2019

 
 
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Circe - Madeline Miller

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They do not care if you are good. They barely care if you are wicked. The only thing that makes them listen is power. It is not enough to be an uncle’s favorite, to please some god in his bed. It is not enough even to be beautiful, for when you go to them, and kneel and say, ‘I have been good, will you help me?’ they wrinkle their brows. Oh, sweetheart, it cannot be undone. Oh darling, you must learn to live with it. And have you asked Helios? You know I do nothing without his word…

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Of all the mortals on earth, there are only a few the gods will ever hear of. Consider the practicalities. By the time we learn their names, they are dead. They must be meteors indeed to catch our attention. The merely good: you are dust to us.

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A Little Life - Hanya Yanagihara

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You won’t understand what I mean now, but someday you will: the only trick of friendship, I think, is to find people who are better than you are - not smarter, not cooler, but kinder, and more generous, and more forgiving - and then to appreciate them for what they can teach you, and to try to listen to them when they tell you something about yourself, not matter how bad - or good - it might be, and to trust them, which is the hardest thing of all. But the best, as well.

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Hold Still - Sally Mann

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I tend to agree with the theory that if you want to keep a memory pristine, you must not call upon it too often, for each time it is revisited, you alter it irrevocably, remembering not the original impression left by experience but the last time you recalled it. With tiny differences creeping in at each cycle, the exercise of our memory does not bring us closer to the past but draws us further away…

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As for me, I see both beauty and the dark side of the things; the loveliness of cornfields and full sails, but the ruin as the well. And I see them at the same time, and chary of that ecstasy. The Japanese have a phrase for this dual perception: mono no aware. It means “beauty tinged with sadness,” for there cannot be any real beauty without the indolic whiff of decay. For me, living is the same thing as dying, and loving is the same thing as losing, and this does not make me a madwoman; I believe it can make me better at living, and better at loving, and, just possibly, better at seeing.

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Fates and Furies - Lauren Groff

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It occurred to her then that life was conical in shape, the past broadening beyond the sharp point of the lived moment. The more life you had, the more the base expanded, so that the wounds and treasons that were nearly imperceptible when they happened stretched like tiny dots on a balloon slowly blown up. A speck on the slender child grows into a gross deformity in the adult, inescapable, ragged at the edges…

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Somehow, despite her politics and smarts, she had become a wife, and wives, as we all know, are invisible. The midnight elves of marriage…

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“Oh. That’s because I’ve stopped smiling,” Mathilde said, “For so many years, I never let anyone see me without smiling. I don’t know why I didn’t stop earlier. It’s enormously relaxing.” …

Between the World and Me - Ta-Nehisi Coates

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But all our phrasing - race relations, racial chasm, racial justice, racial profiling, white privilege, even white supremacy - serves to obscure that racism is a visceral experience, that it dislodges brains, blocks airways, rips muscle, extracts organs, cracks bones, breaks teeth. You must never look away from this. You must always remember that the sociology, the history, the economics, the graphs, the charts, the regressions all land with great violence upon the body.

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The Edge of Morning - Native Voices Speak for the Bears Ears

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At the heart of this unified tribal effort is a call for Respect. Respect for a landscape that holds the spirit and essence of Indigenous history and culture. Imagine that it is one hundred years from the present day, at a canyon awaiting the break of day… - Lyle Balenquah

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When the Euro-American people came to the United States they didn’t have too much body memory of being on this continent… as the years go by, and as they bury more relatives on this Turtle Island [continent], their spirits are going to have a memory of this place, and they are going to become more and more what we call indigenous now… - Faith Spotted Eagle

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Down to Earth - Bruno Latour

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The new universality consists in feeling that the ground is in the process of giving way.

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There is no Earth corresponding to the infinite horizon of the Global, but at the same time the Local is much too narrow, too shrunken, to accommodate the multiplicity of beings belonging to the terrestrial world.

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To the migrants from outside who have to cross borders and leave their countries behind at the price of immense tragedies, we must from now on add the migrants from inside who, while remaining in place, are experiencing the drama of seeing themselves left behind by their own countries.

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Few people will campaign for an alternative vision of black holes or magnetic inversion, but we know from experience that about soils, vaccines, earthworms, bears, wolves, neurotransmitters, mushrooms, water circulation, or the composition of air, the smallest study will immediately be plunged into a full-scale battle of interpretations. The Critical Zone is not a classroom; the relationship between researchers and the public is anything but purely pedagogical.
If we still had any doubts on this point, the pseudocontroversy over the climate suffices to dispel them. There is no evidence that any major corporation has spent a penny to produce ignorance about the detection of the Higgs boson. But denying the climatic mutation is another matter entirely: financing floods in. Ignorance on the part of the public is such a precious commodity that it justifies immense investments.

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The United States was founded on the principle that all people are created equal. Yet the nation began with the attempted genocide of Indigenous people and the theft of their land. American wealth was built on the labor of kidnapped and enslaved Africans and their descendants. Women were denied the right to vote until 1920, and black women were denied access to that right until 1964…

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White supremacy is something much more pervasive and subtle than the actions of explicit white nationalists. White supremacy describes the culture we live in, a culture that positions white people and all that is associated with them (whiteness) as ideal. White supremacy is more than the idea that whites are superior to people of color; it is the deeper premise that supports this idea - the definition of whites as the norm or standard for human, and people of color as a deviation from that norm…

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Stopping our racist patterns must be more important than working to convince others that we don’t have them. We do have them, and people of color already know we have them; our efforts to prove otherwise are not convincing…

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I am often asked if I think the younger generation is less racist. No, I don’t. In some ways, racism’s adaptations over time are more sinister than concrete rules such as Jim Crow.