“Go, go, go, go!”
Yes, we yell at the Olympics on TV. We are Olympics-crazy! And how could they win without our yelling? After Katie Ledecky won the Gold Medal for the 200-meter women’s freestyle tonight, we approved the sportsmanlike embrace between Ledecky and Swedish Silver Medalist Sarah Sjostrom. Some athletes prefer one-upmanship to sportsmanship: we saw clips of South Africa’s Chad le Clos’s repeatedly taunting Michael Phelps. Then Phelps won his 20th Gold Medal for the Men’s 200-Meter Butterfly and Cahd le Clos came in second, so let’s hope that nonsense is over.
BLOGGERS’ LITERARY EVENTS !
Summer is prime time for enjoyable online reading events, with many bloggers and readers coming together to read books in a designated category.
First up: All Virago/All August. This was founded by the LibraryThing Virago Modern Classics group. My choice? A Virago I found in London: American writer Alix Kates Shulman’s On the Stroll, a little-known novel about a pimp, a runaway, and a bag lady who has visions. I loved Shulman’s Memoirs of an Ex-Prom Queen and her 1995 memoir Drinking the Rain, so I’ll give this a try.
Second up: Women in Translation month. Here is a link to an article at PEN America about the genesis and progress of Women in Translation Month.
In May 2014, blogger Meytal Radzinski, a student of biophysics in Israel and an avid and insightful reader, announced the first Women in Translation month, to be held that August. Her goals, she wrote, were simple:
1. Increase the dialogue and discussion about women writers in translation
2. Read more books by women in translation
And, by the way, I have already finished a book in translation, Colette’s The Pure and the Impure, a collection of essays about gender and sexuality, possibly shocking in her time, doubtless politically incorrect in our time.
1. At The Guardian, Alex Clark’s article on women’s friendship in fiction is worth reading.
2 At Salon, Dan Green complains about Little Free Libraries. Here is an excerpt:
Little Free Library has a seductive marketing slogan that’s carved into the top of every unit: “Take a Book; Return a Book.” Such a simple equation. And such wishful thinking. Take? Oh, absolutely. People are, in fact, really good at that part. For example there was the young mom who lifted her toddler up to the box, watching uncritically as he scooped up “Imaginary Homelands,” Salman Rushdie’s collection of criticism and essays. Which I’m sure he enjoyed.
When it comes to returning, people mean well. For example, I don’t doubt the sincerity of that young mom when she told her greedy little urchin, “We have to remember to come back soon and give them some books.” The problem is that, to borrow my favorite report card phrase, remembering, for most people, “remains an area of growth.” It’s not that I blame my (mooching) neighbors. Indeed, I, myself, seldom return books to the public library on time. And they fine you if you don’t. But since I don’t punish people (unless you count silent, withering judgment), I’ve got no leverage. The truth is laziness is just part of human nature. It’s what separates us from the beavers.
3 And at Literary Hub, Daisy Dunn, author of Catullus’ Bedspread, writes that her longest relationship is with the dead poet Catullus.
Ha! I love the fact that Colette is probably politically incorrect nowadays. She’s certainly never dull, that’s for sure. I’ve only managed a couple of books for the challenges so far as I’ve got sidetracked by Virginia Woolf – well you can only read what you want to, can’t you?
Well, this is the only one I’ve managed! I very seldom find time to read even one for a group reading! I love Colette, but am less keen on these essays than on her fiction. (Not because they’re politically incorrect, though.) In the U.S. transgender sensitivity is very big now, and one is afraid to say, as Colette does, that lesbians and gay men need to embrace themselves and not model themselves on the opposite sex. (She thinks it sad particularly that one lesbian wears men’s suits and can’t find true love in her guise as a man.) I, too, think it is a good thing to love oneself, but Colette might be called on the carpet for this nowadays!
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Love Wila Cather and Theb Magnificent Amberson’s is a gem. Have you read Bess Streeter Aldrich? She’s a wonderful Midwestern writer who doesn’t get much attention.
Jean, very few of us read Aldrich any more! I love her so much that I toured her house in Elmwood, Nebraska. There are so many neglected writers!