Oct 16, 2016

Sunday Links: October Again

stag at Richmond Park
The past few weeks have been hard. I watched the news with a mounting sense of dread, which the leftover good feelings from last July could no longer insulate me from. I faced unexpected personal hurdles, of the kind you try to learn to live with rather than resolve. I said goodbye to summer, and to my newfound habit of stopping in the park for at least a few minutes after work. I watched the nights draw in. I also went to Richmond Park and saw the deer, and watched Björk play an amazing show. I had the better part of a week off work, which means I finally got to meet my parents’ new kitten, and I fell in love with her. I read about ambivalence, and thought about it, and drafted a post that might be Too Much even for me. We’ll see how I feel in a few days’ time.

Here are some links for today. It’s been a while since I last did one of these posts, which means they’ve piled up a bit. Apologies for that.

  • This is a good follow-up to some of my library links from last time: “A report looking into the role of volunteers in the running of community library services conducted by the National Federation of Women’s Institutes (NFWI) has found that in many cases, volunteers are being left without adequate support to deliver services previously supplied by professional staff.”

  • Citizens of the world, look out by Dawn Foster. There are names for rampant xenophobia combined with economic populism, but ‘centrism’ isn’t one of them.

  • Liz McCausland on Story-telling and Trauma, and the limitations of narrative.

  • By now this is old news, but I was very happy to see Maggie Nelson and Claudia Rankine among this year’s MacArthur Grant winners. Here’s an LA Times interview with Maggie Nelson, and a conversation with Claudia Rankine at Buzzfeed. Hooray for Gene Luen Yang and Lauren Redniss, too.

  • Angela Davis and the Black Radical Tradition in the Era of Black Lives Matter.

  • The European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance reports on the British press and racist and xenophobic attacks in the UK.

  • This interview with Leslie Jamison is not new, but it’s new to me and I enjoyed reading it.

  • City of Women by Rebecca Solnit:
    I can’t imagine how I might have conceived of myself and my possibili­ties if, in my formative years, I had moved through a city where most things were named after women and many or most of the monuments were of powerful, successful, honored women. Of course, these sites commemorate only those who were allowed to hold power and live in public; most American cities are, by their nomenclature, mostly white as well as mostly male. Still, you can imagine.
  • Think libraries are obsolete? Think again.

  • A Pound of Flesh by Katherine Angel: The crime that Ferrante has committed, in Gatti’s eyes, is that of witholding the signs by which he might read her as a “woman writer”.

  • Frank Ocean and the Black Male Body.

  • The Fantastic Ursula K. Le Guin by Julie Phillips. (I had Nobel hopes for Le Guin this year. Alas.)

  • Rebecca Hussey lists 25 Great Essay Collections from 2016 and does much damage to my wishlist.

  • A few entries I enjoyed from The Guardian’s Books to give you hope series: Thief of Time by Terry Pratchett, Fire and Hemlock by Diana Wynne Jones, The Faraway Nearby by Rebecca Solnit, Station Eleven by Emily St John Mandel, Wild by Cheryl Strayed.

  • The most beautiful libraries in America — in pictures. Destinations for my next visit?

  • Sharon Olds Sings the Body Electric by Alexandra Schwartz.

    I’ll finish with a few pictures of Flora, which you might have seen already if you follow me elsewhere on social media. But no such thing as too much kitten, right?


    1. Lovely kitten! Thanks for the links, especially the library ones.

    2. *hugs* I am feeling generally horrible re: coming winter and the ridiculise ridiculise world. I feel better when I find my children smiling at home. And then sort of dread when I dare to think that this is the world they have to live in.

      Sorry about being all negative on here. Anyway, I am here if you want to talk.


    3. what cute kitty pictures! Thank you for all the links - I've checked out a few already.

    4. Sorry to hear you have been having a hard time. Wishing you all the best. Flora should help - wow she is adorable!

      Thanks for those interesting articles - especially the one on libraries (my city of Norwich is doing ok, but I am waiting for the cuts to hit us) and the one on gender names for cities...so painfully true about most of life. Male is the default - the go-to...

    5. There can never be too many kitten pictures! Flora is a little cutie. Sorry you have had a difficult time of it these last few weeks. I hope things are beginning to look up.

    6. Flora is the dearest little cat! I know I've said this elsewhere, but you are very much in my thoughts, friend, and I hope as always that you're being kind to yourself while the world is not being kind to you. Much much much love and always please email me if you need to vent or if I can help with anything, even if it's something small.

      Predictably, I loved the Guardian rundown of Fire and Hemlock. My favorite thing about Polly is how real all her developments as a person are -- not just the "Sentimental Drivel" thing which may be salutary but which shrivels me every time I think about it, but all the things she learns about being a person in the world. The takey way that Ivy is, and learning to appreciate Fiona, and how mixed up she feels about Seb -- so much truth in all those things.

    7. thanks for these - especially the LeGuin article (one of my favorite authors and I'm excited Julie Phillips is working on a biography - I liked the one she did of James Tiptree, Jr.)

      and (gulp) the essays (I'll never read all of them)



    Thank you so much for taking the time to comment - interaction is one of my favourite things about blogging and a huge part of what keeps me going.