Saturday, March 31, 2007

Industrial magic

Philip Oltermann at the Guardian has a very nice little piece at the Guardian about the Quaker Homeless Action's mobile library--it will warm the cockles of your heart--really I need to embark on some massive and reading-related service-type project, it's at the back of my head but of course there are always more pressing things--however once my new novel comes out I am determined to get going on that, find a really good way of doing it (something to do with teenagers and libraries I suppose--maybe teenage felons--the other thing I read this week that made me feel absolutely ashamed was Jason DeParle's absolutely devastating NYRB piece about the American prison system, I always have this in the back of my head as the lurking thing that really I will be permanently ashamed of myself later for never having done anything about, I know people feel like this about animal rights & I take the point but surely we are going to look back from the middle of the 21st century--if the world has not started to fall apart in Mad Max-style post-apocalyptic chaos, which really I believe it will, although for some reason this does not stop me putting all my spare dollars in a retirement account, it's like going to the dentist even when you are skeptical about your own future!--and find our most devastating moral failure of these decades to have been the growth of an abusive and inhumane home-grown prison system that erodes the humanity of prisoners and guards and has destroyed the future of millions--DeParle calmly shows the scope of the fallout, it is pretty much what you suspected but still horrifying to see it on the page like this--very effective piece of writing, I must say...).


  1. Have you read Mark Salzman's True Notebooks: A Writer's Year at Juvenile Hall?

  2. No, but I remember reading about it when it came out--do you recommend it?

  3. Yes, an interesting perspective if you're thinking about working with juvenile offenders.

  4. You can donate books to Books2Prisoners in New Orleans! They are collecting books to make libraries in each of the four juveniles detention facilities around the city.

    I wrote all about it at Chasing Ray and many folks did send books (I have a category of entries called "Books for NOLA kids"). I just heard from them the other day and they are thrilled with the books they are getting. They'd love more books aimed at minority teens though (middle grade age and up). I'm having a really tough time finding sources for those.

    Anyway, it's a good cause and all help is much appreciated!

    Colleen aka Chasing Ray