TNC on the lack of women in book lists…

I’m quoting the whole thing because it’s so darn awesome:

There’s a lot of twittering about Esquire’s list of 75 books that men should read and the fact that only one book by a woman–Flannery O’Connor’s A Good Man Is Hard To Find. There’s a point to be made here about sexism. But I’d like to focus on the implicit incuriosity that always accompanies these sorts of things.

Books are our most intimate art-form. The reader does a temporary mind-meld with the author, and a collaborative world–their words and our imagination–is conjured from nothing. And because each reader’s mind is his own, each of those conjured worlds, each of those planes, are different. And because the libraries are filled with incredible books, those of us who are readers spend our whole lives creating these private planes, walking them, mapping them, comparing ours with those of other readers, and then returning to our own only to see the contours changed.  And so we map anew.
Why any dedicated reading man would dream of this sorcery strictly with other men is beyond me. It goes against one of the great assets of reading–the voyage to new worlds. It would be as if Magellan said, “I like my small town fine enough.”
Put bluntly, if you call yourself a reading man, but don’t read books by women, you are actually neither. Such a person implicitly dismisses whole swaths of literature, and then flees the challenge of seeing himself through other eyes.
This is not a favor to feminists. This is not about how to pick up chicks. This is about hunger, greed and acquisition. Do not read books by women to murder your inner sexist pig. Do it because Edith Wharton can fucking write. It’s that simple.
AMEN AMEN A MILLION TIMES AMEN!!!!! (Sorry that the formatting is fucked up. WordPress is being weird and won’t let me fix it).

An elegant defense of libraries…

Laura Miller, at Salon.

The Rose Reading Room is an exceptional place, but even the humblest branch library can provide the same precious resource to its patrons. There’s nothing “elite” about needing some tranquility, either: If anything, the poorer and younger you are, the harder it is to find a quiet spot to read, write and think, where family isn’t crowding around and countless electronic devices aren’t blaring at you from every corner. Access to a little peace and quiet is as essential to a humane society as access to parks and art. That’s not something the Internet is ever going to be able to give us. It can only be found in a real, not a virtual, place, which is what libraries have always been and what we all still need them to be.

I have newly rekindled my love affair with libraries, and am loving every second of it.

Loving Deadwood…

Oh, if there was ever a show I wish I wrote – funny, heartbreaking, characters coming out of the woodwork, phenomenal acting, production design, costumes, oh just everything is so fabulous:

I love Jimmy, Swearengen’s dumb sidekick. LOVE HIM. This episode in Season 1, Mr. Wu, has some of the best TV writing in it I’ve ever seen.

On timing, cynicism-reduction, and weening myself off Amazon…

I voted today, in my slippers. There is a polling station in the lobby of my apartment building; it was embarrassingly easy.  I have spoiled my ballot in the last several federal elections, because I didn’t like the options. I still don’t really, but that goddamn mustachio’d sleazeball is growing on me.

As I voted I couldn’t get the images of Tahrir Square out of my head. People die to be able to do this. No matter how cynical I can get, there’s no way to be cynical about that.

On another non-cynical front! They killed Osama bin-Laden at a completely non-politically relevant time. Timing is  everything in this kind of situation, and obviously this is going to make Obama look good no matter when it happens. But! Why do I get the feeling that if this was 2004, bin-Laden would be chilling for a few months in Dick Cheney’s guest room until a week before the election? So good for Obama, good for Leon Panetta, and yay for them not exploiting this too much. And good for him for being so hilarious at the Correspondents dinner, and totally pwning Donald Trump.

And! I got a library card today, my very first one since I was 11 years old. The Oakville Public Library is awesome. A nice building, good book selection, just an all around great place to hang out. And it only took me eight months to discover it. Obviously, I was one of those kids who loved visiting the library when I was a kid – I was BFFs with my elementary school librarian – but since I left university, I stopped visiting them. You know what I did do? Buy a billion books instead. From Amazon, Chapters, wherever. I have spent so much money on books in the last four years, thinking that libraries wouldn’t have the books I wanted – but yay! they totally do! Now I will only buy the ones I really like, which my husband and anyone who helps us move ever again will surely appreciate!

I realize that the discoveries I made today  – voting is good, libraries are awesome – are ludicrously obvious to normal people. I guess I was too busy being a recluse in my impenetrable bubble of cynicism, running away from anything that had to do with “community” and “civic duty” to notice.

There may be hope for me yet.