Anything That Moves Me
November 14, 2016
Last year, explaining to a coworker why I didn't want to volunteer at the children's Halloween party, I said what I thought was obvious: "I don't feel like having the 'What happened to your hands' conversation a gazillion times."
She apologized, saying, "People just don't see it after a while."
That's nice for people. Because itís the deformities they stop seeing, not the disabilities. (more…)
November 12, 2016
I'm a reluctant member of Goodreads and other amateur book reviewing and rating sites, including Amazon. Maybe it's my age, although I think it's more about temperament. One of the best things about graduating from college (English major) was never having to write a research paper again, or a "book report." And that's what these sites feel like to me: a class assignment. (more…)
August 14, 2016
Advice from a Wild Deuce by Tiggy Upland
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
What's the best part of any newspaper or magazine? The advice column, of course. And what's the best kind of advice column? A sex advice column. If you're tired of Dan Savage's biphobia (I know, he got better, but still) and if you'd like something more real than Penthouse Forum, Jen Bonardi's Advice From a Wild Deuce : the Best of Tiggy Upland might be what you're looking for.
August 13, 2016
The hardest course I encountered in my four years of college was Economics 101. In high school I had been one of those annoying students who was good at everything, and I assumed that, even if I didn't find basic economics thrilling, I would be able to get a decent grade and satisfy the distribution requirements (still in force in the 1970s), allowing me to pursue the history, literature, and the gods help me, philosophy, courses I preferred. Instead, from the get-go, it felt as if I had walked onto a friendly neighbor's freshly-mowed lawn and fallen into a cesspit of crazy. (more…)
August 1, 2016
There is a disparaging quotation about Russia (more often now applied to the USA), claiming that it went directly from barbarism to decadence without passing through civilization. I thought of this after reading Hanya Yanagihara's A Little Life, last year's multiple-award nominated novel, only in this case it's bisexuality that has been skipped over. Not to equate bisexuality with civilization but .... it sometimes feels as if our society has moved within the span of a human life from homophobia and persecution to (in some places) acceptance of sexual and gender fluidity--without ever acknowledging bisexuality. (more…)
February 8, 2016
In Greek mythology, the Erinyes (Furies) are "the angry ones." They are chthonic (underworld) deities whose purpose is to punish crimes against the ancient "natural order": young against old; child against parent; host against guest. The furies are so terrifying that they are seldom called by name. The title of Euripides' play The Eumenides is a euphemism: "the kindly ones."
In my Christmas letter, I included a link to a video of me performing my latest work, "What is the Matter?" Apart from any question of poor judgment (guilty!) what has troubled me in some peoples' responses is what I would call a one- dimensional way of thinking about the subject of the piece: two points (terminals) linked by a shuttle. There is no place in the middle, much less a second or third dimension.
July 10, 2015
Louisa Meets Bear: Linked Stories by Lisa Gornick
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Generous, Compassionate, Beautifully-Written Novel of Linked Stories
Lisa Gornick's third published novel, Louisa Meets Bear, is that trickiest of formats: a collection of "short" stories (some novella-length) that are linked through connections between some of the characters. (more…)
April 20, 2015
A friend, one of those rare, almost mythical beings who reads fiction but has no desire to write it, once asked me if was true that a writer needs to have a boring life.
I said yes.
December 1, 2014
The Girl With 2 Hearts by T.T. Thomas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Honestly, I didn't expect to love this novel, just to like it. But T. T. Thomas is that kind of versatile writer: capable of producing subtle New Yorker-worthy short stories as in her series Sex on a Regular Basis; sophisticated comedies like Two Weeks at Gay Banana Hot Springs; beautifully-written historical romances like her last novel, A Delicate Refusal--and now this, a jaunty Young Adult adventure. (more…)
November 29, 2014
Maxine Wore Black by Nora Olsen
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
It takes a gifted writer like Nora Olsen to pull off a mash-up like this. From the reviews so far, it appears that Daphne du Maurier's timeless classic Rebecca (1938) has reached its sell-by date. Too bad, because if you haven't read it (or even heard of it) and are unfamiliar with its iconic gothic plot, you're not going to get Maxine. (more…)