Hi there! Welcome one and all to the Cephalopod Coffeehouse, a cozy gathering of book lovers, meeting to discuss their thoughts regarding the tomes they enjoyed most over the previous month. Pull up a chair, order your cappuccino and join in the fun.
This month I’ve read a wide variety of books, from paranormal, to YA to erotic to gay, and mostly those were all romance. It’s my comfort zone, and I like to be comfortable. Who doesn’t, right? Well, I’ll be honest, I’ve been pretty uncomfortable about the elections coming up. If you haven’t guessed, I’m a liberal. That’s my prerogative. I’m a college educated woman with two degrees in science. My family wasn’t wealthy; neither of my parents completed college, and really only had a handful of courses between them–all taken later in life. Despite having seriously awesome need-based financial aid, I just had my twenty year reunion, and I’m still paying back student loans.
As a woman in science, I’ve seen some great and not-so-great things, but I’ve been in a professional role that is generally more egalitarian and merit-based than most other professions. I’m also trained to gather evidence and make measured judgments. When all the “revelations” regarding Donald Trump began coming to light–that he’s essentially lecherous and likely a sexual predator–I was drawn back to the writings of Chris Kluwe. You may remember his impassioned essays in the days before marriage equality, invoking a juggernaut of rational, honest and logical arguments in favor. His piece on Locker room talk reminded me how much I enjoyed his straight-talking sense-making pieces, and so I picked up his BEAUTIFULLY UNIQUE SPARKLEPONIES. It’s not necessarily a political book, but it certainly has a lot to say regarding…well, everything.
I hardly review non-fiction. It’s not my thing. But I do love thoughtful, insightful essays which I tend to pick up in my daily quest for “What’s happening outside of my house?” information. BUS is a large collection of essays ‘on myths, morons, free speech, football and assorted absurdities.’ In short it’s a hodgepodge of really fascinating topics that were immediately relevant a few years ago, yet still provoke thought today–mostly because they are still part of the big mix of ideas and activities we know exist, but don’t focus on day-to-day.
There are a number of essays about the need for marriage equality. Court victories have brought this to pass, but with the rumblings of Republican candidates talking about instituting new bans, and overturning recent court decisions, it’s still important to focus on the underpinnings and moral conflicts inherent in disenfranchising a significant portion of our population based on their sexuality. I echo his sentiments here, and hope that we can work toward gender/sex equality forthwith. No reason men should get paid more than me for doing the same work after all. I have a family to support, too, folks.
Further, there’s lots of discourse on privacy, chiefly the illusion of it, our collective laziness as a society, and building ourselves echo chambers that amplify and reinforce our beliefs. I’ve certainly seen this in several venues this election cycle, with people clamoring over (non-existent) election fraud–evidenced because everyone they know and speak with is voting for a particular candidate, ergo that person must win. If not, it’s rigged I tellz ya!! Being a scientist, and having friends and family in both camps, I see more than one side, even if I don’t agree with both sides equally. And, I think that’s a big part of Kluwe’s book: being open to many facets of experience in life. Being empathetic, and just. Making learned, informed decisions. Being active in life, not simply reactive.
There’s also some ‘assorted absurdities’ which are entertaining and fun. He’s a quick wit, and doesn’t hesitate to self-deprecate. Kluwe’s candid about his nerd life, his obsessive reading, and his cluelessness regarding girls as a younger man. He also readily questions his role in society, how he–as a pro football player–lived in a rarefied space, and why? There’s a lot about religion, and the guiding principles that don’t apply to people who do not ascribe. I felt a lot of resonance there.
While non-fiction isn’t my bag, per se, I’m super glad I finally picked this one up. It gave my brain some excellent gymnastics, and ironic ‘entertainment’ to ponder. Kluwe’s brand of creative swearing is a hoot, but even when he’s not profane he makes a shit-ton of sense. Fans of George Carlin, Louis Black, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert, and Samantha Bee will certainly find this book to be worth their time. If nothing else, I’ll always remember Kluwe when I consider reclining my airplane seat.
Thanks for popping in, and be sure to check out my fellow Coffeehouse reviewers as they share thoughts regarding their fave book for October.