This fortnight J & K are discussing The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang. We’re diverting a bit from our usual YA Fantasy books. This book is definitely for adults, and not for the faint of heart! The characters are complicated, the story is complex and violent, and there is a ton of action.
Content Warning: In this episode we discuss drug use, rape, genocide, and other instances of extreme violence.
ChildHelp – Child Abuse – Call 1-800-422-4453 for assistance
We apologize ahead of time for any mispronounced words, names, and/or places.
As is usual, we referenced quite a few things, and you can find more information below!
- Drug traditions from around the world and hallucinogenic drugs
- The history of The War on Drugs in the US
- K mentioned the Nanjing Massacre and the implications it has on this story
- Hannah Arendt’s Eichman in Jerusalem: A Report on the Banality of Evil
- There is a ton of information out there about how much of our brain we use, and it seems like maybe doctors aren’t in agreement, but 10% is apparently a very low number (and in case you’re interested and need something light hearted after reading this book, here is that video of Ken Jeong answering medical questions J mentioned)
- We talked a lot about religion, which in China is quite diverse and varied. Here is information about the current state of religion in China, religion in China in general, Chinese folk religion, Chinese mythology, and Han Chinese (which is an ethnic group, which may have influenced some of the religious aspects of the story).
As always, we’d love to be in discussion with you, magical folx. Post or tweet about the show using #criticallyreading. Let us know what you think of the episode, anything we missed, or anything else you want us to know by dropping a line in the comments or reaching out to us on twitter or Instagram (@thelibrarycoven), or via email (firstname.lastname@example.org). You can also check out the show notes on our website, thelibrarycoven.com.
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JK, it’s magic is recorded and produced on stolen indigenous land: Arapahoe, Cheyenne, and Ute (Kelly) and Chickasha, Kaskaskia, Kickapoo, Mascoutin, Miami, Mesquaki, Odawa, Ojibwe, Peankashaw, Peoria, Potawatomi, Sauk, and Wea (Jessie)