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Joined 2 years, 1 month ago

Eclectic reader, classical musician, unschooling parent, anarchist. 🖤🤍💚 They/she.

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Monika's books

Currently Reading

Life Ceremony (2022, Granta Books) 4 stars

Don't read this while eating!

3 stars

I enjoyed Sayaka Murata's previous two books, so I was excited about this short story collection. I love short stories! But LIFE CEREMONY was hit or miss for me. Mostly miss.

The only story I enjoyed from start to finish was "Eating the City," on finding nature (in this case, edible nature) between the gaps of concrete of a large city—but with a twist of horror. And as horrifying as it was, the title story, "Life Ceremony," stayed in my mind long after I finished it, as I mulled over how customs can change so drastically from generation to generation, and where we draw lines between right and wrong.

Overall, though, I'm disappointed. I'm not all that squeamish, but large portions of this book were so gross that I ended up skimming or even skipping pages. (Think bodily fluids and human flesh-type gross.) All of the stories are super weird—which …

Beyond a Binary God (Paperback, 2018, Church Publishing) 3 stars

Solid, well-cited, full of love.

4 stars

Author is cisgender, an Episcopal priest, and the parent of a trans adult. This is very, very 101-level information. But it's solid, well-cited, and full of love.

Put this book in the hands of cis Christians who are just starting to take trans people into consideration and want to be better allies.

Recommend this to Christian parents whose child just came out as trans, and they've never thought about how their faith can fully include their child.

And if you're a Christian who is grappling with your own gender identity, but aren't sure how you can reconcile that with your faith, this would be a good read for you, too.

(I know the asterisk after "trans" is cringe, but this is a slightly older book, and it's used appropriately.)

Trust Kids! (2022, AK Press Distribution) 5 stars

Trust Kids! weaves together essays, interviews, poems, and artwork from scholars, activists, and artists about …

"Solidarity begins at home."

5 stars

I started noticing parallels between unschooling/self-directed education and my values as an anarchist around the same time, when my now-teenager was "preschool" age. These ideas are so intertwined, each informing the other, always reminding me there are other ways of living in this world and interacting with people of all ages...especially children. There are few people I trust as much as carla joy bergman to put together a book like TRUST KIDS!, which explores how we can break down the hierarchies that keep children from experiencing autonomy and consent in all areas of their lives (not just in their education).

I wanted to race through this book—it's so down-to-earth and a joy to read! But each piece had so much to say—important points I wanted to make sure I took in fully. TRUST KIDS! features essays, interviews, poems, and artwork from scholars, activists, and artists of all kinds of backgrounds …

The Ministry for the Future (Paperback, 2021, Orbit) 4 stars

Established in 2025, the purpose of the new organization was simple: To advocate for the …

Repackaged state power as a solution to the climate crisis.

4 stars

What would a worldwide, lasting revolution look like? What would be the obstacles and what tactics would be needed to overcome them? How are we going to survive climate change? These are the themes Kim Stanley Robinson tackles in his 570-page cli-fi novel THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE.

The narrative is disjointed, with epistolary chapters placed throughout. If you roll with it, it works well. You get a well-researched, fairly well-rounded picture across class, power, and geography. The format makes for a clever way to introduce details that otherwise might not fit into a traditional narrative. I also appreciate the global perspective of this book. The U.S. is not at the center at all, and is critiqued heavily and fairly.

THE MINISTRY FOR THE FUTURE envisions a world that includes the Half-Earth concept as one of its solutions to combat climate change. Half of the planet would be reserved exclusively …