Will My Cat Eat My Eyeballs?
Big Questions from Tiny Mortals About Death
by Caitlin Doughty
Review by Roy Peak
Caitlin Doughty is a mortician living in California, known for her charming YouTube videos in which she answers questions about death. In this, her third book, she tackles questions from kids about that same morbid subject. And you just know that kids are going to come up with the best questions—right? Questions such as "Can I keep my parents' skull after they die?" and "If I died making a stupid face, would it be stuck like that forever?" and of course the always fun to think about "Will I poop when I die?" These are the kind of questions that when kids ask their parents, the parents hardly ever have the real answer and just make something up: "Um, no Uncle Ken gets to keep daddy's skull. Your father did lose that bet to him all those years ago," and "Of course, it would. Now stick your tongue back in your mouth,, and eat your asparagus," and "Duh. Doesn't everyone?"
by Sohrab Homi Fracis, Knut House Press
Review by Roy Peak
The protagonist of Sohrab Fracis' novel, Go Home, is a young college student named Viraf, from India, in America during the time of the Iran hostage crisis. (Viraf, rhymes with giraffe, and if you're a regular of this website you know that we think highly of anything that reminds us of a giraffe.) Truly torn between wanting to stay in America and going back to India, Viraf loves rock music, has intense feelings for his neighbor's girlfriend, drives around in a Ford Pinto (Remember those? And why no one wanted one?). He works hard, and often has trouble telling the difference between his long-haired American friends and the dangerous rednecks in his town.
by Julie Carpenter
I bet a lot of Sacred Chickens followers are going to be spending their time reading during this time of quarantine. Probably a number of you are going to order books: classics you’ve always wanted to read; brand new best sellers; fantasy trilogies; or dusty historical tomes you promised yourself you’d get around to.
So, this is a good time to remind all you guys that you can order pretty much any book with an ISBN number from an independent bookstore. Check out the picture that goes along with this blog post. That’s my latest purchase from Poetic Justice Books and Arts. It looks like a great read. (Besides, it goes really well with my turquoise bookshelves.) I’m planning to grab a couch and get started on it later this afternoon.
The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender
Written by Leslye Walton
Review by Jarad Johnson
Sometimes, a book comes across my reading pile that has a striking title and nice cover, but doesn’t give any indication of the contents hidden within. This particular book cover featured a feather. (Please note the slight pathology of a person who buys books based on the cover without even knowing, based on the cover, what might be inside. I may have a problem. I buy a lot of books, okay?) I pondered the jacket, wondering if I had bought a book about birds. In a way I had, but I couldn’t glean that from the cover. Nothing to do but open the cover and stop puzzling over it in the middle of the Starbucks line. People might start to think I was weird. We can’t have that, can we?
One of the many things that I don’t enjoy about living at school is that I have no opportunity to garden. There’s no garden bed to tend, no weeds to pull, and no flowers to enjoy. So, I started taking horticulture-based classes a few semesters ago, and that has saved my sanity, what little I had. At least I have something that I can do that’s related to plants.
Do you ever have some odd, random thought pop into your head…and instead of simply thinking the thought you start thinking about thinking about the thought? Yeah. Me too.
This morning, while I was brushing my teeth it suddenly occurred to me to wonder about Mona Lisa’s smile. Yes…I know a million other people have had this question. My main concern is not with the cliched and random idea that suddenly popped into my head, it’s more about where the thought came from, the snap conclusion I came to, and why the whole train of thought landed in my station in the first place.
Written by Lane Mochow
Review by Julie Carpenter
If you go to Lane’s Amazon page, the review is simple. It begins with a few lines of poetry from this sharp, sweet, and far too short book.
It’s election season again…get out your tums, aspirin, and a bottle of your favorite flavored brandy – your election survival kit, as we like to call it here at Sacred Chickens. The other thing we do here to keep calm and decide how to vote is read. No surprise.
Here’s a list of some of the books we find intriguing. Some of these books bring insight to current events, some we ingested long ago, and they have become part of our internal political microbiome. All of them illuminate some aspect of political life we think you’ll find helpful or at least interesting. What books are you going to read this election season?
Julie - I’ve read quite a few books over the last decade or so that have influenced my thought processes on politics. A couple that I read nearly ten years ago stuck with me and I still refer to them. Even though these books are not new releases, they still resonate. In fact, in a way, I think they’re even more interesting now than they were then because they provide some insight into the underpinnings of our current political landscape. I don’t mind skipping around in time a little. (On my current reading list I have a couple books, one much older, Chaos and Community, by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and one extremely current, Why We’re Polarized, by Ezra Klein.) But the time period represented by the two books I’ve chosen is one in which I was changing, and these books gave me a lot of insight into the systems that molded me.
The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander
2010 (new edition released in 2020)
Written by a civil rights attorney and legal scholar, the book explores the racist underpinnings of the American justice system with fact after fact, statistic after statistic. Her clear, rational prose leaves no room for escape. The system is broken, broken on purpose, and it damages us all. This book makes a compelling case for change based on a heart-rending exploration of the past and present foundations of incarceration in this country. Whatever you think you know about the justice system, you will be surprised at what Alexander turns up in this thoughtful and harrowing book.
By Bill Sheffield
Review by Roy Peak
Bill Sheffield is a guitarist, slide player, and vocalist from Atlanta, Georgia who doesn't just dabble in the blues, he lives it. From his days of fronting the Eastside Blues Band and opening up for blues greats such as Big Mama Thornton, John Lee Hooker, and T-Bone Walker, to his stint singing with Roy Buchanan, to his solo performances reinterpreting classic blues by the likes of Charley Patton, Mississippi Fred McDowell, and Blind Willie McTell, Sheffield has most definitely learned and owned his craft.
by Jarad Johnson
This is based on a paper that I wrote about book Zoo City by Lauren Beukes. As it happens, I have already reviewed this book for Sacred Chickens. You can read the review here.
You may have noticed that sometimes we get a little sidetracked when we review books. Occasionally, this is for political reasons, sometimes we find a thread back to something else we’ve read. However, if you read through all of our posts, the most likely reason is that we got sidetracked by gardens, herbs, and/or witches. Recently, we discussed the use of plants and witchcraft in Horticulture and Witchcraft: Women and the Power of the Earth (which you can read here) an addendum to our review of the book The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (check that out here!) The book’s narrative was shaped by the lore of the female healer and all of the baggage that comes with it. But European and by extension American culture is not alone in ascribing medicinal and magical power to plants. One of the other books we’ve previously reviewed, Zoo City, by Lauren Beukes, is set in an entirely different cultural context, and the traditions it references shape the narrative in a different way.