Jan 2021, fave media


Inferno by Catherine Cho

A memoir about the author’s postpartum psychosis. It’s billed as a memoir of motherhood and madness, but what hooked me was the way she discusses myth, family legacy/trauma, and the cycles we repeat. Her writing is excellent, and by the time she goes mad, it’s inevitable and even expected.

Blood Heir by Ilona Andrews (Aurelia Ryder #1)

Julie from the Kate Daniels series returns to Atlanta with a new name and face to save her mom.

Y’all know Andrews is an insta-read author for me. They started posting snippets of this on their blog in 2020 and the finished version did not disappoint. I need the sequels ASAP!

The Midnight Bargain by C.L. Polk

A historical fantasy romance with a classic set-up: does our heroine choose love and duty, or freedom and magic?

I know everyone loves Polk’s Kingston Cycle, but it left me cold. I did, however, love The Midnight Bargain, Nadi in particular, and the love interest’s grovel. Nadi’s line at the end about winning made me tear up too. (I do echo sixthlight’s review that the book is weirdly heteronormative, with the exception of an aromantic/asexual character)


Aliah Sheffield’s Earth is Ghetto

this version specifically, with the brass.

Jazmine Sullivan’s Pick Up Your Feelings (live)

Jazmine Sullivan’s set on NPR’s Tiny (Home) Desk Concert

Did I like the tracks on the official Heaux Tales EP? No. But I love these live versions.

Tank and the Bangas with the Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

Tickets still available here. Dope Girl Magic, Happy Town, and Colors Change were my faves from this set. I need a live album now!

TSR’s I’m a New Me

Short Stories

Samira Ahmed’s “A Guidebook for the Newly Sired Desi Vampire”

in Vampires Never Get Old. “Eat your colonizer” is iconic, legendary. Get the anthology if only for this short story. Hilarious and a searing indictment of British colonialism in India.


Netflix’s ‘Bling Empire’ Is a Celebration of Culture — Clad in Couture by Tim Chan

I haven’t seen this show and don’t plan to, but I found this a really interesting look at the behind the scenes of reality TV. The stars here are very aware of controlling images of East Asian folks and want to expand the images we see of them.

The Unfinished Business of Flint’s Water Crisis by Anna Clark

It’s 2020 and the water crisis continues.

“To address the heart of the crisis, though, you have to look beyond a courtroom. Nearly five years after Snyder’s own investigative commissioncited Michigan’s emergency manager law — which hands total political authority over a city or school district to state-appointed officials — as a contributing factor in the water crisis, the law remains on the books, unchanged.”

“Many residents have drawn on lessons from the water crisis to build new models for democracy and public health. Their work includes an innovative program where community members help develop, vet and carry out research proposals from academics, bringing transparency along the way; a water lab in a refurbished school where residents, including young people, work with scientists to test their own drinking water; and an environmental justice movement, with teachings on using data and community organizing to rebuild crumbling infrastructure.”

It’s Not Your Fault That Restaurants Are Going Out of Business During the Pandemic by John DeBary

“We could have given restaurants tax breaks or rent relief. We could have paid restaurants to pay their workers to stay home. We could have socialized healthcare. There are so many things we, as the richest nation on earth, could have done besides telling people it’s their fault if their favorite taco shop goes under.

I’m not saying we shouldn’t go out and spend money at restaurants right now. I actually encourage you to. But we can’t act like it’s the path towards industry recovery. The way we’re treating restaurants right now is yet another example of how our country works the best for those who need the least amount of help and leaves everyone else to fend for themselves, and it has to change.”

Hawai’i’s Beaches are Disappearing by Ash Ngu, ProPublica, Sophie Cocke, Honolulu Star-Advertiser

“Over time though, waves hitting the barriers pull the sand away from the shore and carry it out to sea. As a result, the government approvals have fueled beach loss and perpetuated the redevelopment of private properties along treasured and environmentally sensitive coastlines — all at a time when scientists have been warning of the dire need to push development inland.”

The Ohlone are building a new homeland in the East Bay, 1half-acre at a time by Ryan Kost

To end white supremacy, attack racist policy, not people, interview with john a. powell by Ivan Natividad

I’m chewing on this one. I’m grappling with the reality we have to use curiosity to reach people, and the need for us to provide answers to these vulnerable white populations lest they be seized by more malevolent white supremacist powers.

Nadiya Hussain: ‘I want to blend in. But the truth is, I’m never going to blend in’, interview by Rebecca Nicholson

I saw Nadiya’s Time to Eat last year. It was my introduction to her, and I fell in love. I love this article because you can really sense her stepping into her power. Also love the way she’s focused on how we treat service workers like her mom.

Once you and your friends are vaccinated, can you quit social distancing? by Sigal Samuel

“In the meantime, even vaccinated people have to assume they can still become infected and pass along the virus. That means they need to keep wearing masks and social distancing whenever they’re around unvaccinated people.”

The Customer Is Not Always Right by Kushbu Shah

“Hospitality workers have been forced to become essential workers during this pandemic, not because they actually are, but because customers want to dine out. It is a luxury, not a necessity, to be served and waited on. Hospitality workers, on the other hand, need to come in. This is the only way they can pay their bills and keep food on the table, which many are barely able to do.”

“It’s become abundantly clear that the industry needs to stop prioritizing the wants of customers over the wellbeing of its staff. “Owners really need to rethink the idea of what hospitality is, starting with their staff,” says Friel. “[A]ll of this preaching about hospitality for others doesn’t work if your staff is miserable and being abused all the time.””

“Most of the people interviewed for this story believe that tipping should be eliminated, if restaurants want to center the wellbeing of their staff. 

“Tipping is unfair,” says Liz. “It perpetuates racism, it perpetuates sexual harassment, and it allows guests and owners to weaponize your wage.” Friel believes that eliminating tipping would also go a long way in getting customers to understand what dining actually costs, and what labor is actually worth, perhaps curbing customer entitlement in the process.”

Black, Deaf, and Extremely Online by Allyson Waller


Hear to Slay

This is Roxane Gay and Tressie McMillan Cottom’s podcast on Luminary. It’s behind a paywall, and is the sole reason I keep up my Luminary subscription. I was really behind on this, and I binge-listened to catch up.

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