It isn’t a glamorous thing to do, but you have to do it: Recent Reading

Dead Blondes and Bad Mothers: Monstrosity, Patriarchy, and the Fear of Female Power: Sady Doyle

I gulped this down in one sitting, so I’ll have to come back to it in order to write more substantially about it. It hits many of my areas of interest: Gothic literature, monsters, mythology, horror movies (the title is a reference to Psycho), cultural criticism, and philosophy.

Doyle covers horror movies, Mary Shelley, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me, and the Brontës–all I needed to know before grabbing this one. Doyle covers true-life horrors, largely performed against women, along with fictional counterparts. It’s going in the re-read stack soon.

The Women of David Lynch: ed. by Scott Ryan and David Bushman
Speaking of dead blondes and bad mothers. The best part about this collection is that it contains a variety of feminine perspectives on an artist that I’ve been thinking about for almost thirty years. And even though all the writers are women, they disagree with each other. There isn’t one feminist or feminine perspective, which is something that gets lost on pundits who never define their terms–or just don’t want to because a straw woman argument is easier. I find the differing opinions interesting and valuable and challenging.

Initially, one of the challenges for me was the variety of approaches that qualify as “essays.” Some read like lists or journal entries. At first this bugged me, but later I appreciated these approaches. Maybe they just weren’t designed for me as a reader. Maybe I’ll be more open to them on a second read. I should have expected this, since it is not strictly an academic collection. Women artists, singers, and curators all contributors.

This is another one I gulped down in almost a single reading.

Also, Charlotte Stewart has a book out and I found out she was Miss Beadle!

True West: Sam Shepard
The first play I read by Shepard was Buried Child and I immediately engrossed in it. It felt like the first time I read Endgame. True West didn’t have the same effect, but it’s one that I want to see live because I felt I was missing something–I know that’s the case with drama, but sometimes the page experience can be akin to the stage.

On a first read, I appreciated the menace the older brother Lee had. There was a sense that anything could go wrong at any time with him around. And it mostly does.

If on a winter’s night a traveler: Italo Calvino
I posted about this one earlier and I feel like if you’re a book nerd and enjoy writers like Rabelais, Borges, and Stanislaw Lem, then this is going to be a lot of fun.

I’ve heard it referred to as hypermetafiction. It’s a book about making books and the act of reading them. The shifting genres and perspectives felt like reading straight through a Choose Your Own Adventure without following any choices.

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