I feel safer asking this question here as opposed to twitter (which doesn't get sacrasm and where very few people seem to bother to look at a series of posts) or Facebook. But I really want to hear the answers to it, and it is a touchy question, or more likly a series of a questions, and it has to do with race.
For the record, I am white, but I also work at a college where nine times out of ten, I am the white person in the classroom, so all my students are minority, majority African-American. I tend to think about race a bit. I know that my students have taught me as much, if not more, then I taught them.
So my questions are
1. What extactly is cultural appropriation? Look I know the textbook defination, but is a white writer creating a black character doing so? Is that author simply being diverse? Is it culutural appropriation only if the writer creates such a character without making the character believable or only creates such characters or only creates a minority character who is minority only in skin color? There was an op-ed piece in the NYT and I read Marlon James thoughts on it, so is there a hard answer to this one? I am also thinking about the recent art debates. What do you think? For instance, if The Hate U Give had been written by a white, Latina, Chinese, person would that have been appropriation? If it had been written by a man and not a woman? I don't really know the answer to these questions, yet I have students who ask me about these issues. I realize there probably isn't a hard or fast answer, but it seems like very places are open to discussion without name calling. And I don't think LIonel Shriver was right either.
2. I understand why Elizabeth Banks is being called out, and she should be. Forgetting the Color Purple is wrong and white woman feminism. But why is it therefore okay for everyone to forget Memoirs of a Geisha which Spielberg produced? Isn't that the same thing?
I rarely put a book aside and telling the truth I could count the abandoned books on the fingers of my hand (maybe two hands), I give them a second chance and count for an improvement later on. But when enough is enough I feel guilty and start to think that maybe there's something wrong with me or my reading preferences.
How do you treat books that aren't your cup of tea?
A. Close and forget or giveaway to hated cousin.
B. Read till the last page because I cannot otherwise.
C. Have short brake from a title and give it a second chance after a while.
I originally chose James White's Lifeboat for this spot. However, I haven't started reading it yet, and I just got Emily Skrutskie's The Edge of the Abyss in via interlibrary loan. Can I change my planned book and read The Edge of the Abyss for this spot instead? I'm guessing it'd be fine, but I figured I'd throw the question out there and see what people think.
Pym is widely regarded as an Important Author in her time and genre, and as I've never read her I grabbed this at a library sale. I knew going into it that it wasn't considered 'major Pym' but is was a dollar and I figured it would give me a general idea of what to expect from her other works, one of which is on the TBR cliff.
All I can say is I think I missed something. Possibly, I missed everything. The cover's pull quotes all talk about the comedy and the introduction, written by Kate Saunders, refers to it as a 'comic novel'. I didn't see it. It's not a cultural thing either, I don't think; I generally find the British sense of humour incredibly funny.
Caro is the wife of an academic, in what I think must be somewhere around mid-century? 70's maybe?, who is bored, dissatisfied with her life and disinclined to do anything about it (or maybe feels helpless to do anything about it - it's unclear). She starts reading to a blind academic at the local old folks home, who happens to have a trunk full of papers that will advance her husband's career, so he visits with her one day and steals it. And lets her bear the burden of the guilt. Apparently a comedy of errors ensues; apparently so subtly that it flew right past me without notice.
I thought about going 2.5 stars, because honestly nothing ever happens, but in spite of its unfinished feel, I didn't mind the writing. I wasn't bored when I was reading it, and that has to be worth something, I guess.