What are your Rumblr editors reading this week? Well…
Molly: I spent a long time on various buses this past week, back and forth to New York (twice!), and so spent much of those trips reading lots of great long pieces: from spring of 2012, "What Happened to the Girls in Le Roy" in the NYT Magazine, yesterday’s truly great Rumpus essay "Girls in the Grass" by Angela Sebastian. I also read two great pieces from Casey Cep, "Emancipation" in Aeon Magazine and "Inheritance and Invention: Flannery O’Connor’s Prayer Journal" on the NYer Page Turner blog (RIP Book Bench, I will still always call you Book Bench). If you haven’t read the excerpt from O’Connor’s prayer journal in the NYer, do. (Here are some of my favorite lines.) Then I read Miriam Markowitz’s "Here Comes Everybody" in The Nation about publishing and diversity and VIDA, which is so smart but ultimately left me feeling lukewarm. Then I went back and read Francine Prose’s famous 1998 "Scent of a Woman’s Ink." I also read Gene Weingarten on children who are forgotten in cars by their parents and the die. It won a Pulitzer in 2009.
These last few days I have chiefly been listening to The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, which is nothing short of astonishing. It was recommended to me last winter and it is my own fault for waiting this long to pick it up. The book’s facility (and felicity) with language, it’s politics, it’s subtlety and complexity and also blunt force: I want to shout this book from the hilltops. Read it. Read it. I’m serious.
Lucy: I am reading Down the Nile by Rosemary Mahoney, a writre who took a long and solitary rowing trip down the Nile a few years ago. I read this book when it first came out and enjoyed it. Now I am rereading it and finding it a highly uncomfortable experience. Mahoney’s a great writer, and certainly an unusual one, but her characterizations of the Egyptians she meets and speaks with are often more than tinged with the same disturbing, imperialist generalizations that her white predecessors/heroes in the region–Florence Nightengale, Gustave Flaubert–made. I think I’m abandoning it.
Jen: I have been reading and completely obsessed by Jeff Guinn’s Manson: The Life of Charles Manson this week. I’ve also been terrified all week. The story of the Manson Family is totally fascinating, disgusting, and scary. Guinn showcases not only Manson’s, but also America’s extreme misogyny and racism in the 1960s. I am addicted to reading this.