Book Review: How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley

How Fascism Works by Jason Stanley
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: September 4, 2018
Source: Borrowed

Fascist politics are running rampant in America today–and spreading around the world. A Yale philosopher identifies the ten pillars of fascist politics, and charts their horrifying rise and deep history.

As the child of refugees of World War II Europe and a renowned philosopher and scholar of propaganda, Jason Stanley has a deep understanding of how democratic societies can be vulnerable to fascism: Nations don’t have to be fascist to suffer from fascist politics. In fact, fascism’s roots have been present in the United States for more than a century. Alarmed by the pervasive rise of fascist tactics both at home and around the globe, Stanley focuses here on the structures that unite them, laying out and analyzing the ten pillars of fascist politics–the language and beliefs that separate people into an “us” and a “them.” He knits together reflections on history, philosophy, sociology, and critical race theory with stories from contemporary Hungary, Poland, India, Myanmar, and the United States, among other nations. He makes clear the immense danger of underestimating the cumulative power of these tactics, which include exploiting a mythic version of a nation’s past; propaganda that twists the language of democratic ideals against themselves; anti-intellectualism directed against universities and experts; law and order politics predicated on the assumption that members of minority groups are criminals; and fierce attacks on labor groups and welfare. These mechanisms all build on one another, creating and reinforcing divisions and shaping a society vulnerable to the appeals of authoritarian leadership.

By uncovering disturbing patterns that are as prevalent today as ever, Stanley reveals that the stuff of politics–charged by rhetoric and myth–can quickly become policy and reality. Only by recognizing fascists politics, he argues, may we resist its most harmful effects and return to democratic ideals.

If I’m being completely honest, I have absolutely no idea how to review this book. I added it to my library wish list — where I track books I want to read, just not immediately — shortly after it came out. I happened to be scrolling through Overdrive one day when I saw it was available as an audiobook, so I figured I might as well listen.

And the book is fine. Really, it is.

But is it good?

I’m not sure.

As I was listening, I was reminded of both Madeleine Albright’s Fascism: A Warning and Steven Levitsky and Daniel Ziblatt’s How Democracies Die, both of which I read last year. I even thought of Fantasyland by Kurt Andersen, which touches on the same topics (sort of), but in a much more engaging way. What I’m getting at, I guess, is that this book wasn’t anything I hadn’t heard before.

As a primer for fascist politics, it’s fine, if a little… dramatic. I understand what Stanley is getting at, but it seems that any political ideology that he doesn’t agree with could be considered “fascist,” and although I am in agreement with his politics, it still didn’t sit right with me. I don’t think that conservative politics are inherently fascist. They’re just conservative.

In the end, if you want a pretty basic introduction to fascism, check out this book. If you’re looking for something deeper, you can probably give it a pass.

Have you read How Fascism Works? Do you like political nonfiction?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Weekly Update

In case you missed it, here are this week’s blog posts:

I’ve been reading:

Recently acquired:

1 thing this week:

  • I’m headed to Tennessee tonight and I am VERY EXCITED.

Blog hopping:

  • Bibi is celebrating her first blogoversary with a giveaway!
  • Daniel‘s review of Fly on the Wall is probably the best thing I’ve ever read.
  • Rain gave a bunch of advice on using Edelweiss!

Song of the week:

I listened to Levitate kind of obsessively after Trench came out, but then I kind of… didn’t until a couple days ago, when I remembered that I’ll be seeing Twenty One Pilots in a couple weeks. Luckily I still remembered all the words, because it took me forever to get that song down.


How was your week? What’s the best thing you read or listened to? Anything interesting happening in your life? Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC review: Midnight Radio by Iolanda Zanfardino

Midnight Radio by Iolanda Zanfardino
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: June 4, 2019
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

An intriguingly interwoven tale of four lives changed by a mysterious late-night radio broadcast that wakes them up from their mundane existences. Each tale speaks to different social issues without pandering to a political agenda: LGBT+ rights, racism, social network addiction, and the difficult decision between settling down versus following your dreams. Each tale is told in a vivid, polychromatic illustration style that flows from one character to another and back again in a uniquely identifiable fashion.

I downloaded Midnight Radio from Edelweiss on a whim. Not having read anything from this author or publisher before, I wasn’t really sure what to expect, but I figured that a 160-page graphic novel was pretty much risk-free.

The first thing I want to say is that I’ve never read a graphic novel with this kind of art before, but I really enjoyed it! I also really enjoyed how each of the four stories was illustrated in a different color. It really helped me keep track of what was going on in which story and it clearly differentiated scene changes, both definite pluses.

Of the four stories, I think Stephen’s was my favorite. Stephen is Insta-famous, with hundreds of thousands of followers that dote on his every word (or, I guess, photo). Behind the scenes, Stephen is dealing with family and friendship issues and, for reasons we never quite find out, never speaks. I would have loved to read an entire graphic novel just about Stephen. (Not that the other three stories weren’t also good.)

What kept me from rating this five stars was two things. First, the stories do come together at the end, but I wanted more from it. Second, I would have liked to have gone a little more in depth with these characters. I feel like we only scratched the surface of their lives and could have gone so much further.

All in all, I really enjoyed this one! I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend it if you’re looking for a good graphic novel.


Have you read Midnight Radio? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC review: Blackbird, Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries

Blackbird, Vol. 1 by Sam Humphries
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC via Edelweiss

Nina Rodriguez knows a hidden magical world run by ruthless cabals is hiding in Los Angeles. When a giant magic beast kidnaps her sister, Nina must confront her past (and her demons) to get her sister back and reclaim her life. Don’t miss the first collection of the smash-hit neo-noir fantasy series from fan-favorite writer SAM HUMPHRIES (Harley Quinn, Nightwing) and red-hot artist JEN BARTEL (Mighty Thor)!

I noticed this graphic novel when I was scrolling through Edelweiss one day. The cover alone made me download it. I mean, the color palette! The artwork! Amazing. I’m a sucker for this kind of art style.

I read this book in one sitting. It’s an interesting enough premise. We start out with adult Nina working as a bartender, addicted to pills, and constantly arguing with the sister she lives with. It seems that Nina can’t get her life together and it all goes back to a traumatic event from her childhood, an earthquake that everyone she knows insists was a normal event but that she knows was supernatural. Turns out there’s a secret society of paragons living in plain sight in modern Los Angeles. Nina has been noticing their existence ever since the earthquake, but not really understanding what was happening.

The story handles the fantasy world well enough. It’s set up in a very basic manner, but this is only the first volume, so I have faith that it’ll be expanded in the future. The issue I took with this story was Nina’s “real” life. At the beginning of the book, Nina is struggling with her addiction. She’s constantly thinking about more pills, more pills, more pills. Then, all of a sudden… she just isn’t. The story surrounding her family and her childhood also felt very repetitive. I get it, okay. Her mom died, her family thinks she’s crazy, she pretty much raised herself. It’s all very sad. I didn’t need to be reminded of it every few pages.

I’ll end on a positive note — if you’ve been following my blog for any length of time, you probably know that I love cats. (And if you didn’t, now you do.) Sharpie was easily one of the best parts about this book for me. Just look at him.


#romanceopoly: kickass lane

Have you read Blackbird? What’s the last urban fantasy you read?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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Library Book Sale Haul!

You may recall me posting (not very long ago) about how I got rid of 102 books. I was pretty proud of myself for clearing out so much space… and then I went to my library’s annual book sale and kind of had zero self-control. I thought I was being kind of excessive when I took two tote bags with me, but I filled them. I ended up getting books from a bunch of different genres. Sadly, their YA selection was kind of lacking. But anyway, I ended up getting all of these books for $32.



Cookbooks


Does your library do an annual book sale? Have you read any of these books? Are any on your TBR? Let’s talk in the comments!

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I’d like to see on the big screen

Happy Top Ten Tuesday! Today’s theme is a page to screen freebie. I’m talking about ten books I’d like to see on the big screen.


Red, White & Royal Blue by Casey McQuiston

I might not have adored this book as much as a lot of other readers, but I still thought it was cute! I think it would be a really cute, really heartwarming movie.


The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I would be terrified to watch this movie because I love this book so much, but if it was done right, this movie would be amazing.


Love Scene, Take Two by Alex Evansley

This movie would be fluffy and swoony and adorable and I’m 5000% sure I’d love it.


Love and Other Words by Christina Lauren

This would be the exact opposite of the last book I mentioned. This movie would have me bawling my eyes out, but I’d still love it.


Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett

I think that out of all of Jenn Bennett’s books, Alex, Approximately would make the best movie.


You’d Be Mine by Erin Hahn

This book had such vivid descriptions that I almost felt like I was watching a movie while I was reading.


The Brightsiders by Jen Wilde

This would be such a fun movie! The band, the partying, the romance, the boat… but it also has a good message.


Famous in a Small Town by Emma Mills

I would love to see this friend group play out on screen!


Heretics Anonymous by Katie Henry

A bunch of teens secretly revolting against their school sounds like a pretty great movie to me.


Madeleine from The Foxe & the Hound

Sixteen Candles is one of my favorite 80s movies, and Save the Date reminds me of it a lot.


Did you do your own Top Ten Tuesday post today? Feel free to leave your link in the comments and I’ll check it out! Which books would you like to see on screen? Let’s talk in the comments!

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ARC Review: The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren

The Unhoneymooners by Christina Lauren
Rating: ★★★★☆
Links: Amazon • TBD • Goodreads
Publication Date: May 14, 2019
Source: ARC via Netgalley

Olive is always unlucky: in her career, in love, in…well, everything. Her identical twin sister Amy, on the other hand, is probably the luckiest person in the world. Her meet-cute with her fiancé is something out of a romantic comedy (gag) and she’s managed to finance her entire wedding by winning a series of Internet contests (double gag). Worst of all, she’s forcing Olive to spend the day with her sworn enemy, Ethan, who just happens to be the best man.

Olive braces herself to get through 24 hours of wedding hell before she can return to her comfortable, unlucky life. But when the entire wedding party gets food poisoning from eating bad shellfish, the only people who aren’t affected are Olive and Ethan. And now there’s an all-expenses-paid honeymoon in Hawaii up for grabs.

Putting their mutual hatred aside for the sake of a free vacation, Olive and Ethan head for paradise, determined to avoid each other at all costs. But when Olive runs into her future boss, the little white lie she tells him is suddenly at risk to become a whole lot bigger. She and Ethan now have to pretend to be loving newlyweds, and her luck seems worse than ever. But the weird thing is that she doesn’t mind playing pretend. In fact, she feels kind of… lucky.

I almost always love Christina Lauren books, so I was very excited to see The Unhoneymooners pop up on Netgalley. After I requested it, I kind of forgot that I had it until about three days before its release, when I panicked and started reading it immediately. Luckily, this book was very fun and I read it in two sittings. The 432 pages honestly just flew by.

I always love Christina Lauren’s heroines. They’re usually goofy, clumsy, and often embarrass themselves. But they’re also confident, intelligent, and just the right amount of snarky. Olive is no exception. She has a bit of a reputation for being prickly, but she’s just honest. She doesn’t put up with any nonsense. I could probably learn a thing or two from her.

It’s not just their heroines that I love, though. Their heroes are great, too. Aside from a few rather frustrating scenes, Ethan was a great love interest. While he initially came off as kind of stand-offish (or even rude), once he and Olive got over their differences and actually talked, he was a great guy. I loved how particular he was about the food he’d eat because SAME.

I loved the way the relationship developed between Olive and Ethan. Enemies-to-lovers is one of my favorite tropes, and Christina Lauren did it perfectly here. The teasing, the banter, and the turn to romantic feelings was done so well. Another of my favorite tropes? Fake dating. Watching Olive and Ethan pretend to be newlyweds while being so uncomfortable about it was great. I loved it.

So, why not five stars? There were a few things that didn’t sit quite right with me, but I think that getting into them would be kind of spoilery. I will say that they were still small enough issues that I flew through this book and ended up loving it. I’d highly recommend this to anybody looking for a cute enemies-to-lovers romance.


Previously: AutoboyographyDating You/Hating YouJosh and Hazel’s Guide to Not DatingLove and Other WordsMy Favorite Half-Night StandRoomies


#killingthetbr: 4 months on shelf


Have you read The Unhoneymooners? Is it on your TBR?
Let’s talk in the comments!

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