Radikal Readings: We Are All Suspects Now


I do most of my reading during my commute on public transportation. Often times no one says a thing, but I noticed quite a few more looks when I was reading We Are All Suspects Now: Untold Stories from Immigrant Communities after 9/11 by Tram Nguyen. One man asked my opinion and I found the first thing I said when he said he would read it was, “warning: it will make you mad.”

The actual information in the stories is nothing new if you have followed immigration after 9/11, however, it does put names and personal stories to the injustices we’ve all heard about. It’s an exasperating read, in that these injustices and really, crimes against humanity, are happened and in many cases still happening in the so-called, “land of the free.”

If you are a social justice crusader, this is nothing new, but a good read in terms of personal stories. However, I really recommend this for people who don’t have a clue what thousands of immigrants went through in the days, months, and years following 9/11. For those people it can go one of two ways – shocked by the horrors, or agree with everything the government did. It really depends on your politics. However, if you believe all humans should be treated equally, and no one is “illegal,” then this is a very informative read. The forward by Edwidge Danticat is also great. Highly recommended.

Song of the Day: No Other Way

Paolo Nutini is one of those artists who as soon as I heard one song by, I had to immediately consume every last song I could get my hands on.  There is something so magnetic about his voice.   It’s raspy, gritty quality is the perfect complement to his vintage soul sound.  You can literally feel the passion in his voice.

As I said, I’ve listened to everything by Paolo that I could find so choosing just one song to showcase is hard.  However, No Other Way is just too good not to write about.  It has the 60s feel that harkens to the days of Ben E. King that I love.  The ode to a long-distance love is nearly perfect.  It’s one of those songs that I listen to and immediately hit repeat.  I wouldn’t have it no other way.  Bonus: he’s unreal live.

Song of the Day: Vivire

Flamenco is not everyone’s cup of tea.  Sometimes it’s a little too much for me as well, but this gypsy music sound of Spain, full of emotions has some amazing highs.  Camaron de la Isla is the highest of highs in flamenco.  You can literally feel the emotions in his voice, regardless of whether you understand Spanish or not.

I specifically chose Vivire because of the guitar.  I grew up listening to guitar greats like Santana, Cash, and Hendrix thanks to my guitar-playing uncle.  So Vivire’s intense sounds immediately resonated with me.  The lyrics, after reading about flamenco’s origins, are so intensely personal and you can hear that in his voice.

Sure flamenco is not for everyone, but if it is, this one is beautiful.

Radikal Readings: The Ghosts of Spain

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If you scroll through my blog you’ll notice that I usually post about one book review a week, however, lately that hasn’t been the case.  That’s not to say I haven’t been reading.  I actually decided to re-read my favorite author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon and favorite set of books, Shadow of the Wind, The Angel’s Game, and The Prisoner of Heaven, which I do every so often.  For that reason I’ve been behind on my Radikal Readings posts.

All three of Zafon’s novels are based in Barcelona, Spain which help feed my obsession with the country.  Re-reading them left me longing to return to the place that stole my heart, but alas that just isn’t feasible at the moment.  So I did the next best thing, read a book about it.

The Ghost of Spain by journalist Giles Tremlett had been sitting on my shelf for quite some time but never got around to picking it up, but this was the perfect moment.  It begins with an in depth look at the country’s history with dictator Franco at the helm and turns into a look at modern social history and a travelogue rolled into one.  Having visited the modern Spain only for a short time, the look in on Spanish life and how the country has dealt with, or hasn’t with it’s dark past is fascinating.

Admittedly, while well written, it does get dry at times, as Tremlett repeats himself aplenty.  However, it is still a great read for anyone interested in knowing a little a bit more about Spain, or a Spain fanatic like me.

Song of the Day: Wasting My Young Years

I’m showing my age here, but in my research Wasting My Young Years, by London Grammar is what the kids call trip hop or indie pop. I don’t know; but I do know that I like it.Honestly, it isn’t the genre of music I would normally listen to, even though I do listen to a wealth of different genres. That really doesn’t matter because this song is addictive.

It’s quite a sad, introspective and melancholic song when you really listen to the lyrics. If I was in my early twenties or a teen, I’d probably love them, but while they don’t necessarily resonate with me, it fits the song perfectly. At the same time the beat is a upbeat at times, so it doesn’t fill you with dread. While front-woman Hannah Reid’s are hauntingly perfect for this song.

Oddly, unlike a lot of artists I discover, this is the only song I really enjoyed by the band that falls somewhere between Florence and the Machine and the xx. However, this one song I like is lovely.

Look Around

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We forget so often just to take the time out to look up and look around.

I’ve lived in the Bay Area for much of my life and now have worked in San Francisco (or the City as well call it) for a few years. I recently joined a new company that happens to be only a few short blocks from the company I left. Even though it’s such a small difference in location, I quickly realized what a rut I had been in. I took the same route to the office everyday, passed the same things, often the same people and ate at the same places. I was always in a hurry to run to the office, grab coffee or lunch that I forgot to look around.

I work in one of the most amazing cities in the world. A city that is experiencing a technology (and unfortunately, depending on who you are, real estate) boom. The City seems to be on everyone’s lists and lips and I am here, living in it everyday. I became aware that I was taking that for granted.

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