Saturday, February 12, 2005

Idle moments

I did manage to squeeze in a little light reading: John Mortimer's Rumpole and the Primrose Path (I rarely read short story collections, crime or otherwise, but I make an exception for Rumpole, it's "for old times' sake"-type reading as I loved the Rumpole stories when I was a teenager); and Elizabeth Hand's Black Light (I liked this very much--it's got a more traditional narrative structure than Mortal Love, and the obsession with this Preraphaelite-y/Illuminati-type/weird bohemian/sex through the ages stuff is balanced out here by a really excellent combination of artsy NY suburb/sordid downtown art scene stuff--the novel's narrated by a wholly persuasive teenager with a really great voice--definitely a good read).

Mostly I've spent the last couple days at 2 really great Columbia events, a conference on Edmund Burke and another one in memory of Carolyn Heilbrun about women academics writing memoirs (the list is here). The memoirs I am most immediately going to get are Shirley Geok-Lin Lim's Among the White Moon Faces, Deborah McDowell's Leaving Pipe Shop: Memories of Kin and Leila Ahmed's A Border Passage: From Cairo To America--A Woman's Journey. I was also especially proud and happy to see Charlotte Pierce Baker (who I was lucky enough to have as my tenth-grade English teacher) present a piece from her harrowing and powerful book Surviving the Silence: Black Women's Stories of Rape.

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