in a story - tend to be either dystopias or set in wartime, and those are places I definitely don't want to ever go to.

What bookish places would you like to visit?

Sunday, December 3, 2017

Sunday Knitting

I'm in Maine for my family's late Thanksgiving this weekend, and I finished the body of my sweater.



It looks terribly rumpled and there are loose ends everywhere, but you get the idea.

I'm very happy to be this close to finishing this seemingly endless project! I mean, it's not that close really, I've got two sleeves and a hood to knit now.

I tried it on to make sure the armholes were large enough and they seem fine. The sweater itself is a bit long, but I find that they tend to stretch horizontally which makes them a little shorter, so it should be fine. And if it's not fine, at least it will be finished and I can move on to something else.