Saturday, July 31, 2010
Friday, July 30, 2010
Thursday, July 29, 2010
You can read the complete text of author Greta Christina's "5 Stupid, Unfair and Sexist Things Expected of Men" HERE (and I hope you will), but below is her list:
3. Be hot to trot. Always. With anybody.
4. Stiff upper lip.
5. Fear being perceived as gay.
Wednesday, July 28, 2010
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Monday, July 26, 2010
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Saturday, July 24, 2010
Summer's slipping past me, and I'm trying to enjoy the last few weeks of freedom. And even though I should have been working on my JASNA paper, I decided to take yesterday off and go to Little Rock, shop a little, have a nice lunch, and see a movie at Market Street. My choice was Winter's Bone, winner of the 2010 Sundance Grand Jury Prize:
Friday, July 23, 2010
I've got a new cookbook, and I'm absolutely loving it. It's called Small-Batch Baking by Debby Maugans Nakos. I like home-made breads, but my husband doesn't; and we both like baked goods, but we don't often like the same things. So a regular recipe of pumpkin muffins or chocolate walnut brownies is just too much for me. Either I feel bad about wasting them, or even worse, eat more than I want/need simply because they are there. Even when we both want chocolate chip cookies, we don't need 24 of them. Two or three apiece will do. Now that I've found this cookbook, my problems are over.
Thursday, July 22, 2010
I know this one's been around for a while, but better late than never.
From Publishers Weekly
Schlosser's incisive history of the development of American fast food indicts the industry for some shocking crimes against humanity, including systematically destroying the American diet and landscape, and undermining our values and our economy. The first part of the book details the postwar ascendance of fast food from Southern California, assessing the impact on people in the West in general. The second half looks at the product itself: where it is manufactured (in a handful of enormous factories), what goes into it (chemicals, feces) and who is responsible (monopolistic corporate executives). In harrowing detail, the book explains the process of beef slaughter and confirms almost every urban myth about what in fact "lurks between those sesame seed buns." Given the estimate that the typical American eats three hamburgers and four orders of french fries each week, and one in eight will work for McDonald's in the course of their lives, few are exempt from the insidious impact of fast food. Throughout, Schlosser fires these and a dozen other hair-raising statistical bullets into the heart of the matter. While cataloguing assorted evils with the tenacity and sharp eye of the best investigative journalist, he uncovers a cynical, dismissive attitude to food safety in the fast food industry and widespread circumvention of the government's efforts at regulation enacted after Upton Sinclair's similarly scathing novel exposed the meat-packing industry 100 years ago. By systematically dismantling the industry's various aspects, Schlosser establishes a seminal argument for true wrongs at the core of modern America. (Jan.) Forecast: This book will find a healthy, young audience; it's notable that the Rolling Stone article on which this book was based generated more reader mail than any other piece the magazine ran in the 1990s.
Wednesday, July 21, 2010
Shelf Awareness posted these customer comments twittered by book store employees. Enjoy!
Apparently, quite a few customers just didn't pay attention in school:
"Do you have (pause, consult reading list) Hamlet? It's by (pause, consult list again) Shakespeare?"
Overheard: "Can you tell me who the author of Shakespeare is?"
"Do you have Shakespeare in English?"
"I'm looking for a book but I only know the title, not the author. It's called Dante's Inferno."
"Who wrote Jane Austen?"
Watermarkbooks had a summer-long Jane Austen bookclub. I had someone ask when she would be there.
"Where do yall keep the true fiction?"
"I definitely don't want nonfiction. I like autobiographies and history."
Then there's those memorably weird (sometimes unsettling) queries:
"Do you have books on monkeys, monkeys doing things like people?" (turns out they wanted monkeys having sex)
“This is the only bookstore I've ever been in that didn't have a popcorn machine."
"I'm here for a Bible, not the KJV or anything. I'm looking for the original. You know the one that God wrote."
"My new girlfriend is pretty churchy. Would a Gutenberg Bible be a good gift?"
"Do you have any books with red covers? I'm redecorating my living room in red."
Cust asks about return policy so I ask her why.... "Well if I don't lose weight I should be able to return the book right?"
"I'm looking for white supremacy books. I tried to order them and they were stopped at the border. Can you imagine?!"
"What do you mean? Why can't I leave my 3-5 yo (unattended) in your shop while I go next door?!?"
Customer asks where 'nonfiction' is. I say it's broken up into history/bio etc. She calls us a bad bookstore. Really?
And that saying about how "the customer is always right"? Not so much.
My favorite mistaken title: The Glass Menage a Trois.
Customer asked for THE ONION IN THE CLOSET; wanted INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD.
Woman asked for CRUCIBLE, I gave it to her, she said "not the screenplay. The REAL one."
2nd week as bkseller, lady looking for the KITE WALKER. Was pissed when I suggested that KITE RUNNER might be a quicker read.
Oooo Ooo - Tillers of the Earth. Was completely insulted when I suggested she might be looking for Pillars of the Earth.
"Do you have Atlas Rugged?". "Uh. No, don't you mean Atlas Shrugged, by Ayn Rand?". "No. I need Atlas Rugged."
Sometimes, these experiences lead to rewarding moments of win:
"I'm looking for a book. It had a chicken on the cover & my sister really liked it." Total WIN. With no more info, we found it.
"Do you have those mystery novels by Angela Lansbury?" I said yes and showed him the books by "Jessica Fletcher." He was happy.
And perhaps my favorite:
Someone once told me that the US government classified ANGELS & DEMONS as fiction to help the Vatican with the cover-up.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010
The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest
The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson's internationally best-selling trilogy.
Lisbeth Salander - the heart of Larsson's two previous novels - lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She's fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she'll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge - against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.
Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.
Monday, July 19, 2010
During the previous year, I posted a lot about simplifying. I haven't abandoned my quest for simplicity, even if I haven't been writing much about it. I have been moving forward, but only in stages.
Sunday, July 18, 2010
Saturday, July 17, 2010
Friday, July 16, 2010
This past Tuesday was the monthly meeting of the Movie Day Book Club. Last month, we read Home by Marilynne Robinson, and we both really enjoyed it. Robinson's writing is just beautiful, and she explores complicated human issues with both wisdom and respect for the intricate relationship between reality and mystery. But as much as I enjoyed Home, it didn't come near the beauty of her previous book Gilead. Now that book is on my short-list of best novels of all time.
Thursday, July 15, 2010
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
Just a glimpse
Last year, I took a class in Writing Creative Nonfiction at Ole Miss. One of our first assignments was to write a memoir; one limited in scope, of course, but covering an event of obvious significance in our lives.
When it comes to writing, I'm not usually a procrastinator. Maybe that comes from being a non-traditional undergrad student who was too afraid that if she put off writing a paper until the day before it was due, one or all of her children would wake up with projectile vomiting and uncontrollable diahhrea, or maybe I just realized that my brain works better if I allow myself time to let ideas take root and grow. Either way, I was always the student who started writing the day after the paper was assigned. (You can probably already tell I have control issues.)
I've written many critical analysis papers, even some fiction and poetry. But the thought of putting my life on paper for others to see left me reluctant even to turn on my laptop, much less to begin trying to find words and shape sentences that would lay myself bare to a classroom full of critics and a demanding professor. Then finally, after producing what I thought was a no-holds barred expose', the most often-repeated response to my memoir was, "You left out what we most want to know!"
This is not a new problem for me. I've started multiple diaries and journals only to either abandon them because the introspection required was too painful (you have to be honest with yourself when you are your only audience) or because I was afraid that someone would find my words and actually read them. Yet, all my life the words that others were brave enough to write have given me great joy. I have no illustions that my words here will illuminate anyone's life or bring joy to the multitudes. I simply want to gain the courage to speak, to reveal myself, but I must admit, at first it will probably be only in small glimpses. That's enough for me now.
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
I've spent a lot of my time this summer reading for pleasure, and it's been fun. However, all good things must come to an end. Last Fall, I sent off a proposal for the 2010 JASNA general meeting, and it was accepted. Now I've got to write the paper. By August 1. Sigh.
Henry Tilney: Austen’s Feminized Hero?
In Northanger Abbey, Austen praises the novel form as she satirizes elements of the gothic novel, particularly the female gothic: the castle; the atmosphere of mystery and suspense; the inexplicable events; the powerful, tyrannical male; the woman in distress. Jane Spencer and other critics have noted an additional element: the weak hero. These critics claim that, in the eighteenth-century female gothic novel, the heroine triumphs over male authoritarianism by marriage to a “feminized hero,” achieving a union “where womanly virtue and patriarchal authority are no longer in conflict” (Rise of the Woman Novelist, 207).
This paper will explore the character of Henry Tilney as Austen’s clever acknowledgement and rebuttal of this feminization of the hero. Austen does “feminize” Henry. He is well aware of accepted female behaviors—“their delightful habit of journalizing,” for instance—and is eloquently able to describe the contents of the perfect feminine journal entry (NA 27). He “understands muslins . . . particularly well” and has often been entrusted with the choice of his sister’s gowns (28). He’s an avid reader of novels, although Catherine assumes that women read novels while “gentlemen read better books” (106). Yet Austen, in her other novels, discourages even hints of effeminacy and champions virtuous masculinity. So, how should readers view Henry’s “feminization”? Austen’s other heroines triumph, not by acquiring weak, feminized husbands, but by securing one who is both manly and virtuous. Is this true for Catherine also?
Monday, July 12, 2010
Do you have friends and family to share books with? Discuss them with? Does it matter to you?
It does matter to me.
My oldest son is the only other reader in the family, and we do talk about books, but we are not often reading the same one. So, earlier this year a friend and I decided to choose one book a month to read. On a certain day each month, we drive to Little Rock to have a nice lunch and discuss the novel. Afterwards, we go to Market Street and see a film. Then, we discuss the film on the drive back.
It's a great system. We used to say, "We need to go see a movie sometime" or "We ought to have a book club," but it never happened Having a particular day set aside for it causes us to put it on our calenders and take it seriously. We're discussing our third novel this week--Home, by Marilynne Robinson.
Sunday, July 11, 2010
Saturday, July 10, 2010
Friday, July 9, 2010
Thursday, July 8, 2010
Wednesday, July 7, 2010
I had a post a while back on Barbie's 50th birthday that included a translation of the doll's size over to an average-height female body. Barbie, in real life, would measure 36-15-33, an unrealistic size that would require the removal of a bone and would have too low a percentage of fat to allow for menstruation and pregnancy.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
These statistics come from an article by Hanna Rosin in the July/August 2010 issue of The Atlantic:
- Earlier this year, for the first time in American history, the balance of the workforce tipped toward women, who now hold a majority of the nation's jobs.
- For every two men who will receive a B.A. this year, three women will do the same
- Of the 15 job categories projected to grow the most in the next decade in the U.S., all but two are occupied primarily by women.
- According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, women now hold 51.4% of managerial and professional jobs--up from 26.1% in 1980.
- Women make up 54% of all accountants and hold about half of all banking and insurance jobs.
- About 1/3 of American physicians are now women, as are 45% of associates in law firms--and both of those percentages are rising fast.
- Only 3% of Fortune 500 CEOs are women, and the number has never risen much above that.
- While female CEOs may be rare in America's largest companies, they are highly prized: last year, they outearned their male counterparts by 43%, on average, and received bigger raises.
- Women now earn 60% of master's degrees, about half of all law and medical degrees, and 42% of all MBAs. Most important, women earn almost 60% of all bachelor's degrees.
- In a stark reversal since the 1970's, men are now more likely than women to hold only a high-school diploma.
- Women ages 25 to 34 with only a high-school diploma currently have a median income of $25,747, while men in the same position earn $32,469.
- [Many colleges and universities are] tipping toward 60% women, a level many admissions officers worry could permanently shift the atmosphere and reputation of a school.
- This is the first time that the cohort of Americans ages 30-44 has more college-educated women than college-educated men.
- In 1970, women contributed 2-6% of the family income. Now the typical working wife brings home 42.2%, and 4 in 10 mothers--many of them single mothers--are the primary breadwinners in their family.
- In 1970, 84% of women ages 30-44 were married; now 60% are. In 2007, among American women without a high-school diploma, 43% were married.
Monday, July 5, 2010
Far from the Madding Crowd
By Thomas Hardy
Narrated by John Lee
Publisher: Tantor Media
13 hours 52 minutes
Gabriel Oak is only one of three suitors for the hand of the beautiful and spirited Bathsheba Everdene. He must compete with the dashing young soldier Sergeant Troy and the respectable, middle-aged Farmer Boldwood. And while their fates depend upon the choice Bathsheba makes, she discovers the terrible consequences of an inconstant heart.
Far from the Madding Crowd was the first of Hardy's novels to give the name Wessex to the landscape of southwest England and the first to gain him widespread popularity as a novelist. Set against the backdrop of the unchanging natural cycle of the year, the story both upholds and questions rural values with a startlingly modern sensibility.
Thomas Hardy brings us an England that once existed but no more. It is rural, traditional, pastoral - a society of mannered conduct that flows like a deep river where powerful currents eddy and swirl. In this powerful novel of love and disillusion, Hardy's heroine is torn between the three men in her life. Passionate but capricious, her romantic involvements have fascinated generations of readers.
It was as a poet that Hardy wished to be remembered, but today critics regard his novels as an even more memorable contribution to English literature for their psychological insight, their instinctive delineation of English character, and their profound presentation of great tragedy.
Sunday, July 4, 2010
Saturday, July 3, 2010
The children of Mr. and Mrs. Manley invite all family and friends to attend a come-and-go reception honoring their parents on Sunday, July 11, 2010, between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 at the Marianna Community House.
Friday, July 2, 2010
"'It hurts to be beautiful' has been a cliche for centuries. What has been far less appreciated is how much it hurts not to be beautiful. The Beauty Bias explores our cultural preoccupation with attractiveness, the costs it imposes, and the responses it demands.
Beauty may be only skin deep, but the damages associated with its absence go much deeper. Unattractive individuals are less likely to be hired and promoted, and are assumed less likely to have desirable traits, such as goodness, kindness, and honesty. Three quarters of women consider appearance important to their self image and over a third rank it as the most important factor.
Although appearance can be a significant source of pleasure, its price can also be excessive, not only in time and money, but also in physical and psychological health. Our annual global investment in appearance totals close to $200 billion. Many individuals experience stigma, discrimination, and related difficulties, such as eating disorders, depression, and risky dieting and cosmetic procedures. Women bear a vastly disproportionate share of these costs, in part because they face standards more exacting than those for men, and pay greater penalties for falling short.
The Beauty Bias explores the social, biological, market, and media forces that have contributed to appearance-related problems, as well as feminism's difficulties in confronting them. The book also reviews why it matters. Appearance-related bias infringes fundamental rights, compromises merit principles, reinforces debilitating stereotypes, and compounds the disadvantages of race, class, and gender. Yet only one state and a half dozen localities explicitly prohibit such discrimination. The Beauty Bias provides the first systematic survey of how appearance laws work in practice, and a compelling argument for extending their reach. The book offers case histories of invidious discrimination and a plausible legal and political strategy for addressing them. Our prejudices run deep, but we can do far more to promote realistic and healthy images of attractiveness, and to reduce the price of their pursuit."