Feminist, Fictionista, Foodie, Francophile

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

You Know This Already

But I'm going to say it again. If you're not registered to vote--register.
Just Google "How to Register to Vote" and all the info will come up.
And if you are registered to vote, VOTE.
Don't make me tell you again that my father voted on his deathbed by absentee ballot.
Don't make me tell you that that my great grandmother died before women had the right to vote.
Don't make me remind you that African-Americans had to die to win the right to vote.
Not voting is un-American.
And if you do vote, make sure your vote counts. It's all very well to write in a  no-hoper for Senior Class President, because there's not a lot at stake. What's the worst that can happen?
But only one of two people in this election has a chance at being elected President--Donald Trump or Hillary Clinton. Even if there are elements of Jill Stein and Gary Johnson's platforms that reflect your values, they will not win. They won't.  But there are Libertarian and Green Party candidates in down-ticket races that might have a chance. If you believe America should have multiple party systems, be a part of building those parties up so that they are viable alternatives.
But in this race, in 2016, a vote for anyone but one of the two major party candidates is a vote that says you don't really care who wins because it's not the candidate you wanted. And "not caring" is how we got into this mess in the first place. This is a participatory Democracy.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Happy Banned Books Week!

Don't just sit there--read something subversive. Go to the official Banned Books Week site for ideas.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Autumn sentinel

It's so much fun having fall weather again. I missed that in Los Angeles.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Behold the Dreamers by Imbolo Mbue

Behold the Dreamers. You need to read this book. If your library doesn't have it, buy the paperback or the Kindle edition. Because seriously, you need to read it.

I have a history with this book. I was in the running for the job of editing it, and although I did not get the gig, I got to read the book last year as the author was refining it for publication. When I read it, I got that prickle on the back of my neck, the one that says, this is a fantastic book and if there is justice in the universe, it will be a best seller.

This is a story about an immigrant and his family whose lives become intwined with the lives of their employers--the typical "one percent" just before the economy crashes and burns in 2008. Like her immigrant protagonists, the author is herself an immigrant, and her portraits of the various "dreamers" are rich and layered and believable and true.

The writing is luminous. She takes us to the heart of several very different lives and takes us to a time and place that was a pivot point for history, a time that shattered a lot of people's dreams. The book came out last month and has already been picked as one of Good Housekeeping's fall reading picks. It'll be on a lot more reading lists before too long. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Strawberry corn

It's officially the first day of Fall so my local supermarket has gone all in on the harvest-themed displays. There are twenty kinds of pumpkins and gourds, and a half-dozen kinds of corn (sweet, Indian, you name it). And there was this...strawberry corn. It's hard to tell from the picture, but the size of the little corns is just about the same size as an extra large strawberry. I've never seen such a thing before, so I immediately came home and Googled it. Turns out "strawberry corn" is a kind of popcorn. But to me it looks like something fairy animals would eat. (They also look exactly like that strange hard candy with the nubbins on it.)

Cover Comparison The Stephen King edition

I love short story collections and continue to buy them even as my friends and colleagues bemoan the way short story markets have dried up. Paying markets that is. I started out writing short stories and it's still my favorite length. Some ideas are just short story ideas.
Somehow, in the middle of writing longer works and doing good works and just living his life, Stephen King still finds time to write short stories. The most recent collection of these is Bazaar of Bad Dreams, a title I love. But when the book came out, I didn't love the cover. Honestly, it looked like one of those photoshopped numbers that indie authors get slammed for. That's it on the left. The combination of black and white and red just doesn't say "Dreams" to me.

But since today is King's birthday, everyone is offering special deals on his books (Simon and Schuster, his long-time publisher, is wishing him a "Happy Birthday" with all kinds of offers on his backlist.) And so I saw an offer with the UK cover of Bazaar of Bad Dreams and for me, it's a winner. I'm drawn to covers with splotches of color anyway, and I like the typography and the whole "concept" just so much better. Which one would you rather pick up?

Happy Birthday Stephen King!

The first writer I sought out because I loved her books and wanted to read everything she wrote was Beverly Cleary, who just turned 100 in April. (Live long and prosper Bev!)  And then it was Carolyn Keene "who" wrote the Nancy Drew books but she wasn't really one person, so "she" doesn't count. And then it was Stephen King.
I didn't start with Carrie; my gateway to the Kingdom was a collection of his short stories. Back then, he wasn't writing six or seven books a year like an indie author, but he'd been writing for a couple of years by the time I discovered him and so it took me a while to work through the backlog. (Well, it probably took me a week. I read fast and back then, I still had a lot of free time.)
I was moved by The Dead Zone and scared by Pet Sematary and blown away by The Stand. To this day, the only epic apocalyptic novel that even comes close to it in terms of Dickensian breadth of characters is Robert McCammon's Swan Song.
So I've been reading along all these years and love that he's writing like his life depends on it.

Wait, maybe it does? Maybe the reason he's so prolific is that in the terrible accident that nearly killed him, he did die? And he made a bargain with the devil to come back. But if he doesn't write 10 books a year, he has to return.
Happy Birthday Stephen King.
Thank you for the books!