The Dakota Pipeline and the Standing Rock Sioux

In 2016, protests against the Dakota Access Pipeline attracted worldwide attention. The oil pipeline was designed to run from North to South Dakota, across Iowa, and into Illinois. The Standing Rock Sioux objected to the pipeline’s path on the grounds that it violated treaty rights and threatened the tribe’s water supply, grave sites and sacred land. Thousands camped out at Standing Rock to try and stop the project . . . In December 2016, the Obama administration blocked construction of the pipeline’s most contested section.

A month later, newly inaugurated president Donald Trump reversed the decision. By June 2017, oil was flowing. In the tumultuous first year of the Trump administration, the media moved on. In September 2017, Standing Rock Sioux tribal chairman David Archambault II, a hero while the spotlight was trained on the controversy, was voted out of office.

— Chapter 10, Oak Flat: the Fight for Sacred Land in the American West

This is a fascinating book, as self keeps saying. She hopes she can finish it tonight and return it to the library tomorrow, because it’s way overdue and someone’s put a hold on it.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Reading Year (So Far, 2021)

From wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Science Fiction:

  • The Relentless Moon, by Mary Robinette Kowal – So far, one of the best novels she’s read in 2021
  • Ballistic Kiss, by Richard Kadrey – wildly inventive, self wasn’t so taken with the he/she/they gender politics of a major character

In a category by itself:

  • Dark, Salt, Clear, by Lamorna Ash — A first book by a 22-year-old, E.S.A.D.

Kick-Ass Discovery of the Year:

  • Eddie’s Boy, by Thomas Perry, the sequel to a 1982 novel, The Butcher’s Boy – That’s chutzpah, coming up with a sequel 40 years later. Kudos! Self added The Butcher’s Boy to her reading list.

from wsj’s Best Books of 2020/Mysteries:

  • All the Devils Are Here, by Louise Penny — Self adored Jean-Guy Beauvoir and of course Paris.
  • One Fatal Flaw, by Anne Perry — All hail the May-December almost-romance between 25-year-old Daniel Pitt and 40-year-old Miriam Crofft, daughter of his employer.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Memoir

  • A Promised Land, by Barack Obama — Beautifully written, can’t believe 45 was succeeded by Drumpf.

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Fiction

  • SHUGGIE BAIN, by Douglas Stuart — an absolutely immersive experience, though her favorite character was not the title character but his unheralded older brother, Leek

from The Economist’s Books of the Year 2020/Business and Economics

  • No Rules Rules — This one was a disappointment.

from wsj’s Books of the Year 2020/Travels in the New North

  • Ice Walker, by James Raffan — another absolutely immersive experience, the ending almost broke self.

from Jonathan Strahan’s Notes from a Year Spent Indoors (Locus Magazine)

  • the first two books in Joe Abercrombie’s (smashing) Age of Madness trilogy and her first Grimdark: A Little Hatred and The Trouble with Peace

New Book: DARK, SALT, CLEAR

Finished A Promised Land. Self never thought she would say this about a Presidential memoir, but it was a lot of fun to read. For example, Sarah Palin’s energy policy summarized in one quote: “Drill, baby, drill!”

44 displays some mighty clear-eyed thinking about bin Laden and the decision he made to authorize the Navy Seal mission. He had choices: he could have ordered a drone strike. But with a drone strike, they could never be absolutely sure they had gotten their man. The identification of bin Laden, to 44’s thinking, was paramount. And he was right.

Yesterday, self began reading Dark, Salt, Clear, Lamorna Ash’s memoir of her year spent living in a small fishing village in Cornwall. Self has been itching to read this book since forever. She, too, has taken that same rail journey from Paddington. Unlike Ms. Ash, she did not continue all the way to Penzance, she got off at Par. The not-quite-a-week self spent in Cornwall, in May 2019, was her homage to Daphne du Maurier after reading Tatiana de Rosnay’s marvelous Manderley Forever.

The prologue to Dark, Salt, Clear describes a life drawing class in which the male model “did not curve his body self-consciously across some chaise lounge but looked at us head on, legs apart, arms outstretched as if to say: Here I Am!

  • His body bore the marks of a life lived hard — his arms strong and sinewy, his face cross-hatched by wrinkles, his back and biceps scribbled all over with dark blue tattoos.

He was a Cornish fisherman.

Below, the harbor at Fowey, Cornwall, May 2019.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

The Birth of the Birther Conspiracy

44 remembers the exact date.

It was Feb. 10, 2011, during Trump’s speech at the CPAC convention that year.

p. 675, Trump at CPAC:

  • “our current President came out of nowhere . . . The people that went to school with him, they never saw him, they don’t know who it is. It’s crazy.”

It’s not like 44 goes around dropping exact dates of when this or that person said something negative about him. And the book ends at 705 pages. Yes, Obama did indeed serve up this nugget, a mere 30 pages from the end.

You don’t think 44 has a score to settle? Self thinks he has a score to settle.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

In the Closing Pages, MORE SHADE!

Back in 2007, the maverick version of John McCain, along with his sidekick Lindsey Graham . . .

A Promised Land, p. 615

Memories of Christmases Past

Self will surely finish A Promised Land today. She’s on p. 609 (only 100 more pages to go). It’s been by far the longest book she’s read this year:

The holiday season also meant we hosted parties practically every afternoon and evening for three and a half weeks straight. These were big, festive affairs, with three to four hundred guests at a time, laughing and chomping on lamb chops and crab cakes and drinking eggnog and wine while members of the United States Marine band, spiffy in their red coats, played all the holiday standards. For me and Michelle, the holiday parties were easy — we just dropped by for a few minutes to wish everyone well from behind a rope line.

A Promised Land, p. 609

Self Wishing She Could

frame p. 505 of A Promised Land because everything you need to know about Lindsey Graham is there in two paragraphs.

Stay safe, dear blog readers. Stay safe.

Next book: a young woman decides to spend a year in Cornwall after a life drawing class in which the model is a fifty-something fisherman. Self heard the woman writes pretty well, too: Dark, Salt, Clear: Life in a Cornish Fishing Town, by Lamorna Ash.

How to Throw Shade

  • “In front of me, at least, McChrystal and the other generals dutifully . . . “A Promised Land, p. 438

Only 260 pages more, dear blog readers!

Sentence of the Day, p. 406

Self only has 300 pages to go!

Sentence of the Day shows 44 at his most charming and self-deprecating:

One thing felt certain: A pretty big chunk of the American people, including some of the very folks I was trying to help, didn’t trust a word I said.

A Promised Land, p. 406

On p. 274, 44 Explains It All for You

Such arguments had nothing to do with facts. They were impervious to analysis. They went deeper, into the realm of myth, redefining what was fair, reassigning victimhood . . .

A Promised Land, p. 274

Keep reading: p. 276 says this became the “template for Fox News and conservative radio . . . “

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