Books of the Year: 2016

by Nic Olson

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Between the World and Me – Ta-Nehisi Coates

It does not matter that the “intentions” of individual educators were noble. Forget about intentions. What any institution, or its agents, “intend” for you is secondary. Our world is physical. Learn to play defense—ignore the head and keep your eyes on the body. Very few Americans will directly proclaim that they are in favor of black people being left to the streets. But a very large number of Americans will do all they can to preserve the Dream. No one directly proclaimed that schools were designed to sanctify failure and destruction. But a great number of educators spoke of “personal responsibility” in a country authored and sustained by a criminal irresponsibility. The point of this language of “intention” and “personal responsibility” is broad exoneration. Mistakes were made. Bodies were broken. People were enslaved. We meant well. We tried our best. “Good intention” is a hall pass through history, a sleeping pill that ensures the Dream.

-Ta-Nehisi Coates, Between the World and Me, p33

Racialized Policing – Elizabeth Comack

Cities of the Plain – Cormac McCarthy

Antarctica – Kim Stanley Robinson

Waiting for the Barbarians – JM Coetzee

Bullet Park – John Cheever

Last Supper – Aaron Cometbus

Cathedral – Raymond Carver

A Propaganda System – Yves Engler

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