What I'm reading now

Converses(Dis)ability Politics

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What I'm reading now

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1Rivendell
nov. 11, 2007, 4:45pm

I have just finished reading Fever Season by Barbara Hambley, Shards of Honour by Bujold, and Truesight by David Stahler.

Truesight first: it's an interesting premise (what if parents could elect for their children to be born blind?), but as Farah Mendelsohn pointed out to me when recommending that I read it, it has a huge hole in it: it is assumed that the blind cannot 'see what is going on'.

Shards of Honour: again, a recommendation by Farrah, and I was thus alerted to the author's interest in mental health before starting. The two disabled characters that feature later in the series are not yet here. But there are some other characters with various mental health issues (if that's not putting it too mildly).

Fever Season: the Benjamin Janvier series was recommended to me without the 'disability' tag - this (second in the series) has a number of characters with disabilities. (I'm not sure how to "cut for spoilers" - just stop reading, okay?) The main character, Benjaim Janvier/January is a 'free man of color' in early 19th century New Orleans. He isn't disabled. In fact, he's a big, healthy man - looks like a "field hand", and that's a disadvantage when you aren't a slave, but are a free musician and surgeon (this isn't a parallel with disability that Hambly calls attention to). There is only one point in which Benjamin makes any point of comparison between "race" and "disability", which is a shame, because a lot more remains to be said. The main gripe I had was that while Hambly does explore what disability meant to her characters (i.e. in that time and place), nevertheless, the disabled man and woman are (actively and passively) responsible for great evil. I don't think this would have been a problem for me, if in the previous/first book in the series she had included other characters with disablities, who are the good guys (she has, for example, women both in this book, and the previous one, who are actively responsible for both good and evil, and men who are passively responsible, so I'm not bothered that she has the man as active, woman as passive in this one).

Anyways ... anyone read these? Your thoughts? What are you reading?

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