Thursday, October 14, 2010

Four points

1. Fragments, a book of "poems, intimate notes and letters" by Marilyn Monroe, is just out.
I'm interested in reading it. For many reasons, related to Joyce Carol Oates, to Monroe the serious reader (which I've blogged about, a post I can't seem to find), to ephemeral other points of departure.

2. This too interests me. Disconnect by Devra Davis. Almost as much as it terrifies me. The terror? Perhaps the book's subtitle will provide a clue: The Truth About Cell Phone Radiation, What the Industry Has Done to Hide It, and How to Protect Your Family. Should you see fit to join me in fearville, check out this interview with the author at Yikes! Not that I talk on my cell phone much, hardly at all in fact. Still I'm sticking to my yikes.

3. Over three weeks since I finished reading The Warmth of Other Suns, I haven't stopped thinking about it. Every day something brings it to mind, or rather some point or passage from the book rises in my mind and something I've seen or heard gets refracted through it. It is an indispensable trove of information, insight and analysis. How pissed off have I been, then, since yesterday's announcement of this year's National Book Award nominations? Very pissed off. It seems impossible that Isabel Wilkerson's masterwork was passed over. Patti Smith's memoir? OK, yeah, sure, we all love Patti Smith, nice that she got the nod, but jeez, it's as if a culinary award went to a single lovely quirky grain of rice while a great brilliant magnificently complex risotto was ignored. WTF?! And yes fine it's inconsistent to complain, or even care, given all I know, all I've ranted about, regarding the character of these establishment literary awards. Doesn't it say a lot, though, that the literary establishment can't bring itself to acknowledge a book like Wilkerson's?

4. I also can't stop thinking about the ongoing rash of suicides by lesbian and gay youths. Today, happily, a couple items that point in a more positive direction. This editorial in Workers World, about the role of the struggle. And this, finally: a youngster who's been the victim of anti-gay bullying launches a protest. Marco Melgoza, our hero!