Archive for the ‘November, 2010’ Category

Holiday Reading

Monday, November 29th, 2010

FD and Mr. FD always include at least a few books in our gift-giving.  But we don’t buy things that are designated as “holiday” reading.  No copies of A Christmas Carol — or any of its descendants!   No books, even for the youngest readers, about snowmen or santa, and none of the “coffee table” books that are specially designed for the shopper without any actual ideas.

This year, we’ve bought some books of poetry (despite Chad Harbach’s recent comment in n+1, as quoted in Slate, that “it has become almost inconceivable that anyone outside a university library will read them”) and some books about art, and Mr. FD’s present to himself was a copy of Antonio Damasio’s new book about consciousness.  And it is still early; we’ll probably be back in the bookstore before the end of the gift-giving season.

Bookstores and Libraries

Monday, November 15th, 2010

Here in this University town, there’s a good relationship between the Public Library and the bookstores.  In fact, just last night FD and Mr. FD went to a wonderful benefit sale at the local independent bookstore, held to support the public library.  We bought a number of holiday presents, from children’s books to calendars, and also something for ourselves:  Life, by Keith Richards.  After what seems like an incessant drumbeat (or guitar lick) of articles about and interviews with Keith Richards, it seemed inevitable that we would buy the autobiography.

FD and Mr. FD  both choose “Rolling Stones” when faced with the “Beatles or Rolling Stones” question.  Perhaps not one you use to judge whether you will have a lot in common with new acquaintances, but one that actually works quite well, at least for the baby-boomer generation.

Literature and Politics

Thursday, November 11th, 2010

FD has just begun reading Daisy Hay’s new study, Young Romantics.  This book (yes, it has its own website) reminds us that the poets Byron, Keats, and Shelley, were members of a highly politicized community and that they often wrote literary works specifically based on their politics.

FD remembers earlier times in the US, not so long ago, actually, when poets got together to create anthologies against war — most recently in 2003, when Sam Hamill started an on-line anthology, but earlier too, when poets joined to protest the Vietnam war (see this essay by John Clark Pratt) and when Neruda called for “Nixonicide.”  Similarly, issues like equal rights for women, for ethnic groups, and the rights of workers were all explored by US writers.

But, sigh, FD doesn’t see much happening at the moment — which seems as political fraught as any other time in our history.  Oddly, the Right seems to be more connected to the literature of politics — Glenn Beck writes his own political novels and has helped keep Ayn Rand’s novels (which needed no help!) selling briskly.  But where are the leftist novels and writers to compete??