Summer 2010: What are you reading?

I happened to catch an encore airing of Philsophy Talk’s annual Summer Reading Episode a few weeks ago which gave me some fresh recommendations, such as The Elegance of the Hedgehog by Muriel Barbery, which I am definitely planning on checking out soon.

One thing one of the featured guests said was that he considers books like friends, and you can be reading multiple books at any given time, and can pick which book you want to “hang out with” while you’re at the beach, and which book you want to “have a deep philosophical conversation with” when you’re feeling serious, just as we choose to hang out with different friends and acquaintances depending on the event or our mood.

With that in mind, allow me to share my current social circle…

The Autobiography of Alice B. Toklas by Gertrude Stein

This is the mature established writer friend who I’ve been seeing and on and off for nearly a year now. She kind of drones on and on but she inspires, giving me perseverance and igniting my imagination at the thought of past art movements, the fragile and temperamental nature of artists’ friendships, and bad-ass stories of driving through the French country side, picking up displaced WWI soldiers and taking them back home.


Valencia by Michelle Tea

This is my young crazy sceney lesbian friend who’s a live wire of love, lust, and experimentation. She simultaneously fascinates me and makes me happy to have a steady job and no drinking problem, but once I start hanging out with her, it’s really hard to stop!


The Quick and the Dead by Joy Williams

This is my middle age friend who has really good ideas, but her extreme world view and wacky wording makes it a little difficult to get what she’s saying. It seems like she’s speaking about things that have accumulated here on planet Earth, but she could possibly be talking symbolically and creating some great sub-structure behind her seeming narrative. I like hanging out with her in principle, but my mind kind of starts drifting when she starts talking…


Understanding Power by Noam Chomsky

This is my dearest friend. He helps me understand why the world is so messed up and why so many people live in poverty. He is really easy to understand and his intensity and intelligence is astonishing (maybe makes me a little jealous). It takes a lot of energy to hang out but I am sure we will be life-long friends because he’s one of the people who continually inspire me to live a humanitarian and environmentally responsible life, no matter how inconvenient or expensive.

So, who are you hanging out with this summer? And who do you want to meet?

3 thoughts on “Summer 2010: What are you reading?”

  1. I had the pleasure of knowing Rose from the time she was 8 to about my age. It’s a real light reading, anyone can meet her and although her stories are simple you just have to be alert enough to get the message. We can wish to have “special” skills, but you might want to meet her before considering that.

  2. I’m hanging out with the Harry Potter gang this summer. Watching some of the early Potter movies over and over and over again with my 2-year-old, I felt a need to relieve the ensuing monotony by delving deeper into the stories. The first two books are essentially like the movies. Once the books start getting fatter, the stories get much more compelling. Just started book 6, the Half-Blood Prince. Been trying to hang out more with Snape, but he’s been very elusive. I guess you can’t force someone to be your friend.

  3. I am drawn into this graphic novel as if I were there.
    Alison Bechdel’s review:
    In this book, Howard Cruse explores the structures of racism and homophobia with a complexity that resonates in his astonishingly intricate drawings. Reading Stuck Rubber Baby is an acutely sensuous experience, from its powerful visuals to the virtually audible jazz lyrics and freedom songs that weave in and out of the narrative. With unflinching honesty and meticulous craft, Cruse brings the confusion and exhilaration of social upheaval to vivid life.

    Alison Bechdel
    Dykes To Watch Out For

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