Vote It Up: Book Blip

January 25, 2011

Books for writers -- not my suggestions

While perusing Facebook over a bowl of cereal, I found this link and thought it worth posting: A Writer's Booklist. The author, John Rember, suggests 5 books for writers to inspire new writing.  I have to admit, I've only read Oryx and Crake, Margaret Atwood's horrifying dystopian novel -- only slightly more horrifying than The Handmaid's Tale -- but his reasons for listing these 5 books are sound.  I may have to give Robert Pirsig and Kurt Vonnegut another try (since last picking up in high school).

In other news: I can't seem to finish the whisper-thin book Night.  I read a page, grimace and put it down.
Instead, I've been slowly finishing the last Harry Potter (yes, still -- 6 pages a night before bed in an 800 page novel takes a while) and have begun Patti Smith's most amazing memoir, Just Kids.  More on that to come.  Just wow.

January 21, 2011

Blogging for choice - January 21, 2011

Today is the 38th anniversary of Roe v. Wade.  Hard to believe this important decision is younger than me (but only by a little).  Also hard to believe: we're still defending this right.  As of today, the Repubs have introduced two bills to restrict access to abortion services: "No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion Act," is sponsored by Rep. Chris Smith, (R-NJ) and the "Protect Life Act," sponsored by Rep Joe Pitts (R-PA).  Once again, women are political pawns in a cynical game.  Listen, I can respect differences of opinion.  You don't believe in abortion, fine.  That's your prerogative.  But, please don't preach smaller government and then tell me what medical services I can and cannot receive, or which services my insurance company can cover, because of your religious convictions!  Isn't abortion a personal decision between a woman, her family, and her doctor?  I know many women who have had to seek an abortion for medical, life-saving reasons.  Sure, they would've preferred to have their babies, it just was more of a risk to continue gestating - a risk to the child and a risk to the mother.  As always, poorer women who rely on insurance to defray medical costs (hell, middle class folk like me depend on insurance to defray medical costs!) will be the ones who suffer most should any of this legislation pass.  I'm so tired of the hypocrisy of the smaller-government-anti-choice movement!  But today I am choosing to focus on the positive.  Today, I celebrate my choice to have two beautiful, healthy children, and no more.  I celebrate whatever choices you make too.

December 22, 2010

Facing the demon

My personal copy of the book
This is rough.  Re-reading Night is not holiday fare.  Children being hung in a concentration camp is not putting me in the festive spirit of the season.  But I'm not doing this as entertainment.  I'm facing a demon: the source of my lost faith.  I have no epiphanies yet, but I have had one profound-ish thought: Elie Weisel was 12 when he learned about, but doubted the truth of the Holocaust and 15 when he was sent with his family to Auschwitz; I was 12 when I read Night for the first time and 15 when I was confirmed in Sunday School.  It's coincidence, but it hit me hard.  I also keep thinking how many teenagers are required to read this book in high school, which leads me to three other thoughts: 1.) this is too devastating a story to digest as a teenager, 2.) Elie Weisel was a teenager when this happened to him, and 3.) how can anyone walk away from this book unchanged?