Tag Archives: writing

60 second book review: “Borderlands”

Gloria Anzaldúa’s Borderlands/La Frontera is, perhaps obviously, about borders — of language, culture, sexuality, gender, class, spirituality, race, belief, religion, history, literature, family, ethics and morality. In other words, lots of fun stuff. This book is incredibly relevant to the way we live in the new millennium, not just with respect to race, class and culture, but to sex, gender and belief as well. Investors and analysts and politicians talk a lot about globalization and the global economy, but what they seem to ignore is that we are many people with many beliefs. We are not so much a global society as a border society, and those borders are not limited to the physical and geographical. Anzaldúa realizes this; in fact, I would say that Borderlands/La Frontera, while about living along the U.S./Mexico border, is about everything but that. It’s about what happens when cultures and beliefs collide, when capitalism and racism combine to disenfranchise those the dominant race considers Other. It’s also explains how even among the Other one can be even more Other, to the extent of seeming monstrous.

“The struggle has always been inner, and is played out in the outer terrains … nothing happens in the real world unless it first happens in the images in our heads,” she writes. We constantly live with divided loyalties, just as we may live with multiple oppressions, and Anzaldúa knows this. Her entire point is to exult in these borders — because it is when we are conscious of these borders that we connect with other people.

Even her language bears this out; she writes mainly in English (the language of the dominant group, the language she learned from childhood that was “correct”), but adds bits in Castilian, Tex-Mex and Nahuatl. This has the effect of marginalizing readers, making them feel Other, but more than that it allows Anzaldúa to rejoice in the way her world has many borders. It that allows her to claim — whether with “permission” or not — pieces of each culture. By doing so, by embracing and exulting in the smoky, hazy, ambiguous borders, she is creating culture and religion and belief and gender and sex … and inviting us to do the same.

[Bookish Note: 60 second reviews are not written in 60 seconds; they’re not really designed to be read in 60 seconds either, although they probably could be. They are so called because they short and to the point. It’s all about getting down to brass tacks, really. Oh, and just to be safe, no one sent me this book, it was bought with my own hard-earned cash.]

Amanuensis Monday: The Probate Inventory of Martha Allen

[Amanuensis — noun — pl. amanuenses — from Latin āmanuēnsis (“secretary”), from ab + manus, “by hand”

  1. One employed to take dictation or copy manuscripts
  2. A clerk, secretary, stenographer or scribe.

Amanuensis Monday” is a term used by geneabloggers who type and post letters, wills, notes and other documents that were written by hand. The Bookish Miss is somewhat bereft of letters at this time, but has plenty of probate inventories … which are, in their own way, just as fascinating.]

State of North Carolina, Randolph County

An inventory of the personal property of Martha Allen, dec’d, which came in to the hands of Wm. Allen, administrator.

Cash on hand … Seventy dollar, 70

Silas Hodson Book AL Available… 24.40

Da. H B Allen … 10.00

List of Sale Maid 27th November 1866

1 Wash Pot … 55

1 Pair Stullyards … 25

2 Falls Colter … 25

1 Pot Rack … 36

1 Matoch … 25

2 Plowirons … 10

1 Shovel & Broms … 30

2 Sickles & Shovel … 15

2 Chisels & finchers … 25

2 hammers & pin … 15

2 Lasts … 16

Shoe tools … 35

1 grind stone … 40

1 fr dogirons … 16

1 Meal tub … 05

1 Lard tub … 76

2 Begs & tub barel … 15

1 Barel & box … 05

2 Jars & tub … 05

1 DH … 25

1 sider barrel … 30

chains … 65

fan & spools … 25

1 Iron shovel … 15

$6:34

1 Box of Contents … 20

1 Churn … 07

1 Wheel & tub … 30

1 half gallon … 06

1 Basket … 21

2 Hogshead … 46

3 Bushels of wheat … 7.95

Do … 7.98

Do … 7.98

Do five bushels ¼ … 13.92

Beans … .37½

2 Hogshead … .61

1 side sadle … .42

1 Lot of lether … .30

1 Flax wheel … .81

1 Fring frang fan … .17

1 jar … .40

1 jar and crock … .15

1 jar & froheher [sp?] … .15

1 Coffy mill … .13

1 Shugar bole … .22

boles and quarts … .18

2 handle sheks … .71

Do … .10

$42.68

2 Pitchers … .05

1 Shugar bole … .10

1 pepper box … .01

1 pewter dish … .63½

3 pewter spoons … .10

2 tin pans & pewter dish … .70½

2 Dishes … .04

2 Cups and sasers … .04

1 Dish & iel [sp?] … .11

1 Bottle and pepper Lion … .40½

1 Pitcher & bottles … .05

1 Dish puter … .30

1 Lot of bottles … .08

1 Pitcher … .15

1 Can … .01

1 Lot of bottles … .05

1 Morter … .05

2 Baskets … .16

Do … .05

1 Lot of books … .07

2 Books … .05

1 Lot books … .05

2 Chares … .30

Do … .49

Do … .30

1 babbord [sp?] … 14.50

1 Clock … 2.80

1 table … 3.20

1 Chest … 3.00

1 hackle … 1.55

1 Atlas … .32

2 Mugs … .12

$24.61½

1 slay … .05

slay & gear … .12

gear … .11

Slay & gear … .61

Do … .20

Carpets … .30

1 table … .10

1 Lot of corn … .82½

1 Lot of Corn … 6.00

1 Do … 5.57½

1 Par swarpen bars … .36

1 Lot of Books … 3.18

1 lot of short corn … .81

1 Chesle … .37½

1 Box … .06

1 Basket … .20

1 Lot of oats … 4.45

Do … 4.00

Do … 2.40

1 Fork … .56

1 Box … .50

1 Barel … .05

$25.29½

24.61½

42.68

6.34

———-

98.92

Wm. Allen, Admn

The text of Martha Allen’s probate inventory has been faithfully reproduced, including spelling and grammatical errors and other inconsistencies with capitalization and use of decimals. However, the Bookish Miss is human and errors are possible.

Text obscured by smeared ink or otherwise illegible is noted by [sp?].

Inventory from the North Carolina State Archives

please pardon the dust

… and the nails, loose boards, glass shards and the other debris littering the ground. This blog is, after all, still very much under construction. Hopefully all the infrastructure will be in place by the end of this weekend; then the real blogging will begin.

Until then, Bookish Miss recommends checking out an audio excerpt of Kate Mayfield’s memoir The Undertaker’s Women. There’s even home video included!