KeskusteluClub Read 2023

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Muokkaaja: joulukuu 18, 2022, 12:58 pm

Post any links book-related (or not -- I'm not the boss of you) right here.

joulukuu 26, 2022, 1:00 pm

I had a dear friend whose daughter with special needs used to say that to her younger brother all the time, and my friend encouarging her!

tammikuu 13, 12:53 am

Ok, everyone. Brace yourselves. Both Lit Hub and The Millions have put out their most anticipated books of 2023 -- first half.

tammikuu 13, 7:29 am

>3 RidgewayGirl: i am humbled (i stopped after February)

tammikuu 13, 11:23 am

>3 RidgewayGirl: Thanks for posting these. Interesting, very tempting, but these days I like to 'discover' on my own, so to speak.

tammikuu 14, 12:07 am

I like this as a category: Relentlessness: A Syllabus (apologies if it's behind a paywall). That list would make a great, if harrowing, reading plan.

tammikuu 14, 12:10 pm

>6 lisapeet: I like it! Maybe someone could make a plan to read one once a month.

The Trojan Women is another relentless text. So is We Need to Talk About Kevin, arguably. Certainly Jude the Obscure. I am reading The Bostonians, which is full of relentlessly awful people, unhealthy relationships, and increasingly public embarassments. (Surprised Toibin, as a Henry James devotee, didn't include any of his works on the list.) The Family Fang is a black comedy with elements of relentlessness.

Fun theme to play with!

tammikuu 14, 7:02 pm

tammikuu 16, 12:42 pm

>3 RidgewayGirl: re: the Lithub list: I'm very excited about the Jamie Stewart, Izumi Suzuki, and Annie Ernaux triad. Palo Alto is a runner-up.

tammikuu 22, 6:06 am

Apparently Norman Lebrecht has worked out that Beethoven’s Furry Lisa never existed…

tammikuu 22, 9:53 am

>10 thorold: Until I went to the link and read the actual headline, I read that as saying that the musical piece never existed, and that was a very confusing few seconds :)

tammikuu 22, 10:41 am

tammikuu 22, 10:48 am

>12 thorold: Not your fault! I don't think that you were unclear at all. I just didn't have the background information to parse it correctly.

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 26, 8:45 pm

Viestin kirjoittaja on poistanut viestin.

tammikuu 26, 3:14 pm

>14 nohrt4me2: What was your area of focus?

tammikuu 26, 7:31 pm

I'm feeling extra thick, but I didn't get what's academia got to do with either ruining literary criticism or the demise of the English major. Regarding the former, the author mentions that Virginia Woolf already bemoaned the passing of the authoritarian arbiter of the past (type of Johnson, Arnold etc.), who trusted in their own taste. Does this mean literary criticism was ruined already back at the turn of the century?

As for the unemployability of the English major, what exactly is the link between their perceived lack of "marketable" skills and academic literary criticism? The only alternative to current academic lit crit mentioned are blogs and other venues where layman reviews abound. But if the academic critic can't find a job, the latter are largely unpaid, so... same outcome in the end (i.e. getting a degree in English is "useless").

tammikuu 27, 11:12 pm

There are interesting “Read your way through {place name} articles appearing in the New York TImees. Not travelogue but books set in tthe particular places.
For example this one about immmersing oneself in Dublin, by Tania French.

tammikuu 28, 11:02 am

>17 kjuliff: Ive been saving each of those on the off chance I can travel again. Really liking the Morocco one

Muokkaaja: tammikuu 28, 3:57 pm

>17 kjuliff: I went right to that article - started looking up books - thought ooh, that one looks good - and guess what? I bought it in November when the article was published. Well, it was a good reminder but my memory is crap.

tammikuu 28, 10:35 pm

>18 cindydavid4: But you can still immerse yourself in a destination by reading a piece of fiction set there. I found a really good novel through that series - Barcelona’s - Barcelona Dreaming. It’s three short stories set in that city. These stories transport you there.

tammikuu 28, 10:46 pm

>20 kjuliff: Oh yes, I have long traveled vicariously via many travel narratives jan morris, paul theroux,pico Iyer, freya stark,bruce chatwin. patrick lee fermor etc. and I expect I will continue to do so

That book looks good, Ill take a look at it, thanks

tammikuu 29, 10:05 am

sigh, which book am I dropping off to be able to take that one in?

tammikuu 30, 11:19 am

In this weekends NYT Book Review is an essay entitled "Closing the Book on Promises to Myself: This years resolution is no more worrying about all of the volumes Ill never read" Is fun, thought prevoking and comforting

" far from scary,there is comfort in knowing that as long as we live and as much as we read, we will never ever run out of books No hoarding required"

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 8:06 am

An article on the effect of a one word mis-translation in a famous first line.
The famous first line of Camus’ L'Etranger was “My mother died today.” It was changed back to the original French by 1982. Mother is far too formal. Could a one word change by the translator have changed how American readers saw the son, the MC, Meursault for over 40 years?

Lost in Translation: What the First Line of “The Stranger” Should Be

helmikuu 4, 7:54 am

>25 kjuliff: I love thinking about translations. Thanks for this one. Especially relevant to me because I am planning to read the book later this year.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 8:07 am

>26 labfs39: it’s an excellent book. After yiou’ve read it, try The Meursault Investigation which is the story from the Arab perspective. From your library I’m sure you’ll like that too, though it’s not the masterpiece of Camus’ L'Etranger

helmikuu 4, 8:17 am

>27 kjuliff: Great suggestion. Onto the list it goes.

helmikuu 4, 4:47 pm

In late December, Hanif Kureishi collapsed suddenly, and the twisted fall damaged his spinal cord so he is unable to move his arms or legs. He has been dictating dispatches to his family which are posted on Twitter and Substack. (I learned of this yesterday from a friend who was in in a bicycle accident several months ago and after multiple surgeries still has significant life-altering disabilities.)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 4, 11:57 pm

From The Irish Times Feb 4 2023 - “An attempt to stage Waiting for Godot in the Netherlands took on a Beckettian turn when the venue cancelled the performances because the Irish director had auditioned only men for the all-male cast of characters.”
Irish director’s all-male Beckett play cancelled as only men could audition

helmikuu 5, 9:11 am

>30 qebo: What an awful thing: to fall out of a chair and break your neck essentially. I hope he can make at least a partial recovery.

>31 kjuliff: Very interesting. What is other's take on this? I think it's too bad that a small production, that overall featured a very diversely gendered cast has to take such a hit. They just didn't want to be sued. What a complicated situation.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 5, 12:36 pm

>32 labfs39: I think it’s dreadful. Waiting for Godot is about men and the author left explicit instructions. But even had he not, I see nothing wrong with auditioning men for a male part.
What will they complain about next? Hamlet?

helmikuu 5, 1:48 pm

>33 kjuliff:

I would vehemently disagree that "Waiting for Godot" is a play "about men". Masculinity as such doesn't enter into it. Beckett's ban on women speaks to his misogyny and inability to see women as universal identifiers, as "Everyman". It's no more profound nor just than the once current notions of other things women could or couldn't do.

As for Hamlet... going backward from today's non-controversial castings of dozens of women (Maxine Peake, Fiona Shaw...), Frances de la Tour, Asta Nielsen, Sarah Bernhardt..

By 1775 the young Sarah Siddons was winning critical praise for her portrayal of Hamlet in the provinces; she continued to play the role until she was 47 years old. Elizabeth Powell became the first woman to play Hamlet in London at the Drury Lane in 1796. And in 1820 Sarah Bartley became the first female Hamlet in America at the Park Theater in New York.

>32 labfs39:

No one should be surprised that someone of Beckett's vintage was a raging misogynist, although, seriously, #NotAllMen even then. In any case, it's only a matter of time when his estate will catch up with the present and contemporary audiences.

This is two years old but still informative:

And as for the whole evolution of theory/practice of theatre performance regarding gender, race etc., one would hardly know where to start, so much is out there.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 12:03 am

My error. I should not of written that Waiting for Godot is a play about men. It speaks to 20th century western culture and Becket stipulated that men should play the parts. I believe it is best that the play represents its vintage, and the writer’s request should be honored.

Of course any piece of art is open to interpretation. But directors and actors are artists too, and should not be told what they can perform by bureaucrats or administrators.

Women play men’s roles and men women’s, but that is, this century, for artistic reasons. Shakespeare’ s female characters were played by men or boys because women were not allowed to act in plays on stage. Nowadays women especially play roles written for the opposite sex for artistic reasons, such as Cate Blanchett as Jude Quinn in “I’m Not There”. But given Becket’s vintage alone it’s in the interests of artistic integrity that the roles in Waiting be played by men. Or by women pretending to be men back in 1948.

I believe an writer’s work should be respected, whatever the moral values at the time of writing.

My previous post was not well-written as it was written in haste, without due thought. I apologize. It would be wrong of me to edit it. I was trying to say I don’t think we should rewrite literature to conform to current standards. A more obvious and clearer Shakespearean example would be a director being told to redact Lady Macbeth’s “Unsex me now”. My Hamlet example was not fleshed out. Hamlet should be played as a troubled prince, however feminine, and not as a princess. It’s all in the Times article you referenced.

I take the points given both articles you posted, both the Hamlet (NY Times) and Guardian (Waiting for Godot), but neither of these support non-artists telling artists what they are allowed to do. The Times ’ Why Not a Woman” says it all. I have no problem with interpretations - indeed they are essential - but I can’t condone artists being restricted by administrators or politicians.

Hopefully I have clarified my position.

helmikuu 5, 5:00 pm

There have been a lot of plays with gender roles flip-flopped or cast without regard to gender. They're interesting sometimes.

The U of Groningen can cancel whatever it wants, of course.

But it strikes me as overly dogmatic to some gender-fluid ideal to cancel a production because the director's vision was to do the play by casting men in the role of male characters.

helmikuu 5, 8:39 pm

>35 kjuliff:

No need to apologise for sincerely held opinions. I do wonder, though, have you seen or read this play? Beckett's theatre is famously "anonymous", existentialist, addressing timeless questions in a particularly "unmoored" fashion, i.e. without mention or regard for anything we would hold as determining the characters in time and space. Here, for example, Vladimir and Estragon are two people with the appearance of hobos, and that's it--we know nothing about who they are, where they come from, what they do or what they "are like", except for whatever we decide from what we observe of them for the duration.

This is all deliberate and exactly what Beckett wanted, which is not to over-determine these characters in any way that would distract from the core question. He didn't want to specify them, we aren't supposed to know their age, provenance, biographies etc. They are simply avatars of humanity, lost in space, waiting for... (here enter any number of possibilities).

And that's the reason he refused to let women play these roles--because to him, women were a "special case" of human and never THE human. Just as in white-dominant cultures non-white people are extra-racialised (but whites are not), so women are "extra-gendered", while men are not. This is of course not unique to Beckett but was and is an actively encouraged view promoted (until quite recently) by practically everybody--tradition, religion, law etc. However, it's evident that the "white male default" has been increasingly losing its status as "the universal". No one type of human is less universal than any other.

I believe it is best that the play represents its vintage, and the writer’s request should be honored.

Addressing the second part first--there's the matter of copyright and also opinion. Beckett is dead, one could argue that no one can know what anyone might think decades or centuries after their death, the estate managers might change their minds even now, and in any case at some point the work is out of copyright (I'm not sure whether that affects performing rights, but nothing is forever).

The first part of the sentence I'm not sure I understand. If works belonged only to the time they were first produced we'd have no classics of any sort, no classic theatre or music (which, speaking of performance, is also constantly renewed in practice and approach). Would Shakespeare be dismayed or glad to see his theatre still not just alive but in so many ways still primary? Obviously not only did Sarah Siddons' Hamlet back in the 18th century fail to kill it, neither did the umpteen experiments, modernisations, adaptations etc. in the 20th century alone. On the contrary--all of that helps to keep it relevant.

Anything that has real cultural value will keep getting adapted to the ever-changing society. Someone liked Chaucer well enough to modernise him and keep him read when people lost Chaucer's English. We understand why Shakespeare had boys playing female characters; that belongs to the history of performance in a certain period with a certain view of women. We don't have the same view of women today and we are developing different performance practices.

Sorry that this is so long.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 12:21 am

>37 LolaWalser: I have seen the play of course. My father directed and acted in it and I grew up seeing different versions. And yes they were misogynistic times. I see Waiting for Godot in the context of mid 20th century European existentialism. Men at that time did see women as secondary. Hence de Beauvoir was overlooked and Sartre was revered.

I don’t understand why you would think that Waiting for Godot was not representative of its times. That doesn’t mean it can’t be reinterpreted or staged differently, or that it doesn’t represent more than its own times. My objection was that the director was unable to produce the play at all.

That the play has the stamp of a distinctive time and culture upon is not to say it will not be important or remembered in the future. We remember many pieces of art produced by misogynists. Let us remember and change our attitude and behavior and not the work of art. We should shine the light on de Beauvoir instead of trying to bury Sartre.

If the reason behind putting women in the roles is because Becket was a misogynist I cannot agree. And that appears to be the case. It was a committee and not an actor or director that made the “no men”ruling.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 5, 11:56 pm

From The Guardian, February 4, 2023 Critic John Self interviews Kevin Jared Hosein -
The teacher and writer on a golden age for Caribbean writers, editing in bed, and his encounter with VS Naipaul

It was a bizarre situation where he came back to Trinidad and nobody knew why because he talked really negatively about the island. He wanted attendees to buy new editions of his books, but I somehow managed to get my old edition of A House for Mr Biswas signed. He looked really angry when he realised it wasn’t the new one.

I had a similar experience. A House for Mr Biswas was for years my favorite novel and I was so excited to attend a reading of The Masque of Africa in NYC. I did buy the new book, and mentioned that A House for Mr Biswas was my favorite novel. In King Charles’ irritable style he hastily autographed the book without so much of a glance.

Kevin Jared Hosein appears much more amiable and I’m hoping that this golden age for Carribean writers has produced a new one.

helmikuu 5, 11:35 pm

Interesting; we just saw a trailer for the live action Little Mermaid. The main character is black. I was shocked when my husband said it shouldnt be so, that actors needed to be the same as the original characters. I cant understand how this intelligent kind man can think this, and I just dont know what to say to him In Shakespears time women were all played by men. I dont get how gender or race comes into these choices. Shouldnt this be left to the director, how she interprets the characters and the actors that choose those roles? Ill grant you it is difficult if the playwright is still alive; there should be negotions for this. But to just outright say the chraacter must be the original character or race, or not be so damages the gains made in creativity over the years.

Oh btw, my fav musical Hamilton has a claus in its contract that any venue (HS, College, community) must choose actors of color for the major roles. I understand this, since the whole idea is to tell the tale of POC on stage. But it still bothers me.

helmikuu 5, 11:42 pm

Heads up readers! the NYT book review just reviewed victory city and I am chomping at the bit to read it. This issue also focuses on Jamacia and Kingston. Of the list of books for traveling they include, paq by Kerry Young is one Id like to read. Check out the issure.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 10:19 am

Heads up readers! the NYT book review just reviewed victory city and I am chomping at the bit to read it. This issue also focuses on Jamacia and Kingston. Of the list of books for traveling they include, pao by Kerry Young is one Id like to read. And a childrens book eric loves animals (just like you) a tribte to the late illustrators art. Check out the issure.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 4:12 pm

>40 cindydavid4: Not agreeing or disagreeing with your husband, but my point was that artists should not be told what to do by committees. In the case of Waiting for Godot a university committee told the artistic director he had to have auditioned women.

helmikuu 5, 11:51 pm

Ah did not realize that. Yes it should be the director who makes that choice.

helmikuu 6, 12:58 pm

Very interesting discussion about Godot.

helmikuu 6, 2:11 pm

>40 cindydavid4: Once a writer publishes a work, be it screenplay, play, novel or short story, they are no longer the sole owner of that work. They don't have a say on how someone else interprets it, whether on stage, screen, review or in their own imagination. The work stands on its own.

And a film or play that takes the original work and plays with it, transforms it or stands it on its head is far more interesting than an overly faithful reproduction.

helmikuu 6, 2:34 pm

>46 RidgewayGirl: Absolutely. But do you think a director who wants to produce the original should be prohibited?

helmikuu 6, 2:45 pm

>47 labfs39:

Nobody ever suggested anything of the sort, can we please not add to this attempt to whip up the anti-woke frenzy?

The concrete example at hand arose because of the clash with a university's inclusivity policy. Apparently whoever was in charge of okaying the production failed to notice that they'd be running afoul of the estate if they cast women. But reducing the auditions to men OTOH ran afoul of the university's policy. Result, play wouldn't be staged.

Nobody was "prohibited" (and besides, what's with the talk about directors as if they were gods acting on personal whimsy?), nobody "buried" either Beckett or Sartre, and this was not done to "punish" misogynists.

Beckett was a dick and his estate continues to be dickish, but, big deal.

helmikuu 6, 3:15 pm

>46 RidgewayGirl: And a film or play that takes the original work and plays with it, transforms it or stands it on its head is far more interesting than an overly faithful reproduction.

It sometimes is. Do you think that this works better with well-known works? For example, do you appreciate Glenda Jackson as Lear more when you've seen productions with men in the title role?

It seems to me that seeing lots of versions of a work with lots of different casting choices is enriching. Rules limiting or mandating certain choices, wherever they come from, are stifling.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 4:08 pm

>48 LolaWalser: I don’t think anyone is trying “to whip up the anti-woke frenzy?” Comments like this imply a motive behind a person’s position. Best to engage in what members actually posted and what the article actually reported, rather than jump to conclusions on their opinions on wokeness.

I’m bowing out of what could have been an interesting discussion. I’m scared of being misinterpreted and feel like I’m walking on egg-shells, I’m sorry to have started this topic now.

helmikuu 6, 4:19 pm

thats too bad, Im interested in what you say; you bring up a difficlt topic that does need to be worked through, Not sure of the answer, but we have opened minds and hearts and accept something new that is m ade from old

helmikuu 6, 4:28 pm

>50 kjuliff: I am sorry you are bowing out.

FWIW, there is a blocking feature that allows you to hide comments from individuals you find typically offer more heat than light. It allows you to see that the blocked person has made a comment, but the comment itself will be hidden. So you can go back and read it (or not) when you want.

helmikuu 6, 5:19 pm

>52 nohrt4me2: Thanks for the info. I don’t like blocking people, especially when the person has similar tastes in books to my own. Also once a discussion gets turned in a direction when I believe I’ve been misinterpreted I tend to get annoyed. I posted an article I found interesting but people were answering what they took as my opinion and possibly weren’t reading the article. That’s inevitable I suppose.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 6, 5:31 pm

>46 RidgewayGirl: That's not always the case, especially with dramatic works. The copyright holder can have a lot to say about how a work may and may not be interpreted. Edward Albee (to pick just one example) famously refused to allow all-male productions of Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?, and his estate, which now controls those rights, continues to do so. (The actor/playwright Michael Kearns responded to that ban by writing a play called Who's Afraid of Edward Albee?, which takes place in the dressing room of four male actors as they prepare for their unauthorized all-male performance of Woolf.)

To perform a play or musical at all while it's still under copyright requires a license, and that license may very well include restrictions on certain casting and interpretive decisions; there was a recent report that Hamilton will be available for licensing for high school productions soon, and those productions will be required, to the extent allowed by the school's student body, to cast the principal roles with actors of color.

helmikuu 6, 5:46 pm

>48 LolaWalser: I want to dial things back a bit. I think new interpretations are interesting and can be fun, informative, and refreshing. I wasn't aware that a copyright license could include restrictions such as you describe >54 KeithChaffee:. Interesting. My question to Kay was whether the decision in the original article to prohibit the director from producing a play as originally intended (and still legally required) in the interest of our new sensibilities was a good thing. My person opinion is that there is room for both all-male casts of Godot and new interpretations and/or new plays inspired by Godot. More theatre is good. I thought it was an interesting article, and I learned from it. Thank you, Kathleen for sharing it. And now I'll return to my book. :-)

helmikuu 6, 6:25 pm

>49 nohrt4me2: I just find the age, gender, ethnicity of an actor to be less important than their ability to bring that role to life. And mixing up the expected genders, etc, of a character can bring new insight and interest to a play. Of course, there will always be room for the traditionally-staged plays -- Shakespeare with all the roles played by white actors of the appropriate gender, wearing the same moth-eaten historical costumes, but hopefully those won't be the ones high school students and young people are dragged to -- let them see the old plays as fresh and exciting.

>54 KeithChaffee: Is there a difference when some aspect of casting is integral to the work? Probably. Hamilton played by white guys would lose a lot, but would it lose anything being played by women of color? It might be fun to find out. Would, say, a play like Fun House or The Vagina Monologues be any good if played with casts of cis-gendered men?

Given that the original post was more about a director breaking the rules for the venue in which he hoped to stage his version of WfG, I think we've found a more interesting discussion than the original -- but thank you, Kathleen, for raising it.

helmikuu 6, 7:53 pm

>56 RidgewayGirl: I'm trying to imagine how you could do The Vagina Monologues with a male cast in a way that wouldn't be inherently mocking the play, which is (among other things) specifically about giving voice to women's stories that had generally been ignored previously. There have been all-trans productions of that show, and Ensler wrote a new monologue for the first such production.

As for Hamilton with women, Miranda's already making one large statement in casting all the roles with POC; piling another statement on top of that by also doing genderblind casting might, I fear, muddy the waters a bit. But there was a recent limited-run Broadway revival of 1776 -- the last big hit musical based on the Revolutionary War era -- that was cast entirely with female, trans, and nonbinary actors.

In general, I'm with you in approving of nontraditional casting, but I also believe in the author's right to control productions of their work while it's still under copyright. If a particular author doesn't want to see nontraditional productions of a show, I might disagree with those wishes, but I respect their right to control how their work is performed.

And authors sometimes change their minds. Stephen Sondheim was often approached about the idea of doing Company with a female Bobby, and repeatedly rejected it; after more than 40 years, he finally approved such a production, and one of his final public appearances was at the Broadway premiere of that version.

helmikuu 7, 11:25 am

>57 KeithChaffee: Thanks for the info. When I looked at the original article, I did not realize the story continued below the massive number of ads, so I originally missed the bit about Beckett's estate suing groups that wanted to do alternative casting.

Re "Who's Afraid etc" by Albee: Doing that with an all-male cast might run you into a similar conundrum as "The Vagina Monologues" unless you did significant dancing around George and Martha's "son," and Honey's pregnancy that went "poof."

Copyright law in the U.S. is pretty contentious generally. Every decade or two there is always some flap about Mickey Mouse with Disney suing the pants off somebody and reestablishing its copyright for the next five thousand years.

helmikuu 7, 1:40 pm

>55 labfs39:

No problem--consider the conflict that would arise if Beckett's ban had targeted black actors, or Jews, or gays. That's the situation that was created for the university (and these days probably for many theatres, as they adopt non-discriminatory policies.

Which brings me to another point--people have been posting about "traditional" and "nontraditional" casting etc., as if these meant some simple, "equal weight" binary. Like, shall we have tutus or overalls in Swan Lake--different yet somehow the same.

That's not the case when we are talking about banning people from doing a job based on gender, race, sexuality... then, "tradition" means specific ugly prejudices, just as it often does in other contexts.

Banning women as Beckett did, or banning men as Albee did (with evident expectation that this will be read as a sort of response) aren't equivalent acts of exclusion.

>57 KeithChaffee:

If a particular author doesn't want to see nontraditional productions of a show, I might disagree with those wishes, but I respect their right to control how their work is performed.

Depending on what "traditional" here means, I'd agree... but not infinitely. Not only does it make no sense to pretend anyone can exert control from beyond the grave, we patently already don't do that in gazillion cases.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 2:23 pm

>58 nohrt4me2:
Doing that with an all-male cast might run you into a similar conundrum as "The Vagina Monologues" unless you did significant dancing around George and Martha's "son," and Honey's pregnancy that went "poof."

Perhaps, but since the son is imaginary/metaphorical anyway, I don't know why a male/male couple couldn't play the same weird mind games with an imaginary kid.

>59 LolaWalser: I'm not familiar enough with Beckett's restrictions on Godot to know whether it's a complete ban on female actors, or simply a ban on portraying the characters as female. I wonder what the response would be to a production that cast drag kings as Vladimir and Estragon?

helmikuu 7, 2:45 pm

>60 KeithChaffee:

Interesting suggestion! I don't know the letter of the ban, but based on the single comment Beckett is known to have made about this ("women don't have prostates"), I'd assume he assumed gender to be stable and biologically unambiguous: so, no one with lady parts allowed.

Which then prompts the question, what about drag queens and trans women? And did anyone put Estragon and Vladimir into skirts yet? :)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 5:53 pm

>61 LolaWalser: Or change Esragon’s name to Estrogen ;-)

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 5:25 pm

Here are a list of the 176 children's books banned in one county in Florida. Among them are books about Hank Aaron, Roberto Clemente and Rosa Parks. They were removed from shelves ten months ago "for review," but there is no indication that any assessment is being done.

helmikuu 7, 5:35 pm

Maybe it was all a strange delayed retribution. This article is from 1998.

helmikuu 7, 7:17 pm

>63 RidgewayGirl: They probably made Ron DeSantis feel bad about being white ...

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 7, 7:33 pm

>62 kjuliff: I did think about that

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 9, 7:07 am

>63 RidgewayGirl: So infuriating. They didn't even focus on books that they are supposedly saving kids from (LGBQT, critical race theory), but the entire Essential Voices collections, which includes books about women, any nonwhite ethnicity, and any religion other than Christianity. I feel so sorry for the teachers too. How difficult to try and teach in such a climate. With no books.

Edited to fix link to post

helmikuu 8, 3:54 pm

>62 kjuliff:

"Careful now!.. & Down With This Sort Of Thing!" :)

>63 RidgewayGirl:

Florida being Florida.

>64 dchaikin:

Well that answers the question of drag kings then.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 8, 4:21 pm

>67 labfs39: When I was growing up in Australia there was book censorship at a federal level. Lady Chatterley's Lover by D. H. Lawrence was banned. Also a book called something like “Fun Things to do in Bed” for sick children.

Growing up in that culture lead me to want to leave which I did later when I’d completed university and saved enough money for a one-way trip. So many prominent Australians left and many never returned, Clive James, Germaine Greer, Barry Humphries and Robert Hughe George Johnson, Charmian Clift. to name just a few.

Other aspects of Australian life lead to the diaspora, but censorship was a big factor and it just shows the adverse effect it has upon a society when access to books are controlled by authorities with that power.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 10, 6:34 pm

There are reasons to swipe both left and right on this new technology. It is murky and messy, full of light and dark. In other words, a perfect match for literature.
When the Novel Swiped Right
February !0 2023, New York Times
I’ve yet to read a novel that uses dating app technology in its plot, but an increasing number use smart-phones - burners especially - as integral parts of their storyline. I didn’t even know what a “burner” was until I read Seasonal Work: Stories. Then came across it in Adėle, Leïla Slimani. New communication technology outside of sci-fi will soon be commonplace.

helmikuu 10, 6:43 pm

>19 dianeham: I do that a lot. I’ll read about a book and think it sounds like something I’d like, and only after some research , reading reviews and posts, do I realise I read it only a few months ago.

Muokkaaja: helmikuu 21, 5:41 pm

Who Was Pablo Neruda and Why Is His Death a Mystery?

After a decade-long investigation, a team of forensic experts issued their final report on the exhumed remains of the acclaimed Chilean poet. Here’s why there are so many questions around his death. From New York Times - Feb 15/23

maaliskuu 7, 3:05 pm

Another book list, which is definitely not something I need, but I'm going to look at anyway. The Women's Prize for Fiction longlist features a lot of debut novels, which is interesting.

maaliskuu 7, 3:27 pm

>73 RidgewayGirl: I always seem to find a few gems on this list! The only one I've read is Demon Copperhead, which was not my favorite, but I know a lot of people loved it. I own Trespasses thanks to you, Kay, and will hopefully read it soon. Stone Blind was already on my wishlist because I read one of her earlier Greek myth retellings and liked it.

Of the ones I hadn't heard of, I'm most interested in
Black Butterflies by Priscilla Morris (no touchstone yet that I see)
Cursed Bread
The Bandit Queens

maaliskuu 10, 4:59 am

Useat käyttäjät ovat merkinneet tämän viestin asiattomaksi eikä sitä enää näytetä. (näytä)
>1 RidgewayGirl: I hope you find this short article interesting in my new newsletter, titled Education for Women. Here's the link:
Thank you.

maaliskuu 16, 8:25 am

UnitedHealthcare Tried to Deny Coverage to a Chronically Ill Patient. He Fought Back, Exposing the Insurer’s Inner Workings.

This is a long one, and infuriating (albeit not surprising), but well worth the read.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 9, 4:37 am

The Observer has a new “top ten” of LGBQT+ classics, chosen by queer writers. Only about half the chosen books are what I would class as “the usual suspects”.

I liked Mark Ravenhill’s explanation of why queer books were so important to people of (his and my) generation:
Films and plays were watched with an audience: the possibility of giving yourself away with a response that was too great or too contained was terrifying. And the television – placed in the living room, watched with the family – more frightening still. A book – concealed in the bottom of a bag, hidden underneath the mattress – was the only place to find companionship: with the author, the characters. But also with another reader, who I imagined I might one day meet. And surely one day all we queers would meet: there couldn’t – could there? – be more than a few hundred of us in all the world. Any book that whispered of queer lives was greedily consumed.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 9, 7:04 am

>77 thorold: Thank you, this looks like a great ressource!

ETA: wow, so many book bullets in there. I need to go back to the beginning and start taking notes.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 9, 11:27 am

>78 FlorenceArt: It’s already added a chunk to my April book-bill…

huhtikuu 12, 6:50 pm

The Los Angeles Times offers "the ultimate L.A. bookshelf," essential works in eight categories: nonfiction, fiction, speculative fiction, poetry, mystery & crime, short stories, essays and life stories.

huhtikuu 17, 6:20 pm

>81 FlorenceArt: Fascinating. I was aware of the CCP's crackdown on K-Pop boy bands as being too homosexual or androgynous, but wasn't aware of how popular BL/danmei was in China or why.

Muokkaaja: huhtikuu 17, 10:26 pm

>82 labfs39: Although it doesn’t address your question entirely the following article throws some light on this area in Japan and Chinese literature. Fascinating stuff.

huhtikuu 18, 6:55 am

>83 kjuliff: Thanks, I downloaded it.

huhtikuu 18, 9:09 pm

I hadn’t heard of these “genres” before. Very interesting.

huhtikuu 18, 9:16 pm

>83 kjuliff: Thanks, that was interesting.

huhtikuu 20, 4:41 pm

>81 FlorenceArt:, >83 kjuliff: Thanks for posting these links.

toukokuu 9, 11:31 am

>88 dianeham: thanks! Interesting list.

toukokuu 10, 10:01 pm

What's with the split fiction prize? Didn't the committee notice that everyone hated the Booker judges for doing that back in 2019?

toukokuu 13, 8:24 am

Quite nice to hear about social media being used for good!

toukokuu 16, 9:27 pm

Among the four cover models for this year's Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue: 81-year-old Martha Stewart.

toukokuu 16, 9:30 pm

well, i guess thats progress?

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 16, 9:42 pm

“If I’m feeling good enough physically and mentally to do such a thing, I’m up for it.” good for her. but why do we need swimsuit edition in the first place.Why are they telling women they should look younger?

"While I appreciate that it’s her life, and her right to do as she wishes with her body and money, at the same time I wish in general that the pressure on women to look younger than our age would lessen.
I most admire women who step away from the appearance pressure, but keep on following their passions". comment from the artlcle


toukokuu 17, 2:04 pm

>94 cindydavid4: I agree. Pretending to be other than oneself is a bit sick. Older women can look sophisticated, motherly, gracious, etc etc. But they can’t look years younger than their age and be taken seriously.

toukokuu 17, 3:10 pm

>95 kjuliff: There certainly is a double standard here. I'm not a fan of the swimsuit issue, but I do like how willing they are to include people outside of the narrow parameters of current measures of what is beautiful. All bodies are beautiful because they contain human beings, aren't they?

toukokuu 17, 7:54 pm

>96 RidgewayGirl: depends on your definition of beauty. Personally I’ve seen some very ugly people in my life. But we are all free to have preferences in what we perceive as beautiful.

toukokuu 18, 9:22 am

Tricky conversation, no? An 81-yr-old woman pulling off what only a select few of prime-age models can pull off. Strictly from the SI point of view it’s impressive that the magazine went there and that she pulled it off. From a American puritan/open Jekyll/hyde society perspective, it causes a lot of internal conflict, even if you think you’re objective and thoughtful. (We look for simplicity in extremes, but it really isn’t simple for most people. And it’s good here to remind myself that I’m oversimplifying in this comment, and not intentionally.) And then there’s the aspect of: I wish I could be a model at 81, or at my current age. I mean, not be a model, be able to be one. Which brings a sad admiration. Which is countered naturally with a: who cares what anyone looks like, like we have any control over that. Like it’s an accomplishment, just having a look? Let’s not be so shallow ! - and wouldn’t it be nice to leave it at that sentiment?

A lot of potential for uncomfortable conversations that are far from books. But I appreciate the bold comments above.

toukokuu 24, 2:16 pm

The title gives me the hives, but it's an interesting article indeed, discussing both current books about and older books from the GDR:

From rampaging teens to female assassins: why has East German culture become so cool?

Work that was dismissed as irrelevant – as it had passed the censorship threshold of a dictatorial regime – is now being rediscovered

Imagine if one applied such criteria to the literature of genocidal enslavers and imperialist colonialists from Europe and the US.

Muokkaaja: toukokuu 31, 11:46 am

>99 LolaWalser: Thanks for drawing attention to this interesting article. It interested me on a personal level as my second husband grew up in the. US occupied area of West Germany but traveled a lot to the GDR and when I visited Germany with him in 2004 I was amazed that the physical difference and many attitudes remained unchanged. Also in his negative memories of growing up in an occupied country.

I was also pleased to see that Jenny Erpenbeck has written a new novel Kairos and hope it will come out in audio soon.

As to the article itself, I think hopefully more words from the GDR see the light of day. Certainly more works from Soviet are appearing though I’m unsure of when they were actually written. Thinking of Four Soldiers.

A question as to your last sentence. Are you referring to the literature written in former colonies, or about them?

toukokuu 31, 3:01 pm

>100 kjuliff:

Are you referring to the literature written in former colonies, or about them?

I wrote: "Imagine if one applied such criteria to the literature of genocidal enslavers and imperialist colonialists from Europe and the US."

toukokuu 31, 3:09 pm

>101 ELiz_M: I'm struck by Straight's stated desire to find unity, to avoid reducing the country to red states and blue states, and how sharply that contrasts with her painfully reductive and cliched descriptions of each of her eleven American regions.

toukokuu 31, 4:43 pm

>102 LolaWalser: Thank you. I am enlightened

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 1, 2:06 pm

>103 KeithChaffee: But it is still fun to scroll and zoom on the map to see which books are set in which locations (a favorite of mine In the Lake of the Woods in northern MN for example).

kesäkuu 2, 4:08 pm

With Hannah Gadsby’s ‘It’s Pablo-matic,’ the Joke’s on the Brooklyn Museum

kesäkuu 3, 2:03 pm

>107 kjuliff:

Sounds like a great little exhibition that does what it intended to do--send misogynistic pricks into a tizzy.

kesäkuu 5, 7:18 am

>11 Julie_in_the_Library: Thank you for this Liz, I enjoyed browsing the sections and thinking about which books I would pick. For those interested in doing so in a more formal way, check out the Fifty States Challenge.

kesäkuu 14, 2:12 pm

“Ian McEwan at 75: which is his greatest work? We rank every novel” - John Self

kesäkuu 14, 11:23 pm

A really nice, and short, article on Cormac McCarthy and how he fits with some of those other special authors born in the 1930’s - Toni Morrison, Joan Didion, John Updike, Philip Roth, JCO…etc. There is a paywall, but the nyt offers limited free access if you sign up.

kesäkuu 23, 5:03 pm

>112 FlorenceArt: Yes. Utterly. Imagine using those resources used to save a few billionaires on helping those desperate refugees. But it's easier to pay attention to a quixotic attempt at a dramatic rescue than it is to maintain interest in an endless ongoing tragedy.

kesäkuu 23, 11:55 pm

esp when the are priveleged billionares

Muokkaaja: kesäkuu 27, 3:17 pm

Looks like this might be of interest to a few people here. I'm seriously considering it.

kesäkuu 28, 6:49 am

That does look interesting! If you do take it please report back.

kesäkuu 28, 11:48 am

>116 wandering_star: I have signed up, so I will let you know.

kesäkuu 30, 7:18 pm

>116 wandering_star: I would be interested but am not up to it. I wonder about reviewers and only respect a few, I find many professional reviewers spend most of the review outlining the characters and the story line, and in such cases I scroll down to the last couple of paragraphs to discover what they actually think of the book.

heinäkuu 3, 1:56 pm

At The New York Times, Laurel Schwulst follows up on the century-old "kiki/bouba" study, which suggests that we assign some sort of meaning even to nonsense words.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 3, 6:08 pm

there were several bits about tranlating in those last few pages. Didnt get to finish it all. but need to. also a list of new in translation books cominng out

Edited after reading it I realize thats not what he was saying. Let me think on this (tho I agree we should give nonesense words meaning, but who would decide the meaning .?)

heinäkuu 5, 1:52 pm

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 5, 6:24 pm

>121 RidgewayGirl: re city-without-walls, you had me at Game of Thrones! ok Im in

Oh and I saw a review for the postcard elsewhere and am wanting to read that too. Need to clone myself somehow

heinäkuu 6, 2:03 am

>121 RidgewayGirl: Wow, that’s quite a list, thank you!

heinäkuu 7, 10:50 am

>122 cindydavid4: Need to clone myself somehow Exactly! Several on this list that I would like to read.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 2:42 am

The oldest book in the world?
Ptahhatp's proverbs

With a very interesting digression at the end about Plato's views on the written transmission of knowledge.

SOCRATES: He would be a very simple person, and quite a stranger to the oracles of Thamus or Ammon, who should leave in writing or receive in writing any art under the idea that the written word would be intelligible or certain; or who deemed that writing was at all better than knowledge and recollection of the same matters.

Muokkaaja: heinäkuu 8, 9:46 am

"And in this instance, you who are the father of letters, from a paternal love of your own children have been led to attribute to them a quality which they cannot have; for this discovery of yours will create forgetfulness in the learners' souls, because they will not use their memories; they will trust to the external written characters and not remember of themselves. The specific which you have discovered is an aid not to memory, but to reminiscence, and you give your disciples not truth, but only the semblance of truth; they will be hearers of many things and will have learned nothing; they will appear to be omniscient and will generally know nothing; they will be tiresome company, having the show of wisdom without the reality."

from the above article; this is fascinating and again nothing is new under the sun: writing was considered dangerous to memory, and now the internet is considered 'dangerous 'to writing! All inventions create change that might not be welcomed. But imagine if we did not have writing. would we have become a people with such memory that they forget nothing said or done? Stories would stay oral, but at what a lost for the written word

heinäkuu 8, 9:59 am

>126 cindydavid4: We would certainly have forgotten all about Socrates, Plato, Homer, and so many others.

heinäkuu 8, 11:05 am

heh, no kidding!

heinäkuu 10, 8:47 am

>125 FlorenceArt: cool find. Thanks for sharing.

heinäkuu 12, 9:18 am

Tämä käyttäjä on poistettu roskaamisen vuoksi.

heinäkuu 22, 12:46 am

Your TBR is a river, not a mountain?

heinäkuu 22, 3:15 am

>131 wandering_star: Excellent advice.

heinäkuu 22, 5:31 pm

>131 wandering_star: That's a wonderful article.

heinäkuu 22, 9:36 pm

>131 wandering_star: My river long ago became an ocean...

heinäkuu 23, 4:03 am

>134 WelshBookworm: as long as it's not lapping at the doorway of your house!!

heinäkuu 24, 7:44 am

>131 wandering_star: I love this message! Although I think I could use a better filter too. My TBR may be comprised all of books I would enjoy, but not right at this minute. I need a way to define parameters for each particular mood and reading state of mind to more accurately pluck from the river.

heinäkuu 24, 8:35 am

>136 labfs39: You could start by tagging things like tone, genre(s), and length. Then, note those factors in books you're currently reading and have read recently, along with your state of mind when you read them and whether they worked for you in that state of mind. Once you've done this for enough books, you can look at your different states of mind and which tones, genres, and lengths (and any other qualities you can think of) worked for each one, and filter your tbr by tag.

It's a bit of work, so I'd start by doing a little bit each day/week/what-have-you rather than trying to do it all at once.

heinäkuu 24, 6:49 pm

>131 wandering_star: A good article, with excellent advice I will almost certainly never be able to follow.

And I did have to laugh ruefully at "you presumably don't feel overwhelmed by all the unread books in the British Library." Speak for yourself, buddy! Some part of my brain is in fact weirdly convinced it's my job to read every interesting book ever published. :)

heinäkuu 25, 2:03 pm

>138 bragan: We will absolutely get to them all, Betty! I have faith in us.

heinäkuu 25, 11:57 pm

>135 wandering_star: Touche! Not anymore, fortunately.

Muokkaaja: elokuu 4, 10:34 am

"There is a visceral feeling to good reading. Partly this is because reading is nearly solitary. At the beginning you are alone with just the characters. By the end, you are alone with just the author....

Reading is letting someone else model the world for you. This is an act of intimacy. When the author is morose, you become morose. When he is mirthful, eventually you may share in it. And after finishing a very good book one is driven a little mad, forced to return from a world that no one nearby has witnessed."

From The Map is Mostly Water
Simon Sarris
JUL 17, 2023

elokuu 4, 3:59 pm

>141 cindydavid4: I like that.

elokuu 5, 12:42 pm

A piece concerning the troubling recent changes to overdrive/libby and what that means going forward. If you check out ebooks from your library or are worried about libraries, this is not reassuring stuff.

elokuu 7, 11:06 am

>143 RidgewayGirl: Interesting, Kay. I was surprised the author didn't mention CloudLibrary. It seems to be gaining traction vis-à-vis Overdrive. I wonder what it's behind the scenes structure is.

elokuu 8, 4:19 pm

>143 RidgewayGirl: The same private equity firm just bought Simon & Schuster.

elokuu 9, 8:23 am

>145 dianeham: Well that's somewhat alarming

syyskuu 6, 4:47 pm

Associated Press, via NBC news site. 09/05/2023: Conservative book ban push fuels exodus from American Library Association.

"CHEYENNE, Wyo. — After parents in a rural and staunchly conservative Wyoming county joined nationwide pressure on librarians to pull books they considered harmful to youngsters, the local library board obliged with new policies making such books a higher priority for removal — and keeping out of collections.

"But that’s not all the library board has done.

"Campbell County also withdrew from the American Library Association, in what’s become a movement against the professional organization that has fought against book bans."

syyskuu 8, 9:57 am

>147 dianeham: I wonder if withdrawing from ALA was a board decision or a library decision.

syyskuu 8, 10:04 am

>148 labfs39: sounds like a board decision.

syyskuu 8, 6:31 pm

A fascinating article about some recent books on the DDR (German Democratic Republic), that also brings attention to the ongoing discrimination against East Germans:

Shades of Grey

... Reunification meant the rapid alignment of the GDR with the West’s market economy: regardless of their prosperity, the GDR’s 8,500 state-owned businesses were hastily privatised or closed down. Referred to as a “gold rush” (or “the greatest white-collar crime since the second world war”), 80% of these companies had been sold off cheaply to Westerners by 1994 and 14% to foreigners. Restitution laws also allowed Westerners to claim back property they had left behind in the East, leaving 2.2 million households at risk of dispossession. As the East German writer Ingo Schulz states: “There is no other region in Europe where the population owns so little of the land they live on, where so few can call property and businesses their own as in the East of Germany."(6)

Privatisation went hand in hand with de-industrialisation and unemployment. Twenty months after reunification, 75% of employees at state-run enterprises in the East had lost their jobs and 4,000 companies had been closed down, while rapid deindustrialisation left up to 50% of 25-45 year-olds unemployed in some regions. Childcare in the GDR was practically free and ran from 6am to 6pm — East Germany had the highest rate of female employment in the world — but by 1991, half of nursery places for children under three had been scrapped. Those with qualifications were asked to retrain; many teachers had to return to university. ...

These problems were not resolved as the 1990s wore on: by 2005, a fifth of all East Germans were unemployed7; permanent poverty (over a five-year period) is six times more common in the East than in the former West8; wages are still 22.5% lower.(9) ...

The dispossession of Easterners has fuelled the rise of the far-right in the region, yet German media (staffed overwhelmingly by Westerners) often sidesteps structural analysis in favour of negative stereotypes about “Ossis”. ...

syyskuu 8, 7:57 pm

Related to the ALA thing, my own library is facing a request to ban a book. Now we get requests to reconsider materials from time to time. Per library policy, the book selector justifies the purchase of the book to the director, citing professional reviews, etc. and almost always the book stays. I had such a request 10 years ago - I did the selecting for all the health and medical books and that included topics of sex. Somebody objected to a book on sex toys that I had ordered for the library. It was on lists of top-rated books related to sex, and I felt that it had its place in our collection. The book stayed.

This time a patron (rumor has it a member of Moms for Liberty) objected to Gender Queer: A Memoir. The appropriate steps were followed. The book was determined to be appropriate for the adult nonfiction collection. Then a sizable and very vocal group showed up at the August Library Board Meeting, demanding that the Board overrule the library's decision and ban the book. The Board will meet to discuss this next Tuesday. This is Minnesota, not Texas, Florida, or Louisiana. Not that it should be allowed in those states either to dictate what professional libraries have deemed appropriate. This is a conservative county, so I can't predict what will happen, but I am hoping there will be a sizable pushback against banning the book. I'll let you know...

syyskuu 8, 8:04 pm

this is madness; public libraries have been with us for over two centuries, providing a place to read, find books, learn english a place for children to learn to read. This banning books must be stopped somehow. I hope your board realizes that banning this book will just lead to more and more. I hope that libraries such as yours push back. doing otherwise will allow these people to think they won over us, and without libraries, we are just lost.

syyskuu 9, 7:34 am

>151 WelshBookworm: Do keep us posted, Laurel. It's worrisome, for sure.

syyskuu 9, 4:21 pm

>153 labfs39: I know! This is a PUBLIC library, not a school library (and even then, I don't think parents should be dictating what the school librarian is selecting!)

syyskuu 11, 8:39 pm

Good luck with the library board.

syyskuu 14, 12:01 am

Update: It was voted unaninmously in favor of not getting rid of the book. Gender Queer will remain in our library's collection. I am very relieved! (We do have some pretty conservative people on the Library Board, so I was uncertain about the outcome.)

syyskuu 14, 1:51 am

YAY!!!!!!!!!hope all of your board meetings go that well

syyskuu 14, 8:13 am

>156 WelshBookworm: Nice to hear of a case where sense prevails. Hooray!

syyskuu 14, 2:42 pm

>156 WelshBookworm: That is a relief.

syyskuu 14, 3:23 pm

>156 WelshBookworm: Great news, and the books sounds very interesting, I wishlisted it.

syyskuu 15, 1:31 pm

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 15, 1:34 pm

The Journey That Matters is a series of six short videos from Arwen Curry, director and producer of Worlds of Ursula K. Le Guin, a 2018 feature documentary about the author. The shorts are currently being released once a week at LitHub, What it was like about the illegal abortion she obtained in the 1950s is introduced with comments from her daughters.

syyskuu 20, 5:17 pm

WordFinderX has used data from Goodreads to put together a world map listing the highest-rated book by an author from each country. Not every country is included; some countries didn't have any books rated at Goodreads, and a minimum of 500 ratings were required for a book to be included. But there are more 130 countries included, so lots of possibilities for the internationally-minded reader.

Muokkaaja: syyskuu 20, 7:17 pm

Ooooooooo, another rabbit hole! this is really cool

never heard of words of radiance the supposed top pick in the USA but looks interesting

Interesting project but a few questions about this: are they counting all the reviews from readers in that country, or other readers about the country in question. Somethings nagging at me about it but cant place my finger on it

syyskuu 21, 8:31 am

>163 KeithChaffee: a very odd mixture