Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Seattle Public Library, our Book Club and The Spinster

I will rant a bit on how ridiculous the "rebranding opportunity" for Seattle Public Library is to spend half a million dollars on changing its name by one letter in a venture that has nothing to do with books or programs to further reading and learning as stated in their new brand statement. Take the survey:  https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/PBTWRN2
And who goes to the Libraries? I go to my branch of the Seattle Public Library but not to the Libraries. It sounds pretentious and inaccurate. If it is their desire to expand into plural libraries, why not pay to reciprocate fully with the King County Library System so we can place holds with them. And there's no getting around the sickening waste of money by an organization that is annually strapped for funds. Madness prevails, or marketing models. Next they'll call it Amazonlibrary or Googlibrary like the sports arenas. Don't even suggest it.

This year we have a good selection of book club titles, international and domestic, new and old, to make up our reading list for this year which are listed below. The voting session went smoothly and quickly and probably deciding on dates was the most challenging use of our time. Helen's heavenly sour cream lemon pie was the reward for our endeavors.

Lispector, Clarice. Near to the Wild Heart (Brazilian) - October
Maxwell, William. They Came Like Swallows (American) - November
Doyle, Brian. The Plover (American) - December
Daoud, Kamel. Meurault Investigation with Camus' The Stranger (Algerian)- Jan
Vasquez, Juan Gabriel. The Sound of Things Falling (Colombian) - February
Zink, Nell. The Wallcreeper (American but German setting) - March
Mitchell, Judith Claire. A Reunion of Ghosts (American) - April
Gadda, Carlo Emilio. That Awful Mess on the Via Merulana (Italian) - May
Ferrante, Elena. My Brilliant Friend (Italian) - June

Last night I read The Spinster by Kate Bolick which is particularly enjoyable in its memoir sections, alternates with biographical and academic info and includes a good bibliography (my weakness:  more books to read). The narrator explains her own decision to live alone in spite of a long-term relationship and her fascination with literary figures from her Northeastern MA background who demonstrate how the "demands of domesticity can limit women's literary production". She describes five women and their lives and references others to support her thesis: New Yorker essayist and short story author Maeve Brennan (Alice Munro called her 1972 story, "The Springs of Affection,""one of her favorite short stories of all time.") Vogue editor and novelist Neith Boyce, poet Edna St. Vincent Millay, Edith Wharton and feminist writer ("The Yellow Wall-paper") Charlotte Perkins Gilman. I put the book aside for a moment and then when it became overdue, gobbled it up in an evening. That happens to me often with library due dates which my former profession instilled in me as "suggestions" rather than gospel, so I fund my Seattle Public Library rather than add to the bursting-at-the-seams volumes in my own.

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