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July 16, 2018

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JanieM, these seem like incredibly worthwhile things to read. Thanks.

Item 1 - Having known recent immigrants, recently naturalized citizens, and having been interested in refugee issues, I hope to have the focus to read this memoir. "American exceptionalism" in the way I defined it, an aspirational mythology of America as Emma Lazarus imagined it, nothing affirmed that more for me than knowing refugees from Bosnia who became American citizens. Sadly, those friends are rethinking after the Charlottesville neo-Nazi violence, and Putin's antics. [And my aspirational mythology/hope doesn't dismiss the reality of America's genocide and slavery, etc.]

Item 2 - Family secrets. Hmmm. Revelations of long-kept secrets have a way of changing one's life.

Item 3 - I probably won't get to this, although I have attended some fascinating writers' workshops. It would be enormous work to tell one's own story. One has to have confidence that one's story is worth telling. Maybe step one?

Thanks, sapient.

I meant to add a link to Abdi Nur Iftin on This American Life, which is where I first heard his story.

I tend to like reading better than listening; I take in information better that way. People at work are always recommending podcasts and somehow I never get around to them. But I do listen to stuff in the car sometimes, even if kind of randomly. Anyhow, it's nice to have various channels of communication.

I tend to like reading better than listening; I take in information better that way.

Me too, in spades. However, not only can I not read upsetting novels these days (as confessed in a previous books thread), but memoirs and non-fiction in general, if dealing with certain things (the holocaust, abuse of children or other vulnerable people) are also currently a no-go area despite their having been my meat and drink for years. From when I was more robust, however, I remember Lorna Sage's memoir Bad Blood, which I thought was terrific, and also Martin Amis's Experience which I think was absolutely wonderful. I find him very flawed (although hugely gifted) as a novelist, but this memoir was fantastic and I highly recommend it for anyone who hasn't read it.

got my reading list for the rest of the summer now.

thanks janie!

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