laceblade: G Washington, A Hamilton, & T Jefferson; lol!text about political party formation (LOL politics)
laceblade ([personal profile] laceblade) wrote2013-12-27 08:38

Reading Wednesday: Christmas Vacation Edition

Finished Reading
Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn - This one is my favorite of the 3 I've read so far! So Kitty's lawyer/dude she also finds pretty hot, Ben, gets bit by a werewolf. Kitty comes to find that Ben's close with another love interest, Cormac, because they're actually cousins! & back when they were 16, they made a pact that if either one of them ever got infected with lycanthropy, they other one would kill him.
So Ben's pissed at Cormac for bringing him to Kitty for help, rather than just shooting him. Kitty and Cormac spend a chunk of the book afraid that Ben's going to use one of Cormac's guns to kill himself.
(He doesn't, & Kitty & Ben end up starting their own pack!!)
I just love so many things...idk. I like the descriptions of Ben's entire change in demeanor after getting infected, how the only emotion he can cling to at first is his anger, which he can't control.
I like the way Kitty discusses depression as being this thing that is totally different from wanting to kill yourself, & yet so familiar.
The end is bleak, with Cormac getting sentenced to prison for killing a skin-changer who was attacking Kitty. He was protecting her life, but the law hasn't caught up yet with the concepts of things like "skin-changers." It's pretty clear that Cormac will likely get out in the next book or two - he's a love interest!! - BUT FOR NOW, it's just shitty, & there's nothing anyone can do about it, & they move on.
The book ends with Kitty returning to her radio show, which is mundane for her & yet super inspiring also.
UGH I LOVE IT. ty again to [personal profile] littlebutfierce for talking these books up <3 <3 <3

Kaze Hikaru 11 & 12 - Wow, OMG YAMANAMI'S SEPPAKU UGGHHHHH SADDEST SADS :( :( :(
I appreciate the way that Watanabe was able to take this historical event that has unclear purposes & leave it sort of vague & yet also make it really clear why Yamanami felt he had no other choice.
It was all very dramatic & makes me excited for how this series will continue the intense events yet to come!!
I love every character and UGH JUST SO GOOD, I really did not expect to like this series as much as I do. I've been aware of it for some time but I'm glad I finally picked it up.

Shinjū by Laura Joh Rowland - Christ there's a lot of suicide in the books I read this week! ANYWAY, the novel begins with a double-murder that was arranged to look like a shinjū, or "lovers' suicide," in which two people are bound together & throw themselves in the water to drown because they're unable to marry - in this case, due to familial class differences. Sano Ichiro is a new yoriki working for the shogunate, & he ends up violating bushido to keep investigating this weird case, even after repeatedly told not to.
The writing doesn't do much for me, & the characters are pretty rote BUT there were a number of plot progressions that came totally out of left field for me, & I couldn't put the second half of the book down.
This is the first in a long series, so I'm willing to stay with it & see if the writing improves. I've got the next book on hold at the library.

Unico by Osamu Tezuka - I don't know why I keep Tezuka manga, as I always hate it. It had such an adorable cover!!! But I think I'm finally done for good.

A View From the Interior: Policing the Protests at the Wisconsin State Capitol by Sue Riseling - There have been a number of books published about the Wisconsin union protests. I doubt I'll ever read John Nichols', as I find him pompous & stupid. The ones written by the protestors don't really interest me either. HOWEVER, I have two checked out & this is the first one I've managed to read, written by Sue Riseling, Chief of UW-Madison Police.
The book is entirely focused on how the protests were policed, & why certain decisions were made. Riseling's style is pretty straightforward, but I found the book fascinating. The breakdown of clusterfucky project management was very intriguing, & it didn't hurt to have a book filled with characters who are super familiar to me.

Her insights into policing are great. When it's first suggested to clear out the entire building with no warning, here's her thought process:
The thought of abruptly switching gears and having uniformed police clear people out for no particular reason except "today is the day" struck me as fundamentally wrong. It is a lesson I learned a long time ago and try to continually teach to new police officers: "Can I?" and if yes, "Should I?"
Can I muster enough police officers to empty this building by 6:00 tonight? You bet. The mass arrest plans were in place, the civil disobedience plans were in place, the hard (riot) gear for police was on-site and ready for use, and the University Police force's Police Extraction Response Unit was here, along with the EOD canines. Unlike last Friday or Sunday, today I had everything I needed to make this happen.
Should I? No. It would be a ridiculous tactic, bad philosophy, and constitute an egregious use of power. The Assembly was still meeting and the building had to remain open. There was nothing to be gained from the spark that would ignite or the firestorm that would follow if we forced people out of the Capitol today. If we thought the crowds were big now, imagine how large they would be if we proceeded to shatter the trust and evict protesters without warning. Just to achieve the goal of clearing the building because we can made no sense.

Once the Assembly session was over, of course, then there WAS a reason to clear the building (the building had hours - staffing it with police was costing tens of thousands of dollars - cleaning crews couldn't do their jobs & the whole building smelled like BO & human waste - capacity hazards, etc.

She makes clear things that those within the building understand, but people tweeting to #wiunion usually did not & lots of people usually don't - that things that look like dramatic progressions have actually been agreed upon by both sides ahead of time to make more political theater.
One example is the part where Ted (full confession: my former boss & friend) is asking for troopers to accompany his staff to visit the houses of a few senators after they'd skipped town (preventing the Senate from voting on the "budget repair bill" due to a lack of quorum). Ted relays to Riseling that "conversations were occurring between various leaders and a few of the missing senators. Some of the senators had intimated that if they were found in the state, they would return to the Capitol."
Purposely concocted political theater, & yet I remember people totally losing their shit when the pages & troopers went to knock on doors.

Riseling steps into a power vacuum of controlling various police agencies (excluding the city & county cops, who refused to enter the fucking building, jackholes). The daily meetings are almost painful to read, especially the actions of Capitol Police Chief Charles Tubbs. The power structure and decision-making authorities are unclear, which is never good.
Once they decide to close the Capitol at 4pm on a particular Sunday, Tubbs pushes for voluntary compliance, meaning that while most of the protestors leave the building when asked, everyone's aware that a few of them will stay behind & refuse to leave.
DOA & Tubbs & others basically state that once this happens, they will refuse to open the building on Monday as usual, until those people leave.
Of course, this is never explained to protestors, & since Tubbs & the majority of the committee refuse to allow Riseling & her officers to simply arrest these protestors and physically remove them from the building (a process with which they're really familiar!!), Tubbs allows the actions of a hundred or so people to close access to the building for thousands of others, pissing everyone off.
Riseling asks lots of questions related to this - if we don't arrest the protestors who refuse to leave the building & they stay over night, then what happens Friday morning? If we only allow 354 people into the building, are these protestors counted in the 354 figure? At what point will they actually cut off people from sleeping inside the Capitol? Nobody answers her questions - always a sign of shitty management & a totally dysfunctional workplace, in my experience.

It's semi-hilarious to read about protestors sitting in the Rotunda with messages they wanted to give to the media upon their arrest, & having already discussed their techniques/etc., while unknown to them, no arrests were going to occur.

Riseling is frustrated with this, realizing that the overall goal is a political desire to limit overall access to the building, rather than to keep the peace (p. 249). Riseling's goals are safety balanced with facilitating people's rights to exercise their First Amendment rights.

It's hilarious later on, when the overall goal is to close the building, & Chief Tubbs suggests an exchange of people, allowing protestors inside to go home & shower/change, while allowing someone outside the building to come in & take their place. Riseling says that their repeated goal is to return the Capitol to regular business hours, with nobody spending the night inside the building. Given that goal, exchanging people one-to-one runs right contrary to that - the total # of protestors in the building would never decrease!

15 days into the protests, Riseling figures out that the Capitol Police's secretary has solely been in charge of logistics, which was why logistics had been failing. tbh, Capitol Police in general came off as a complete shitshow in this book.

UW Police was way more open to logical suggestions & rolling with the surroundings of reality, & also accepting leadership & pointed questions from a woman. It's clear that a lot of dudebros are not down with this.

Several times, it's clear that Republicans put themselves into dangerous positions by not being open with the police about their plans. They'd pull surprises & erode the trust with the public, & every time the police would have to come running.

Her reflections on how policing can help facilitate people exercising their rights is pretty enjoyable to read, although it's clear it's something an officer & manager must actively think about & work toward.
Passively having ideas like "let's get this shit & lockdown" & then executing plans that don't actually facilitate your overall goals ruins the settings for everyone. Overall, I liked this book quite a bit.

Tears of a Lamb, vol. 1 - I randomly picked this up from the library while home for the holidays at my home!library.
It starts off with Hasumi inexplicably having a strong desire to enter the apartment of her classmate, Kanzaki. She never explains why, so they just have nonsensical & epic arguments in front of their classmates. I almost stopped reading it after a chapter two, but I'm so glad I continued!
It turns out that Hasumi is trying to locate a ring that she thinks is in the apartment from the person who lived their two-tenants ago, who was her friend. Hasumi's also dealing with an eating disorder caused by stress, & I guess I just imprinted on her pretty strongly. I'm interested in seeing where this goes, although I think I'll need to use our library's outer-loan system to obtain future volumes.


Currently Reading
I'm kind of skimming through Brian Jacques's Loamhedge. Later Redwall books don't really do it for me, even though the earlier ones were pretty formative! I've always been a little interested in Loamhedge, though. It's the original abbey from which Abbess Germain & the other mice came, running from a plague, back in the days of Martin the Warrior.
I wanted to learn more about it, but the plot of the hare who uses a wheelchair & is seeking a magical cure to be able to walk again is making me really uneasy.
I'm heading back to Madison in a few hours, so I'll likely just skim this to see wtf happens.
littlebutfierce: (dtb suou gun)

[personal profile] littlebutfierce 2013-12-27 14:59 (UTC)(link)
Yeah, I generally really like how, through the books, Vaughn handles the issue of mental health in general & stuff. Uggggh that book was so triggering for me, like on one of my rereads I had to ban myself from reading it on the tube b/c I kept losing my shit on the way to work. -__- B/c omg Ben have you been inside my head?!

ANYWAY! I look forward to hearing your thoughts as you keep going thru the series. :D

That book about the protests sounds interesting/potentially enraging for the reasons you mentioned. I do not envy that woman her job. ^^;;;
lileyo: A Red-headed Woodpecker, perched on a wooden stump and cocking its head. (Default)

[personal profile] lileyo 2013-12-27 19:49 (UTC)(link)
The book about the protests sounds so good. Thanks for writing it up! Must be so weird to read a nonfiction book about people you're friends with. Was it a surprise to you that the Capitol Police showed their asses, or could you have guessed that from working with them previously?
bibliofile: Fan & papers in a stack (from my own photo) (Default)

book on the protests

[personal profile] bibliofile 2013-12-29 01:21 (UTC)(link)
That book sounds fascinating, and I've added it to my holds queue. I often wondered what the hell was going on with the Capitol and other police. I was pretty sure, though, that being stuck between the politicians and the protestors was never an enviable position.

I admit that part of me also wants to sit with you and hear your take on specific journalists, their attitudes and coverage, and related topics. It might take more booze and time than you'd like (or that I could take, maybe). I like some things about John Nichols, but I admit it's partly because I agree with him more often than some of the left-er journalists. As for pompous, well, there are so many people like that! I personally can't ignore them all....