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Interviews | September 2, 2014

Jill Owens: IMG David Mitchell: The Powells.com Interview



David MitchellDavid Mitchell's newest mind-bending, time-skipping novel may be his most accomplished work yet. Written in six sections, one per decade, The Bone... Continue »
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    The Bone Clocks

    David Mitchell 9781400065677

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Susan Wiget has commented on (30) products.

Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel by Jean Kilbourne
Can't Buy My Love: How Advertising Changes the Way We Think and Feel

Susan Wiget, July 22, 2010

We can’t set foot out of the house without exposure to advertising, even if we don’t watch TV, use the Internet, or read fashion magazines. Advertising is everywhere, from billboards and posters to clothing to shop windows. It is an inconvenient truth that we are indeed affected by advertising and commercialism, even if we don’t believe it.

This book is as much a psychology book as a sociology book. Using examples, statistics, interviews, and her own life experience, Kilbourne covers the connections between advertising and addiction. Ads talk directly to addicts in an attempt to make the addiction look like normal and accepted behavior. She addresses how we reach for material things in a futile attempt to find comfort. In an over-consumerist society that is destroying the planet, advertising encourages us to consume more and more and to replace interconnectedness, relations, and communication with material things. A car doesn’t argue with you, so it’s easier to buy a car than to communicate with people.

Can’t Buy My Love is a very important book for all Americans to read, so that they will be able to see advertising with a critical and conscious eye and not be fooled. It will also enable Americans to protect their children from the conditioning that advertisers, including those of the tobacco and alcohol industries, consciously attempt.
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Fat! So?: Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size by Marilyn Wann
Fat! So?: Because You Don't Have to Apologize for Your Size

Susan Wiget, July 22, 2010

Are you tired of fatphobic misogynists harassing you? Tired of being told to go on a diet? Were you continually bullied and socially ostracized throughout your childhood because of your appearance? Still traumatized by this childhood bullying?

The eye-opening book Fat! So? will empower you to feel better about your size and shape and help you realize that fatphobia is a form of bigotry, like homophobia, misogyny, and racism. In this toxic society, we are constantly barraged with the message that being fat is bad and shameful, and that we should strive to be as thin as possible. The media and the people we see each day firmly believe this and constantly remind us. We are barraged with an assumption that fat is unhealthy, yet we have no evidence supporting this assumption. Most people foolishly refuse to accept the fact that we come in different sizes and shapes. It’s like refusing to accept that some of us are left-handed and that we have different skin colors.

Fat! So?, compiled from the zine of the same title, is an amusing, entertaining, irreverent, and educational look at bigotry toward fat people and how we can transcend it. It includes illustrations and projects such as a Goddess of Willendorf paper doll. Fat prejudice and ridicule is directed more at women than men, but the book is also relevant to men. In fact, everyone in America should read it, not just fat people. It will change the way we all see size and shape.
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(5 of 8 readers found this comment helpful)



Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House wit (Magic Carpet Books) by Greg Couch
Flora Segunda: Being the Magickal Mishaps of a Girl of Spirit, Her Glass-Gazing Sidekick, Two Ominous Butlers (One Blue), a House wit (Magic Carpet Books)

Susan Wiget, July 22, 2010

Flora Segunda is a hilarious, moving, whimsical, refreshing, and original young adult fantasy novel set in an alternate reality version of California, a country called Califa. Flora is so-named because the first Flora, her oldest sister, died well before she was born. Flora Segunda grows up with a sense of inferiority toward the original, golden-haired Flora. At the age of fourteen, Flora does all the domestic chores in her dysfunctional family because her father is a reclusive alcoholic and her mother is a workaholic who rarely comes home and who has banished the butler, a supernatural being meant to keep the huge mansion, Crackpot Hall, in order. Flora accidently ends up in a strange part of the house… and finally meets the butler, whom she tries to save so she doesn’t have to keep doing all the housework.

Can Flora find courage and be herself at last, or will her practice of self-negation literally lead to her end?

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The Portland Red Guide: Sites and Stories From Our Radical Past by Michael Munk
The Portland Red Guide: Sites and Stories From Our Radical Past

Susan Wiget, July 22, 2010

The Portland Red Guide covers much of Portland’s radical past, particularly that of Socialists, Communists, and working class people who spoke truth to power. It also describes situations in which those in power, whether politicians or police, oppressed people they find threatening. The book is divided into different time periods, from the nineteenth century to the present. It includes Wobblies, doctors who performed abortions, black people harassed by racist cops, Communists and sympathizers attacked by McCarthyism, and so much more.

I would have liked to have seen more on the women’s movement, and neither the Freedom Socialist Party nor its feminist branch Radical Women is ever mentioned. For that matter, Radical Women’s headquarters, The Bread and Roses Center on Killingsworth Street, isn’t included, nor is In Other Words: Women's Books and Resources. The Latin root for radical is "going to the root," not "extreme." Yet overall, this is a fascinating and informative book about a side of Portland often overlooked in mainstream history books.

The book includes not only historical and biographical information, but also site listings with exact street addresses and maps, so the reader can take walks around Portland and see locations mentioned in the book. As a Portlander, I found it exciting to read about places I’ve seen or visited numerous times, and to anticipate looking for significant places mentioned in the Red Guide. Both history book and guide book, the Portland Red Guide will have a second, updated edition soon from Ooligan Press.
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(5 of 9 readers found this comment helpful)



Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl
Beautiful Creatures

Susan Wiget, March 24, 2010

This is a young adult supernatural romance, the same subgenre as Twilight, but it is infinitely better than Twilight. The writing is lively, the characters are sparkling with life, the love interest Lena is a strong female character who, unlike Bella, is a strong individual and doesn’t fit in with creepy patriarchal values. The book is from the first person perspective of Ethan, a high school boy who is anxious to escape his boring, small-minded small town in the Deep South. The town becomes much more interesting when Lena, a teen with magic powers, moves in with her uncle the town recluse and shows up for class. She quickly stirs things up in the closed-minded community.

My only complaint, besides a couple of dangling modifiers, is that the book includes a few fat phobic comments directed at one female student, something teens most emphatically do not need to read and that furthermore indicates that the authors should read Fat is a Feminist Issue.

Overall, the book is full of rich detail, magic, and suspense. The characters are complex and sympathetic and come vividly to life. Since the book has two authors, no doubt they gave each other feedback. This is for anyone who enjoys dark fantasy.
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