Thursday, April 04, 2024

Some Annotated Reading April 4

This is two weeks worth of reading, because I was a lazy blogger last week.

The Poet Laureate Project 

I read some Robert Penn Warren, who was both our third poetry consultant (the precursor to the poet laureate position) and, a couple of decades later, our first poet laureate. I read his novel, All the King's Men, when I was a teenager and felt I'd done some grown-up reading. I wasn't even aware he was a poet until a couple of weeks ago. And he is a poet I find accessible. I particularly like Tell Me a Story and True Love.  

The Francophonie Project

I managed to finish reading Menuet by Guy de Maupassant. It is about a man who meets an elderly dance instructor and his elderly wife, a dancer. Or it may be about something deeper regarding the narrator. Reading this raised a lot of questions for me about how we judge short stories now and how short stories from the past relate to that. Which is interesting, because what reading this in French and English was supposed to do was improve my French. Francophonie Month is over now, so I can put this book back on my To Be Read Shelf, where it has been for years.

Some Serious Cultural Reading

The Rise and Fall of the Trad Wife by Sophie Elmhirst at The New Yorker. This was enlightening. The woman who was the main focus of this article was interested in the trad wife lifestyle, because she was into nostalgia. If that's the attraction for others, too, then that makes some sense. I, personally, think nostalgia of most--nah, of all--kinds is dangerous, but, again, nostalgia would provide an explanation for what's going on here. What I still don't understand is why women who choose to live this way want to tell the world about it. My guess is that they are hoping to monetize a blog or attract a big following so they can sell them a book. But that isn't exactly what we think of as trad wife behavior, is it? And why did they choose the trad wife lifestyle to try to make money off from? Why did they think people would "buy" that? Yes, I know some of them were right. But, still, where did this come from?


We Are Unable To Offer You A Place At Yale Because Your Essay Read Like The Closing Narration Of A Teen Rom-Com by Amelia Tait at McSweeney's. I still feel a need to read things with childlit/YA connections.

When a Recipe Says It's "Quick and Easy" by Jiji Lee and Patrick Clair at McSweeney's. I wish I'd thought of this.

Listen, Cat: I'm Not the Out-of-Control Infant You Once Knew by Nick Gregory at Points in Case. We have a cat. We have a preschooler in the family. 

Suggestions For Rebooting The Marvel Cinematic Universe From Farmer, Essayist, And Poet Wendell Berry by Jeff King at McSweeney's. Here's what you have to understand about Wendell Berry and me--Years ago, I was a member of a reading group in which there was another member who was humorless, narrow-minded, judgmental, and unpleasant. (No, I am not talking about myself.) She was a huge Wendell Berry fan and suggested we read one of his books. As a result, I know Wendell Berry's name.  But reading him? I just can't.

American Expat in France: Probably Don't Do This by Kat Garcia in The Belladonna Comedy. What I particularly liked about this is that while it appears to be a list, it is really a story.

Ten Reasons to Run That You, a Parent Who Hates Running, Can Give Your Kid Who Also Hates Running by Lily Hirsch at Frazzled. The title is a little long and awkward, but that's part of the joke, and it really does tell you exactly what this funny piece is about. 

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