http://www.nytimes.com/2013/11/18/books/doris-lessing-novelist-who-won-2007-nobel-is-dead-at-94.html?_r=0

I can barely begin to articulate what her work has meant to me, suffice to say I think of her as a close relative in my family tree of influence. I wrote this in response to The Golden Notebook and I think it is as true today as the day I wrote it:

One of the themes she repeats is that sense, not just of destiny, or service, but sacred trust as an artist... in her case a writer who wants to give up writing, (as I have since last autumn) because she is too sad about the state of the world, is suffering from the breakdown of meaning as language is abused to the ends of violence and oppression, (even within the party she once believed in), and the knowledge that it cannot win her the love she craves.

She has her own tag if you want to see any more:

http://zalena.livejournal.com/tag/lessing
I'm about half way through the 2nd volume of Doris Lessing's autobiography, which closely matches the material in The Golden Notebook, which I finally read last year. I still haven't written about reading The Golden Notebook... in some ways it hit too close to home. How could I respond or even address what she had already written so perfectly. The book is not for everyone, I find I cannot recommend it, and yet... there is a reason I think it resonates so deeply with the readers it does find. For me, I keep repeating, "This is the 1950s and so little has changed!"

Read more... )
It's snowing!

Last year I missed both autumn and first snow because I was in Costa Rica.

This year, I am grateful for both.

Read more... )
I'm a few years late to this party, but thought the release of his latest book Level Up might be a chance to catch up on the work of noted graphic novelist (what's the correct phrase to use here) Gene Luen Yang. American Born Chinese is a mesh of three different narratives about the experience of growing up Asian American. Yang phrases it first through the Monkey King myth, then a school yard narrative, and then a kind of racist sitcom with a bucktoothed 'cousin' who comes to visit each year from China. The overall message is not only the brutality of cultural assimilation, but also the uneasy truce of where you come from and what comes before. Perhaps most moving is the mandate... as though it is from the gods... to be yourself, even if it's not particularly impressive or cool. The Monkey King, even after mastering incredible fighting forms, remains a monkey.

American Born Chinese )

Doris Lessing )
I finally finished The Four Gated City this weekend. I think I took almost a year to read this book. I was reading the Children of Violence series last summer, and this is the last of five books.

As I recall, I stopped reading The Four Gated City in September because of The Disaster. [My euphemism for 9/11 at this time.] My taste turned towards frivolous fiction, I couldn't bear to read serious books about the serious problems of a world that seems hell-bent on destroying itself.

Read more... )

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