Skip to main content

A Radical 4th of July Reading List



It's easy for me to love my country, but it's hard for me to be proud of my country.

The word "patriotism" now makes me cringe. The 4th of July isn't making me want to celebrate our founders or listen to ridiculous songs like Celine Dion's version of America the Beautiful or eat a red, white, and blue cake like our ancestors wanted. I want to crawl under a blanket and wait for this tsunami of pain and embarrassment to end.

That being said, here are some books to read, some of which understand America as Emma Lazarus captured it in her famous poem "The New Colossus," and some that try to take us a step further:

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,

With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.

"Keep ancient lands, your storied pomp!" cries she
With silent lips. "Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"




Because America is diverse and because of that, America has some amazing women.




Founding Mothers by Cokie Roberts

Because I'm sick of talking about our forefathers.






In the Country We Love by Diane Guerrero

Because our country was founded through immigration. We are a nation of immigrants. We need to keep hearing their stories.







Because our country was also founded by demolishing another nation, and while it is painful to look back or acknowledge complicity in that demolition, we must remember that pain to keep from repeating it.

Between the World and Me by Ta-Nehisi Coates

Because our country is slowly waking up to the idea that one of the sins on which we were founded is still in force today, and that conversation needs to keep happening.





Because...well, obviously.

Comments

  1. Replies
    1. I was looking at past 4th of July posts I've done and just hated them because of how even jokingly jingoistic they were. I usually watch 1776 and Independence Day every year and I CANNOT NOW, so this felt necessary.

      Delete
  2. I love love love this post and this list. Also I realize I'm way late on commenting BUT STILL sentiment holds true

    ReplyDelete

Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Harry Potter 2013 Readalong Signup Post of Amazingness and Jollity

Okay, people. Here it is. Where you sign up to read the entire Harry Potter series (or to reminisce fondly), starting January 2013, assuming we all survive the Mayan apocalypse. I don't think I'm even going to get to Tina and Bette's reunion on The L Word until after Christmas, so here's hopin'.


You guys know how this works. Sign up if you want to. If you're new to the blog, know that we are mostly not going to take this seriously. And when we do take it seriously, it's going to be all Monty Python quotes when we disagree on something like the other person's opinion on Draco Malfoy. So be prepared for your parents being likened to hamsters.

If you want to write lengthy, heartfelt essays, that is SWELL. But this is maybe not the readalong for you. It's gonna be more posts with this sort of thing:


We're starting Sorceror's/Philosopher's Stone January 4th. Posts will be on Fridays. The first post will be some sort of hilarious/awesome que…

How to Build a Girl Introductory Post, which is full of wonderful things you probably want to read

Acclaimed (in England mostly) lady Caitlin Moran has a novel coming out. A NOVEL. Where before she has primarily stuck to essays. Curious as we obviously were about this, I and a group of bloggers are having a READALONG of said novel, probably rife with spoilers (maybe they don't really matter for this book, though, so you should totally still read my posts). This is all hosted/cared for/lovingly nursed to health by Emily at As the Crowe Flies (and Reads) because she has a lovely fancy job at an actual bookshop (Odyssey Books, where you can in fact pre-order this book and then feel delightful about yourself for helping an independent store). Emily and I have negotiated the wonders of Sri Lankan cuisine and wandered the Javits Center together. Would that I could drink with her more often than I have.


INTRODUCTION-wise (I might've tipped back a little something this evening, thus the constant asides), I am Alice. I enjoy the Pleistocene era of megafauna and drinking Shirley Templ…

Yes, Frances Willard was as gay as Oscar Wilde. But in a lady-way.

Yup. We're gonna do it. We're gonna talk about Frances Willard and gayness. Look, it's not a major part of her life, and it's definitely not the main thing she should be remembered for, but the fact that a line is being put out that she was totally straight is complete hogwash and it upsets me.




The thing is, I get when people say it's anachronistic to put the cultural concept of "gayness" onto a person from a century other than the 20th/21st. I get that. And usually agree with it. But Frances Willard is one of the gayest people in history. I have zero problem labeling her with that. The fact that she didn't have the language to describe what she was experiencing is upsetting, but she managed to have a seemingly full and satisfying life anyway, so I am happy for her.

And for people annoyed when gay people say that someone from the past was gay, here's the thing: When you're completely whitewashed from history, it is a matter of TOTAL DELIGHT wh…