Belenen (belenen) wrote,

self-educating 2009: 2-6

How I star them:
1 star -- DREADFUL. Don't read even if your only other option is is staring at the wall.
2 stars -- not really worth the time it takes to read it, but if you're superbored...
3 stars -- pretty good, nothing outstanding, but decent entertainment. Worth 1 read.
4 stars -- very good, has some outstanding features. If it has flaws, the benefits overwhelm them. Worth reading twice or maybe once every few years.
5 stars -- AMAZING!!! memorable, captivating, with no glaring flaws. Worth reading over and over (maybe once a year), because you'll get more from each reading.
(** means it's a re-read)

02. Stranger at the Gate: To Be Gay and Christian in America by Mel White (autobiography) 3 stars
347 pages (total 594)
The story of a person who tried to please God and the people ze loved and admired by hiding part of zirself, until ze realized that not only did God love all of zir, but ze had a responsibility to speak out against the injustice done to LGBTQ people. In places it was quite gripping, but overall, too repetitive and disorganized. I think it suffered from trying to be two things at once -- an honest, in-depth autobiography, and an explanation of how fundamentalists have irresponsibly and often selfishly caused so much harm. (ze has since written a book focused on the latter) I wanted to know more about the people in Mel's life. And I found the repeated assertions that "sexual orientation is not a choice" to be quite annoying and besides the point. I've read Mel's very succinct strip-down of the 6-7 verses used to condemn homosexuality, and it's quite plain that God doesn't have a problem with it -- so what does it matter if it is inborn or not? I suppose after 30 years of trying to change, undergoing the most inhumane 'treatments', that phrase has a lot more meaning to Mel, though.
Overall, if you are curious about Mel zirself it's a good read, but if you want to learn more about how the Bible has been misinterpreted or how fundamentalists have hijacked the faith, I'd recommend checking out the site of the organization ze founded instead: From another part of the site, the 4 Step Journey: "Our adversaries are not evil or hateful or insane. They are "Victims of Untruth" as we have been."

03. The Tar-Aiym Krang** by Alan Dean Foster (science fiction) 3 stars
251 pages (total 845)
This one's okay but once you've read it there isn't much more to glean.

04. Orphan Star** by Alan Dean Foster (science fiction) 4 stars
234 pages (total 1079)
More thrilling the first time, but thanks to several plot twists and a very interesting race of sentient beings, still quite interesting on a re-read.

05. Angel Cats by Linda & Allen Anderson (non-fiction) 4 stars
172 pages (total 1251)
This one made me cry so many times! Heartwarming, inspiring, lovely, amazing stories about the connection between cats and their human caretakers.

06. End of the Matter** by Alan Dean Foster (science fiction) 3 stars
246 pages (total 1497)
Like The Tar-Aiym Krang, not really worth a second read.

I'm also:
still 68 pages into Journey into Oneness
still 78 pages into When Elephants Weep
146 pages into Flinx in Flux
230 pages into The Mismeasure of Woman (I've been spending a LOT of time reading this but it's slow going because it's so research-intensive and profound (every now and then I have to stop to absorb what I've read). It ranks right up there with The Secret Life of Plants on life-changing-ness)
Tags: books, queerness, self-educating

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