Discourse on Colonialism by Aimé Césaire

Pages: 102
Genre: Non-Fiction, History
Format: Paperback
Published by Monthly Review Press

I bought this for my research paper, sometimes I do research papers as an excuse to read non-fiction I’ve been wanting to read. But that’s sort of a lie because I did write a paper on Genghis Khan and I had to read Jack Weatherford’s Genghis Khan and the Making of the Modern World which was boring, the way he wrote it was, I don’t understand why his telling is so popular. And the font was so tiny I would need a magnifying glass, especially at that time because my glasses were way past my prescription, when I got my new glasses finally, the world was so clear and sparkly. My main point is that non-fiction is a genre of literature that I find hard to read due to the way it’s written, I usually prefer historical fiction that is well researched. How do you know if a historical fiction book is well researched and not biased? Does this historical fiction novel sound like a White supremacist wrote it? Are there gadgets and clothing being described that don’t fit the time period? That’s something you can briefly Google, but Google shouldn’t be your main historical source. This is a whole different topic altogether, but it’s also one of the reasons why I’ve been wanting to read more non-fiction, to learn in more accurate and pinned down terms.

Before I even talk about this, here is the definition of Discourse:

Discourse: 

noun
1.
communication of thought by words; talk; conversation:
earnest and intelligent discourse.
2.
a formal discussion of a subject in speech or writing, as a dissertation, treatise, sermon, etc.
3.
Linguistics. any unit of connected speech or writing longer than a sentence.

I honestly wasn’t sure what that meant at first and it’s something that I quite commonly see for books about topics that pertain to society. And colonialism is something that affects us in ways we’re not even aware of sometimes, especially if you’re not a privileged White dude. 

I honestly feel odd reviewing this, because how do you review this? I know colonialism affects me in my life too, maybe not in a very obvious way, but more in my self-hatred as a kid that still continues on even now. As I became exposed to social justice and began learning about racism in a way you would never learn in school, I notice even amongst family members and people I go to school with, even I have perpetuated it at some point, we all do, things such as Colorism, Anti-Blackness. You notice internalized racism in yourself and everyone else. And what causes that? Some of those things are colonialism and White supremacy. But you as an individual have to learn, take it all down or deconstruct it, in order to overcome it, and it’s a lifetime’s amount of work. 

Discourse on Colonialism is a brilliant starter to learn about how it affects people and how the colonizers treat the colonized. It’s not necessarily handy for learning what colonialism is, but it’s handy for knowing how it affects people, especially Black people. 

This book is literally the first book I’ve ever read where I didn’t skip the introduction or notes written by Robin D.G. Kelley. He writes his analysis of the book and talks about Aimé Césaire’s life and his start of the Négritude movement. So that part was interesting because I know absolutely nothing about this guy. I haven’t  heard of him til I found and bought this book. And his life sounds fascinating to me.

Césaire was a poet and this was also translated from French and came around in 1950. The writing is beautiful and witty, probably because Césaire writes beautiful poetry I would like to read sometime soon. His writing is delicate yet strong and sarcastic. I’m not sure if it’s because of the time period, the French language, or because he’s brilliant, But this is what I’m talking about, this non-fiction is the type of non-fiction I like. A narrative from the author’s mind. Especially when he brings in other writer’s works and critiques them and calls out their racism, he is a powerful writer. Of course, I had to underline a lot of sentences, not only for research, but also because I liked them. And well, this is a very popular non-fiction book so what I’m saying isn’t much different. It’s brilliant and fills the mind.

Rating: 5/5

Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis by Peter Kuper

12911558

Pages: 86
Genre: Graphic Novels, Magical Realism
Format: Hardcover
Published by Broadway Books
Borrowed from the Library

I read Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis during either my junior year or senior year of high school. It wasn’t particularly mind blowing for me. Kafka has a really dark, sort of dry, sense of humor. He writes surreal stuff as a sort of medium to I guess figure out his fears and insecurities. Despite that this story didn’t really affect me at first, I realized that it is one of the greatest stories when it comes to that point of finally realizing no matter what you do, you’re eventually going to be forgotten. Even by your own family members. 

But this isn’t the novella, this is a comic book version of the novella. The story is basically the same thing, except the dialog and storytelling is more contemporary and understandable. It gets rid of the wordiness of the literature of that time.  

I found the comic book at my college library and was only interested purely because it was based on the Kafka story. And I just wanted to kill some time and take advantage of the comic book section in the library. So I did just that. I gotta say, this is actually really good. The artwork is dark, gothic, dreary, completely fitting for the story.  I will admit that the artwork was odd to me at first because I honestly didn’t imagine the characters as what was portrayed in the comic book. Except the father, I imagined him being large and grouchy much like the comic book. What I found brilliant about the artwork is that the author somehow managed to take their personality and make them human. The main character’s human form was a thin, tired, but gentlemanly man (great adjectives) that  was meek, yet not gentle enough to let people step all over him. His father like I described before was drawn as big and grouchy. All of the women were drawn as innocent but distressed. 

The comic’s story flowed much like the actual story, there was nothing missing, and it managed to get everything through and stay true to the story. But then again this is a novella, so there isn’t really much to leave out anyway. It is what it is. A beautifully done comic of a bleak story about your own family getting rid of you as you change into something they don’t want. You becoming useless in your own loved one’s eyes and devalued as you become incapable of being a provider, a contributor to society. 

Rating: 4.5/5




A Good Marriage Directed by Peter Askin

Directed by Peter Askin
Released 2014
Country: United States
Language: English

Stephen King movies are a hit or miss for me. And this one missed me so far that it flew over my head and I ran back and picked it up and tried to gnaw it until it fell it apart. A breathing, yelping fest. A slow cliche dying to be heard in its deep depths of I’ve seen it all before. I know this makes no sense. And I think it makes better sense for me to just read the short story collection it was included in.

The &NOW AWARDS 3: The Best Innovative Writing: Edited by Megan Milks (ADVANCED READERS COPY)

Pages: 331
Genre: Experimental, Anthology 
Format: E-book (ADVANCED READERS COPY)
Published by Lake Forest College Press
This was received from the publisher for an honest review 

It took me a really long time to read this, because what is it? An anthology. Not a short story collection, but a collection of authors and their stories. When I received this for review, I was pretty thrilled because all of the familiar names, one I’ve been wanting to read. There were at least two I knew and read already. And the rest were familiar names with work I never got my hands on yet. 

This whole anthology is dedicated to innovative writing, the most experimental of experimental writing. Some of them are brilliant, sometimes using imagery, and some of them fried my brain with their oddity, almost unreadable, but that’s what this anthology is all about. It’s all about using writing in ways you would never think of, thought of but feared the audience, or to purposely throw off the readers. Keep the writing for yourself and your soul and give the readers a hard time to own it. 

I will admit that I loved the poetry more than the stories in here. There were a select few stories that I loved enough to persuade me to check out their other works. There were some that disappointed me, the Dennis Cooper one, but this anthology mostly consists of samples of these authors works.


What I really loved about this anthology is not only it’s a variety of experiments, but it’s diversity also. Writing from all backgrounds and walks of life. Words in different languages and formulas. Different genres ranging from non-fiction, various poetry forms, and hybrid stories that blur between non-fiction, fiction, and poetry. Writing morphed by technology and coding to form more literary art. What’s not to love in this anthology? I will admit that it was a bit tiring to read because of so much switching and non-linearity, because you know, it is an anthology, but it will definitely make you add new books to your Birthday/Christmas/Three Kings Day/Lunar Year wishlists. 

Authors I liked with works I want to buy/read:

Lucas de Lima

Ji Yoon Lee

LaTasha N. Nevada Diggs

Kate Zambreno 

Carmen Giménez Smith

Brian Oliu

Amber Sparks & Robert Kloss

Tytti Heikkinen, translated by Niina Pollaari

Jeff VanderMeer

Christopher Grimes

Matt Bell

Gina Abelkop

Daniela Olszewska

Kim Gek Lin Short

Carina Finn & Stephanie Berger

Rating: 3.5/5

King Shit by Brian Alan Ellis

22088049

Pages: 60
Genre: Bizarro, Comedy
Format: E-book
Published by House of Vlad Productions
(I had to censor the SH word so I can post this on Amazon. Unless they changed their rules. Because I couldn’t  post C.V. Hunt’s Hell’s Waiting Room)

EDIT: Just realized I confused Brian Alan Ellis with Brian Allen Carr, the short story collection I’m referring to was Vampire Conditions. Sorry. 

Well this was free and it’s short. It’s is very true for most people that when you download a book for free off Amazon, you’re not always going to read it anytime soon. Sometimes never. But this was short once again and the artwork seemed quite amusing.  I saw in the description that said something along the lines that it was illustrated, I actually thought this was a short comic. But it wasn’t, it was a novelette or a novella. Which is fine, I’m just saying that this isn’t a graphic novel, if you’re a doofus like me you would interpret that wrong. This is also my first reading of Ellis and I have his short story collection sitting in my Kindle, waiting to be read. Soon.

So basically, the story is about a drunkard whose first name is Elvis. It’s called “King S***,” because Elvis was considered the king of music and the guy named Elvis is a piece of s***. He’s always drunk and basically a nasty person. He spends his time doing nothing and just screwing around. This is pretty much the plot of the story. Some banter here and there, some nasty remarks about others, wandering around drunk, and causing chaos here and there, and getting a well deserved black eye. Some of the stuff in here was surreal and illogical and it all felt like some old cartoon my parents probably grew up watching, an uncensored one. 

The drawings are lovable, there is a little drawing that sort of indicates what would happen in the next chapter or illustrates a summary of what happened in the chapter. A small little face or object usually with some ugly gross stuff. King Sh** is a short comedic piece that you can read in one sitting.  It’s the tale of some of the world’s biggest losers. No hero, no anti-hero, just a general failure maybe. 

Rating: 3/5



Matt Meets Vik by Timothy Willis Sanders (ADVANCED READERS COPY)

22677100

Pages: 162
Genre: Contemporary, Romance, Alt. Lit
Format: E-book
Published by  Civil Coping Mechanisms 

This was received from Heavy Feather Review to review and this review  was originally published on Heavy Feather Review! My second published review that isn’t on this blog!