A collection, with occasional commentary.

Read by the author, Sherman Alexie, You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me is moving, funny, personal. Alexie writes about his family, his community, and himself. He writes about public performance as the place where he can be the most unguarded, the most vulnerable. He writes about rape and the looming presence on native lands, Native American people. He writes about rape culture. All of which started sounding different when I learned midway through the book of his own MeToo history.

Other perspectives:

  1. Lorraine Berry for the Guardian
  2. Beth Kephart for the Chicago Tribune

Logistics: I checked out the audiobook from the library and listened to it via Libby. I walked the dog and took pictures, listening during sunrise and late afternoon. Book 04 finished 18 January.

#read2022 #ShermanAlexie

What does nonprofit tech have to do with democracy? From our perspective, nonprofits and civil society play a critical role in holding open the space where inclusive democratic conversations can happen. Technology can help bring people into these vital conversations. This is not about partisan politics or get out to vote efforts. This is about a year-around effort to make sure that the nonprofit constituency is as involved as it can be in the conversations that are going to be setting their fate.

Whether it’s deploying decidedly low-tech solutions such as partnering with libraries to bring social services into the same physical space where these conversations are taking place, or using new technology applications that do multi-criteria decision-making, nonprofit leaders need to gather the opinions and realities of community members to fight for inclusion . This is an issue that needs to be taken on, head on. If we as a sector stay in our lane, our lane is just going to get smaller and smaller and smaller and smaller. And, that’s exactly what we see happening around the world.

From Commentary: Mobility, Complexity and Cybersecurity Drive Tech Landscape – The NonProfit Times


I’ve had Salvage the Bones by Jesmyn Ward on my read list since finishing The Fire Next Time.

This book is heartbreaking. It’s the story of family and love and mythology told through the eyes of a teenage girl as she and her brothers and father get ready for the storm that will be Hurricane Katrina. That we know how bad Katrina will be adds urgency. The physicality of Ward’s writing gives this book a searing intimacy. We feel, through touch, what the narrator feels. It is the best of literature, giving us intimate access to a complete world.

Other perspectives:

  1. Ron Carter in the Washington Post
  2. Carolyn Kellogg in the LA Times

Logistics: I checked the audio book out from the library and listened to while walking the dog on the Berkeley streets, while cooking dinner, and while driving short errands. Book 03 finished 8 January.

#read2022 #JesmynWard

Also today, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) called out the new election laws passed by Republican legislatures as “anti-democratic,” designed to “unwind the progress of our Union, restrict access to the ballot, silence the voices of millions of voters, and undermine free and fair elections.”

He insisted that Congress must take action to stop this anti-democratic march. In June, August, October, and November, Republican senators blocked discussion of “common-sense solutions to defend our democracy.” It is unacceptable for a minority of senators to be able to require that the majority command a supermajority in order to pass legislation, Schumer wrote: the Framers of the Constitution explicitly rejected such a requirement to pass laws.

“We must ask ourselves,” he wrote, “if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?”

From January 3, 2022 – by Heather Cox Richardson


I can’t remember what prompted me to put Mario Vargas Llosa’s The Neighborhood on my reading list. An article, I think, about corruption and politics and human greed and bravery.

I just finished and it is all those things. I’m left curious about the translation (houses at the point of falling down, rather than the verge of falling down. why that choice?). And most in love with a minor character who is losing his memory, his orientation to the world. And also the sex. The casual and impersonal nature of it. A stand-in for power.

Other perspectives:

  1. Ben East in The Guardian
  2. Michael O'Loughlin in the Irish Times

Logistics: I checked the book out from the library, in digital format, and read it in Libby. Book 02 finished 2 January.

#read2022 #MarioVargasLlosa

cover of the audio book

The Dept. of Speculation by Jenny Offill is the first book I finished this year. I started it on audio, a while back. Libby does a nice thing and holds your place, no matter it seems how long it takes to get back to it. And I did. This morning’s walk gave me time to finish it.

This is the second of Jenny Offill’s books I’ve read. I’ve liked both of them. And yet.

And yet I keep expecting something more from them. Like I keep waiting for something to happen. They are lives lived with ordinary heartbreak. Which somehow doesn’t feel enough. But I can’t work out why. Perhaps it is because they seem to be blind to the context in which the lives are led. As if the books have an insular and self-centered point of view. Even if hearts are breaking and people are loved. The world around does not ever seem to intrude.

Other perspectives:

  1. John Self in The Guardian
  2. Jody Handerson in The Literary Review

Logistics: Checked out from the library and read on audio while walking the dog. Book 01 finished 2 January.

#read2022 #JennyOffill

Science is a catalyst for human progress. But a publishing monopoly and funding monopsony have inhibited research.

We intend to improve incentives in science by developing smart research contracts mediated by peer-to-peer review networks. These will collectively reward scientific contributions, including proposals, papers, replications, datasets, analyses, annotations, editorials, and more.

Long term, these smart contracts help accelerate research by minimizing science friction, ensuring science quality, and maximizing science variance.

From Magna Carta Scientiae

And build the reviewers reputation through the work of their reviews. This proposal could be modified and applied to foundation grant proposals as well.

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