The Rag | Living

‘Shadow and Bone,’ Two Kinds of Pizza, and the History of Woke

Here’s what I consumed this week

Ruth Terry
4 min readMay 4, 2021


Cat on sidewalk with people behind him.
“Wait, why are there so many humans out during lockdown?” asked Istanbul cats this week. Photo by Emre on Unsplash

Things are… interesting here in Istanbul, where lockdown is starting to feel like its own superspreader event. First, there was the mass exodus from cities to rural areas before lockdown started. Those who stayed flocked to stores to stock up on food and alcohol, sales of which are banned during this lockdown.

Now, on my social media, folks all over the city are talking about seeing people chilling at parks, riding bikes, and crowding pharmacies and grocery stores. In a city with a centuries-old tradition of delivery infrastructure, it’s hard to make a compelling case for the necessity of going out. Ooooh! Breaking news from one of my expat WhatsApp groups: sales of additional items like electronics, home textiles, and garden supplies will soon be banned, too. Great, now we’ll have a run on potted plants today.

Given the presence of the B.1.617 coronavirus variant, it all just feels so reckless and dangerous—especially for the service workers who don’t have a choice about showing up. And so I am continuing to stay home, leaving ample time for reading, streaming, and noshing. Here’s what I consumed over roughly the last seven days.

Map of the fictional Grishaverse.
Map of the Grisha world from the book and Netflix series, “Shadow and Bone.” Courtesy of Leigh Bardugo.

Immersed in the Grishaverse

While dealing with insomnia, I plowed through the first two books of Leigh Bardugo’s Grishaverse series in preparation for watching the Netflix series of the same name. I needn’t have bothered as the show takes creative liberties with the narrative, mainly by mashing up characters and storylines from Bardugo’s “Six of Crows” spin-off series.

But the biggest surprise for me, having read only the first two books—which mainly take place in Russia-inspired Ravka—and none of the spin-offs, was the diversity of the cast. Most notably, main character Alina Starkov is now half Shu, an Asian-inspired culture at war with Ravka.

Viewers and reviewers had mixed feelings about race as portrayed on “Shadow and Bone.” TL;DR: they nailed



Ruth Terry

American freelancer in Istanbul writing about culture, mental health, race & travel. Bylines everywhere from Al Jazeera to Zora. Tw: @Ruth_Terry | IG: