Library books

Are you interested in what I’m reading that’s not for fun over the next two days?

Let's celebrate the anthropologists...

Let’s celebrate the anthropologists…

That’s Burang’s Tibetan Art of Healing, Kapferer’s A Celebration of Demons, Kapferer’s edited volume Beyond Rationalism, Hobart and Kapferer (ed.s), Aesthetics in Performance, and Christoph von Fürer-Haimendorf’s edited Contributions to The Anthropology of Nepal.

Yes, I’m an ancient historian in research interests. Why am I reading modern anthropology of Nepal?


Two stories, an essay on depression, and some links

Aliette de Bodard’s short story at Subterranean Press, “The Days of War, as Red as Blood, as Dark as Bile,” is marvellously bitter and affecting.

While at Clarkesworld, Seth Dickinson’s “Morrigan in the Sunglare” makes an interesting counterpoint. Both are stories about war and loss, but they approach their subjects from widely divergent angles.

They’re both pretty good, by the way. Just in case you were wondering.

Libba Bray has a long essay on depression, “Miles and Miles of No-Man’s Land”:

Depression is hard to understand, because it is not a consistent state. Depression is rather like a virus, but like a virus, it has its manageable days and its acute, life-threatening flare-ups. You can be in a depression and still laugh at a friend’s joke or have a good night at dinner or manage low-level functioning. You grocery shop and stop to pet a puppy on the corner, talk to friends in a café, maybe write something you don’t hate. When this happens, you might examine your day for clues like reading tea leaves in a cup: Was it the egg for breakfast that made the difference? The three-mile run? You think, well, maybe this thing has moved on now. And you make no sudden moves for fear of attracting its abusive attention again.

But other times…

Other times, it’s as if a hole is opening inside you, wider and wider, pressing against your lungs, pushing your internal organs into unnatural places, and you cannot draw a true breath. You are breaking inside, slowly, and everything that keeps you tethered to your life, all of your normal responses, is being sucked through the hole like an airlock emptying into space. These are the times Holly Golightly called the Mean Reds.

I call it White Knuckling it.

When it’s White Knuckle Time, you will have to remind yourself to stand in the middle of the subway platform, well away from the edge.

Yep. That’s a thing. That’s a thing that’s happened to me.

Jonathan McCalmont has a perspicacious review of Ender’s Game, many of whose arguments are paralleled in Cory Doctorow’s Sunday essay at Locus Online, “Cold Equations and Moral Hazard.”

Mary Beard talks about women’s voices.

Sarah Rees Brennan writes trenchant critique of the ways women are judged for writing fanfiction.

And here is a discussion on the popularity, or lack thereof, of lesbian romance.

Peter Higgins, TRUTH AND FEAR

Reviewed over at

What Higgins does well, he does very well indeed. The prose treads a delicate line between the spare and the ornate, never quite tipping over into the latter – although at the moments when he lets moments of weirdness, bubbles of the bizarre, shines through, it can lean perilously close. There’s something almost Miévillean about Higgins’ combination of magic and the machinery of 20th century industrial totalitarianism: an innovative slipping-through-the-interstices…