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A #Hamilton Reading List

I majored in history. At my university, all history majors were required to take a class in historiography, and the sources you studied were based on the professor assigned to teach. Whatever he specialized in was what you were going to be neck-deep in for a semester. I got a professor who specialized in early American history which, at the time, I absolutely despised. I spent the entire semester stubbornly refusing to retain any information about anything at all, convinced that this was one of the most dull historical settings in the history of the world.

Enter Hamilton the Musical. Like many, many people, the musical ignited for me an interest in the Founding Fathers and the American Revolution, topics of which I previously knew little, and cared to know even less. But with the beloved musical in mind, these events took on a new sheen. Suddenly I was absolutely fascinated with the American Revolution! With the Founding Fathers, especially Hamilton and Burr! It was an exciting time! A revolutionary time!

And so here I am, a nerd with a list of books and articles to read about Alexander Hamilton. Though I am unlikely to get to these this November, I still wanted to share them out for Nonfiction November in honor of Hamilton being released for streaming (may all musicals follow suit!).

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TV Corner: Monsterland

Monsterland is kind of like Black Mirror, only with supernatural creatures instead of technology. Based on the short story collection North American Lake Monsters by Nathan Ballingrud, it is indeed very American in its horrors; I might even call it a modern iteration of American Gothic. It’s not a Creature Feature; though the monsters are very, very present, they are not the focus of the horror. They are only peripheral to the very human characters’ trauma and the hard and sometimes despicable choices they find themselves forced to make when put between a rock and a hard place.

Monsterland is an indictment of the failures of the so-called American Dream. Its characters struggle with poverty, sub-par healthcare, sexual assault, lack of abortion access, racism, abusive parents, corporate greed, mental health, and more. The realism inherent in their struggles elicits an existential dread that easily eclipses any fear of monsters. And no, it’s not particularly subtle in its messaging, but it doesn’t need to be. It’s a show very suitable for 2020, and I absolutely loved it.

I want to talk about the individual episodes, but it’s very difficult to do so without spoiling some plot elements, so be aware of that if you continue to read, if you want to remain totally unspoiled. However, while I’ll be revealing significant plot details, I’ll avoid revealing any major twists or reveals.

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Book Review: Harrow the Ninth by Tamsyn Muir

Harrow the Ninth
Tamsyn Muir

Tor.com, 2020
★★★★☆

So, the thing about Harrow the Ninth is that it is completely fucking incomprehensible. On purpose. It’s also kind of brilliant.

But like, here’s the thing. You don’t realize that it’s brilliant until after the fact, and the only reason I made it through the whole book for there to be an after the fact, is because I looked up spoilery articles and trawled reddit subforums for – I kid you not – hours. I read detailed summaries. I read discussion threads. I read theories. See, I’m the kind of reader who loathes being confused. Seriously, nothing will get me to DNF a book faster; it’s the main reason I was so frustrated with Gideon the Ninth. So, when I started this book and immediately felt myself sink into total confusion, I was like, fuck it, we’re going to Spoiler City.

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Wrap Up: September 2020

  • This Is Shakespeare by Emma Smith (★★☆☆☆)
  • Luster by Raven Leilani (★★★☆☆)
  • A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (★★★★☆)
  • I’m Thinking of Ending Things by Iain Reid (★★☆☆☆)
  • Blood+ Volume 1 by Asuka Katsura (★★★★☆)
  • Blood+ Volume 2 by Asuka Katsura (★★★★☆)
  • Blood+ Volume 3 by Asuka Katsura (★★★★☆)
  • Blood+ Volume 4 by Asuka Katsura (★★★☆☆)
  • Blood+ Volume 5 by Asuka Katsura (★★★★☆)
  • Before and After the Book Deal by Courtney Maum (★★★★☆)
  • The Lost Village by Camilla Sten (★★★☆☆)
  • The Impossible Girl by Lydia Kang (★★☆☆☆)
  • The Remaking by Clay McLeod Chapman (★★★☆☆)
  • A Concise Guide to the Quran by Ayman S. Ibrahim (★★★★☆)

MONTHLY TOTAL: 14
YEARLY SO FAR: 94

September was a very uneven reading month. I didn’t read as much as I expected to, and nothing that I read particularly wowed me. Even the books I enjoyed I didn’t grow particularly attached to in any way, so I felt kind of apathetic, and that led to me being kind of apathetic about reading in general. Alas.

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