Thursday, December 15, 2016
The Pleasures of Reading, Viewing, and Listening in 2016, pt. 6: Nisi Shawl
by Nisi Shawl
Pleasures and 2016 go together like change and smugness. That is, they don’t. Certainly I can’t be the only one shocked and disappointed by the deaths and other losses this past year has entailed. And yet…
Shivering beneath the heavy blankets I crawled under the night of November 9, I retreated from the digital world that had busied me lately to shield myself from reality with the printed word. As I’ve noted in previous posts, reading is in part something I do for a living; listening is something I do while writing, in aid and support thereof. Nothing makes me less likely to do something than making it compulsory. So, of course, despite a girlhood of literally walking around with my nose literally in a book, I had recently fallen behind in my required reading.
That night and since, I’ve regained my ground. I’ve read the books I had to, those I was obligated to review. I won’t go into details about them all here, because mostly they’re covered elsewhere: Gloria Naylor’s Mama Day in my new column at Tor.com, Kiini Ibura Salaam’s collection When the World Wounds with Robert Charles Wilson’s Last Year and Alison Littlewood’s The Hidden Folk in the second installment of my new columnn at Seattle Review of Books.
And so on. My book discussion group will meet in January to talk about Pride of Chanur by C.J. Cherryh, a 1980s space opera that says interesting things concerning gender essentialism. I read it last week, and I just finished the third of its three sequels early this morning.
I’m on a roll.
Call my reading escapism if you want to. Go ahead. I won’t censor you.
Years ago I used to argue with a nihilistic white lover that if voting didn’t matter, the authorities wouldn’t have tried so hard to keep black people from doing it. Well, hey. Got my tenses wrong.
I think reading matters. And I think sharing our thoughts about what we read matters even more. Let’s see how much of that we can do before it’s somehow, for some weird reason, suppressed.