As we head toward the solstice, some people making the most of the shortened days.
I like reading all the comments so "like" "select all" ! :)
the nice part of substack is the sharing of comments from informed open minds and like-minded activists/farmers/workers/writers/skiers/retired volunteers/other! +
great ! thanks JF for the forum
Just now reading about the themes your describe in NSFW--of workplace sexual dynamics, mothers and daughters, idealism vs. ambition, and men and women working out a relationship--I thought of a movie I watched last evening, Imitation of Life (1959), that addresses the very same themes. I'm sure the themes are worked out in very different ways in the book, but I wouldn't be surprised if some fundamentals were familiar. In my opinion, the movie has stood the test of time very well.
The film is also exceptional in its treatment of passing (in the racial identity sense). It brought to my mind one of Philip Roth's greatest novels, The Human Stain. I wonder whether PR knew the movie, and if so, what he thought of it.
And speaking of Isabel Kaplan, I recommend this piece by her yesterday in The Guardian:
recommending a great read by Ursula Le Guin: sharing!
thanks for the book suggestions, JF! Here in the north country, it is winter reading season, cozy hours by the wood fire, book dreaming:
Ursula Le Guin,Words Are My Matter: Writings About Life and Books, 2000-2016 with a Journal of a Writer’s Week
“Hard times are coming, when we’ll be wanting the voices of writers who can see alternatives to how we live now, can see through our fear-stricken society and its obsessive technologies to other ways of being, and even imagine real grounds for hope. We’ll need writers who can remember freedom — poets, visionaries — realists of a larger reality. . . .”
Words Are My Matter collects talks, essays, introductions to beloved books, and book reviews by Ursula K. Le Guin, one of our foremost public literary intellectuals. Words Are My Matter is essential reading. It is a manual for investigating the depth and breadth of contemporary fiction — and, through the lens of deep considerations of contemporary writing, a way of exploring the world we are all living in.
“We need writers who know the difference between production of a market commodity and the practice of an art. Developing written material to suit sales strategies in order to maximise corporate profit and advertising revenue is not the same thing as responsible book publishing or authorship.”
The New Yorker: Julie Phillips, The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin “In fact, it was the mainstream that ended up transformed. By breaking down the walls of genre, Le Guin handed new tools to twenty-first-century writers working in what Chabon calls the “borderlands,” the place where the fantastic enters literature.”
The Nation: Zoe Carpenter, Ursula K. Le Guin has Stopped Writing Fiction But We Need Her More Than Ever “The collection articulates Le Guin’s belief in the social and political value of storytelling, as well as her fear that corporatization has made the publishing landscape increasingly inhospitable to risk-takers, to those who insist on other ways. This is a real problem, particularly if we can’t count on fresh water from the well of Le Guin’s imagination. In a year stalked by the long shadows of authoritarianism, ecological collapse, and perpetual war, her writing feels more urgent than ever.”
Washington Post: Michael Dirda, At 86 Ursula K. Le Guin Is Finally Getting the Recognition She Deserves — Almost “Spills over with insight, outrage and humor. In ‘Making Up Stories,’ Le Guin implores her audience not to ask where she gets her ideas: ‘I have managed to keep the address of the company where I buy my ideas a secret all these years, and I’m not about to let people in on it now.’ "
Of Dr. Zhivago, Le Guin confesses that ‘I now realize how much I learned about how to write a novel from [Boris] Pasternak: how you can leap across miles and years so long as you land in the right place; how accuracy of detail embodies emotion; how by leaving more out you can get more in. ’ "
What fun to have more book suggestions, thank you!
Recommending Quichotte by Salman Rushdie, the author now recovering from the brutal attack at Chautauqua.
The assassin trying to silence this great mind of our age did not succeed. The haters could never grasp the profound truth of Salman Rushdie, the incredible depth of his understanding and communication. He communicates to us, how we live and how we are. Reflected in his mirror, we see our world in all its glorious, stark truth.
This book is a wonderful read. Laugh all the way with the poor seeker, who, like all of us, seeks only true love, and an understanding of our sparkling world.
Happy birthday, too, to a superwoman! 102!
The Spectator review of Quichotte:
Quichotte, Salman Rushdie
"It’s hard to get your head around Salman Rushdie’s latest novel Quichotte, which has been shortlisted for the Booker. It’s a literary embarras de richesse, whose centre can’t really hold, yet it’s written with the brilliant bravura of a writer who can really, really write. More to the point, it’s also funny and touching and sad and oddly vulnerable, rather like its eponymous hero.
His name is taken from Cervantes’ Don Quixote, via its Frenchified version, courtesy of the composer Massenet (one cultural allusion at a time is never enough for Rushdie, whose references range from Prospero to Pinocchio, from Ionesco to Oprah, from Wordsworth to The Wizard of Oz). This Quichotte is an Indian-born immigrant to America, a small-time sales rep for a pharmaceutical company, ageing and down-at-heel, who becomes as addicted to trash TV as Cervantes’ original was to the chivalric romances of his day.
...In a post-truth environment, where even the president is ‘entirely fabulist’, the literary tradition of magical realism, with its roots in Cervantes, has a particular contemporary urgency that Rushdie exploits to the max. You can’t blame a creative writer for taking an omnium gatherum literary attitude in an ‘unreal real’ world that’s simultaneously globalising and yet fragmenting."
Unfortunately many parts of urban California are, in fact, one big homeless encampment and Newsom appears to have no clue how to deal with it. In NYC, they are turning to the involuntary institutionalization of the hopelessly mentally il. Maybe California has something to learn.
Newsom's beating that recall was a relief. (Although I do wonder about him for having been involved with that dreadful Kimberly Guilfoyle.)
The Zerad women are certainly an attractive threesome. May Angie live at least as long and as well as my mother's cousin, Ruth Hornbein Kahn Stovroff, who passed her last driving test at 96 with flying colors, and made it to 104.