Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Still Random

Day 35 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and if you survived the Ides of March, here we all are again!

First, whoa! Mike Peterson, this is for you! Did you know there was an opera based on Sophie's Choice, the novel by William Styron and the movie you love? There was, and there is! It's by Nicolas Maw, this adaptation into opera, and the film is directed by Trevor Nunn. And now you can pre-order the DVD at Amazon.

Second, Douglas, who was reading The Lovely Bones, is now reading Lucky, the memoir by Alice Sebold, about the real-life violence she experienced. The damage that is done when we do violence to one another has lasting consequences, as this book demonstrates. It is awful to contemplate, but if we don't contemplate it, how will we ever stop doing it?

This resonates with me daily, and very recently after a kitchen conversation last night with my husband, who was disappointed to learn that violence against women is happening even now in Haiti, during the earthquake aftermath, with girls and women made all the more vulnerable by the disruption and homelessness and nitty gritty realities like outside toilets, etc. I tried to remind him that it happens during every war...but "that's war," he said, almost excusing it, in the boys-will-be-boys way that gets me and Catharine A. MacKinnon all riled up...and so I did not, at that time, try to remind him that it is also happening daily in our towns, schools, cities, private homes, etc. We were cooking, and it is dangerous for us all if I get riled up while cooking. Or have to walk away for any reason. (Evidence: mildly melted microwave exterior on microwave mounted over stovetop.) And by setting us in the kitchen and offering parenthetical comedy, I do not mean to trivialize this. I mean to say it is with us daily. Daily. Every single day.

For a crash course in the legal complexities of it all, take a look at Sex Equality, a set of case studies. There are no reader reviews of this at Amazon, because this is for law students. But it gives you a sense of the relentlessness of it all, and the difficulties of combatting it legally. So I try to combat it in my own heart, and with well-timed conversations, and even in poetry. Sigh.... And by standing up to it when I see it. Woman naked in snow, man beating her with branch. Offer her help, call the police, and tell him "No!"

Whew! So this is when I will say that Douglas is also reading The Violent Bear it Away, by Flannery O'Connor, herself capable of getting riled up and using ironic humor at the same time. Thank you, Flannery O'Connor. Douglas is reading this for the umpteenth time because he is writing about the "holy children" in Flannery O'Connor. Not that O'Connor is saying at all the same thing that I am here, or that Catharine MacKinnon is. I would like to read your chapter, Douglas, on the holy children.

And Sonja is reading And the Shofar Blew, by Francine Rivers, about a young minister who has to confront the evil at hand on the way to the kingdom of Heaven, also at hand. A shofar is a ram's horn that calls us to action.

And so this is not so random after all.

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