Clef Notes, an anthology of shorts, by Elaine White
There are two sides to every story.
#ClefNotes #lgbtq #indieauthor #mmromance
Sometimes, when I read a book, a particular actor who might certain a character gets in my head and totally takes over.
When I read "The Martian," it was absolutely Matt Damon as Mark Watney. Of course, that casting had already been announced. You can read more about my thoughts on that here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/1264907/notes-on-adaptation-the-martian-casting-edition.
A while before "Gone Girl" went into production, Ben Affleck - but blonder and younger - totally took over Nick Dunne's voice as I read. You can read more about that here: http://carissagreen50.booklikes.com/post/766885/some-thoughts-on-gone-girl.
Yesterday, I read Andre Aciman's "Call Me By Your Name," which, of course, has been adapted into a highly-regarded movie. I hope to see the film still this awards season. But it's possible I'll have to wait, as our small-town movie theaters often don't bring in "art films." Or perhaps it came and went during the period I was completely distracted with my recent move and the holidays.
Either way, I'm well aware that Armie Hammer plays the 24-year-old professor, Oliver, who becomes the obsession of the 17-year-old Elio. But Mr. Hammer was NOT the face and voice who completely invaded my reading.
Oliver was, for me, almost from his initial introduction, a (much) younger Jon Hamm - or perhaps a younger, '80s version of Hamm's "Mad Men" character Don Draper. Subtract 20 years and make him look a little bit more "ethnically Jewish" - maybe closer to the novelist Nathan Englander, for example - and that's who I saw.
Sorry, Armie Hammer. I'm sure I'll enjoy what you did with the character. But for now, you're my "alternate casting."
It seems like every woman I know has read this book, which automatically made me suspicious. (I still haven't forgiven my fellow females for The Bridges of Madison County.) I finally trundled forth on my own.
I'm glad I did. It just took me a while to get there. I wasn't sure what I was headed into. I figured "feminist, fat-positive, intersectionality" and that's all true. But are these essays? Not exactly. What was I reading? I finally settled on memoir-ish. It took me a while to finish this because I ended up with a ton of notes scribbled on my notebook, and I spent a lot of time reading about the surrounding circumstances. I honestly didn't have to. She explained these things well and even quotes huge chunks of some pieces. (One thing I learned: Leonard Nimoy is a photographer!)
The reason I'm going on about this is that the beginning of the book is witty. It's written like essays, even if it's about being a child, a fat child, a fantasist child... This doesn't feel like a true memoir until the very final few chapters, and those are beautiful chapters -- written with a vulnerability that I found very relatable and touching. There is true wisdom in the final handful of chapters that don't feel like I'm being Taught A Lesson because she shows us her experience and her vulnerability as she learns.
Earlier chapters are hilarious. The end of the book still has laugh aloud moments, but it's on a much deeper level. She's finally let the reader in. I wish she could've found a way to let me in earlier. Much of the fat-positive stuff felt very defensive. (Full disclosure: I, too, am overweight, and I can attest to the different way society at large treats fat people because I was pretty thin until I hit 40.) Despite my sympathetic ear, it still came off to me as defensive. The "lessons" she tries to impart early about the way we treat fat people finally get an "aha" moment in the latter chapters when she describes her marriage and the circumstances around her engagement. Here, she's open and honest. We get to see behind the activist into the real woman.
Interestingly, I found something at odds between her feminism and her fat positivity in these latter chapters. It's not glaring, and I certainly don't fault her for wanting to be desirable to her husband and show the world that he desires her, but the tension of being a woman shows up here. It brings up an even deeper set of issues for women that she doesn't touch. I don't fault her at all for that -- this is not an academic study.
It's hard being a woman. I know this. And I don't even have an army of trolls attacking me on a daily basis (see https://jezebel.com/if-comedy-has-no-lady-problem-why-am-i-getting-so-many-511214385 )
I'm slightly older than Lindy West. I grew up a decade or so before her. When I was growing up, it was assumed that because the world now said the "right" things, all was now fine, much like the "post-racial" nonsense that went around in 2008. It's bullshit, but I believed it as a girl, and that's brought me some real anger in adulthood. It's made me a pretty ardent feminist. This is where I've learned from women like Lindy West - how to be unapologetic about my feminism, including my anger.
This book didn't change my life, and I doubt it will change anyone else's. Nonetheless, West has a real point about chipping away at the old truisms and making the world a little better with our every interaction.
It's hard to be cold or cruel when you remember it's hard to be a person.
This is a pretty wise young woman, and it'll be great fun to watch her and read her in the future. Rumor has it that she has two more books in the works.
This book meme was created by Moonlight Reader. I really liked keeping track of what was added to, read, or deleted from my TBR. So I am starting off the new year by re-using the meme, although I will probably do every other week. Using this meme ensures I also update my master TBR list (spreadsheet).
So for every one book I read this week, I bought two new ones. This doesn't bode well for the TBR pile.
Beyond Belief by Jenna Miscavige Hill
Full Body Burden by Kristen Iverson
Nothing due to rules of COYER Winter Switch. This will change in the next phase of the challenge.
1. Radium Girls: The Dark Story of America's Shining Women by Kate Moore
Women's history + military history (WWI) = happy reading for me. I am adding it to my WWI reading list.
2. Rise of the Rocket Girls by Nathalia Holt (currently on sale for $2.99 in the NOOK store)
Because someone recommended this book after I reviewed Hidden Figures.
3. Shrill by Lindy West (also on sale in the NOOK store $2.99)
Getting this recommended to me by GR after reviewing Bad Feminist.
4. Hate to Want You by Alisha Rai (on sale in the NOOK store for $1.99)
I've wanted to try Alisha Rai's writing for a while. The first book in a new trilogy (last book comes out this month or is already out).
Με την ανάληψη των λογοτεχνικών καθηκόντων του ο συγγραφέας οφείλει, σύμφωνα με τον Baldwin, να προσμετρήσει τους παραπάνω παράγοντες στο έργο του, να είναι living proof of his inheritance και να διεκδικήσει το birthright του ως μαύρος. Στην εισαγωγή της έκδοσης του 1984 υπογραμμίζει πωςIt is difficult to make clear that he is not seeking to forfeit his birthright as a black man, but that, on the contrary, it is precisely this birthright which he is struggling to recignize and make articulate.
Η γραφή του, ως εκ τούτου, αντανακλά με συνέπεια το αίσθημα της εσωτερικής διαμάχης ενός ανθρώπου που γεννήθηκε στους κόλπους της μαύρης κοινότητας, μιας συντηρητικής, αδέκαστης και ξένης προς τη φροντίδα κοινωνίας, όντας ταυτόχρονα μέρος ενός μεγαλύτερου κόσμου που τον περιθωριοποιεί εν γένει, απορρίπτει τον ψυχισμό του και βασίζει τις αντιδράσεις πάνω στο χρώμα δέρματος του κάθε ανθρώπου.The conundrum of color is the inheritance of every American, be he/she legally or actually Black or White.
Στο εισαγωγικό κείμενο της συλλογής ο Baldwin ασχολείται και διερευνά το ζήτημα του συγγραφέα, με την αναγκαιότητα να γράφει την αλήθεια για τον κόσμο στον οποίο ζει κι από τον οποίο αφορμάται, να πηγαίνει στην πηγή του προβλήματος, πέρα από την επιφάνεια, και να εξετάζει τις συμπεριφορές, με τη δυσκολία του να είναι μαύρος συγγραφέας όταν το Negro problem δεν αντιμετωπίζεται όπως κατά τη γνώμη του πρέπει.It is part of the price the Negro pays for his position in this society that, as Richard Wright points out, he is almost always acting. A Negro learns to gauge precisely what reaction the alien person facing him desires, and he produces it with disarming artlessness.
Εντούτοις ο Baldwin διακατέχεται από αξιοσημείωτη και μύχια ανθρωπιά, δεν προβαίνει σε συναισθηματικές υστερίες, ωθεί τον εαυτό του να βρίσκεται στον αντίποδα της πικρίας ως προς τους λευκούς, πικρία που όπως ισχυρίζεται ήταν ο καταλύτης του θανάτου του πατέρα του. Δε διστάζει να κρίνει γνωστά και αγαπημένα έργα ως προβληματικά, μεταξύ άλλων το [b:Uncle Tom's Cabin|46787|Uncle Tom's Cabin|Harriet Beecher Stowe|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1414349231s/46787.jpg|2478635], για τον υπερβολικό συναισθηματισμό, για την ανειλικρίνεια της απεικόνισης του μαύρου, λέγοντας:In the context of the Negro problem neither the whites nor blacks, for excellent reasons of their own, have the fainstest desire to look back; but I think the past is all that makes the present coherent, and further, that the past will remain horrible for exactly as long as we refuse to assess it honestly.
Ο Baldwin είναι άνθρωπος της λογοτεχνίας, του λόγου, κατανοεί τη σημασία του να δίνεται και στους λευκούς χαρακτήρες των έργων υπόσταση πλήρως ανεπτυγμένου όντος, υποστηρίζοντας με θέρμη πωςI am not one of the people who believe that oppression imbues a people with wisdom or insight or sweet charity, though the survival of the Negro in this country would simply not have been possible if this bitterness had been all he felt.
You do not have to fully humanize your black characters by dehumanizing the white ones.
Το στοιχείο ωστόσο που διαπερνά το κείμενο είναι μάλλον το αισιόδοξο βλέμμα του Baldwin, ακόμη κι όταν εκείνο που περιγράφει είναι η αθλιότητα του να είναι κάποιος μαύρος στην Αμερική. Χρησιμοποιώντας τα λόγια του ανθρώπου που πάνω απ' όλα ήθελε να είναι ειλικρινής άνθρωπος και καλός συγγραφέας:The American commonwealth chooses to ovelook what Negroes are never able to forget: they are not really considered a plan of it. Like Aziz in [b:A Passage to India|45195|A Passage to India|E.M. Forster|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1421883612s/45195.jpg|4574850] or Topsy in [b:Uncle Tom's Cabin|46787|Uncle Tom's Cabin|Harriet Beecher Stowe|https://images.gr-assets.com/books/1414349231s/46787.jpg|2478635], they know that white people, whatever their love for justice, have no love for them. This is the crux of the matter.
This is the only real concern of the artist, to recreate out of the disorder of life that order which is art.