Clarity's Books

Currently Reading

Bookshelf

Cover art for 'Labyrinths'

Labyrinths

by Jorge Luis Borges

A collection of metafictional short stories and essays

My thoughts

So much of the online culture I spend time in is steeped in references to Borges, so it was interesting to finally go to the source. The Library of Babel more thoroughly explores the philosophical ramifications of the idea than most of the riffs on it I've seen.

Something that surprised me about it is how Borges was clearly an academic, and he put no effort into pretending otherwise in his fiction. There are a few non-fiction essays in the back that are nearly indistinguishable from some of the stories.

Ultimately the fact that Borges is a man and is not (afaik) queer really left me feeling discontent with his writing. There's this delightful kernel of surreal philosophical metafiction, but it regularly felt like it had nothing compelling to say to me.

Cover art for 'The Body Keeps the Score'

The Body Keeps the Score

by Bessel van der Kolk

A comprehensive and empathetic resource on trauma

  • Recommended by Aven
  • Read August 2019-December 2019
My thoughts

I'd recommend this to anyone who has trauma, as well as to anyone who is close to traumatized people. This gave me a much more in-depth understanding of how trauma functions, and also discusses forms of treatment that I had never heard of!

Content warning in here for descriptions of traumatic events.

Cover art for 'How to Do Nothing'

How to Do Nothing

by Jenny Odell

An essay-memior reflecting on attention.

  • Recommended by Her XOXO Talk
  • Read 2019-2020
My thoughts

This was a delightfully pleasant read, though I found myself frustrated throughout that Odell never brought the queer perspective into her writing. If you want something lightweight (my coworkers have read it) that makes a good starting point for a discussion, I'd recommend it.

I started birding because of this book.

A part I really liked was the use of the word "dismemberment" to reflect the ways in which we are detached from our communities, and "remembering" as the opposite of this word, a form of communal healing.

Cover art for 'A Safe Girl to Love'

A Safe Girl to Love

by Casey Plett

A collection of short stories about trans women and their varied experiences

  • Recommended by Fran
  • Read July 2019
My thoughts

I loved this so much. The short story structure made it a lot easier to take the heavier stories, and it really touched me quite a few times. My favorite was the last story about a mother and daughter who are both trans, and the messiness of their generational divide.

Cover art for 'Nevada'

Nevada

by Imogen Binnie

A story about messy trans feelings and America

My thoughts

I read this on the train to visit my friends and it fucked me up. Despite the perspective of the book being very different than mine, it was still a wild feeling to be reading a physical book with a story about a character who I find relateable.

Cover art for 'Island Book'

Island Book

by Evan Dahm

A comic about what lies beyond familar shores

  • Read 2019
My thoughts

A perfect little fairy tale. A gentler retelling of Moby Dick and a colorful bit of Zone Fiction

Cover art for 'Vattu: The Tower and the Shadow'

Vattu: The Tower and the Shadow

by Evan Dahm

The third in a comic series about colonialism

  • Read 2019
My thoughts

Oh jeez oh jeez what's gonna happen next. I'm so curious where Dahm is going with all of this!

Reading List