Books I couldn’t finish

RozChast is a staff cartoonist for The New Yorker.  She wrote Can’t We Talk about Something More Pleasant? a graphic memoir of her parents dying; first trying to discuss death with them, then being with them in their final years.  I know it was on the New York Times Bestseller list at some point, but I found it A Bit Much.  Maybe I just had it easier with my parents.  I was here in Arizona when my father died back in Detroit.  And it was nice having Mom  live with me here for her last six months.  Hospice in the home made it work.


This is a summary from the New Yorker:
(The hardcover book is 228 pages.)

The next one I didn’t finish reading is Cinderella Ate My Daughter by Peggy Orenstein, also a New York Times Best Seller.  Wikipedia describes it thus:

The book explores the phenomenon of princess culture and in particular how the concept is marketed to young girls.

As I hate pink and Barbie dolls, the Disneyfication of Grimm’s fairy tales and Hans Christian Andersen’s The Little Mermaid, I dressed my daughter in blue (which looked great with her blue eyes), did not buy any Disney story books, and refused to buy her a Barbie.  (Two of her aunts  felt sorry for the poor girl, who was not exactly deprived, and both bought her Barbies one Xmas, so I had to deal with all of those tiny high-heeled shoes caught in the rug.)   But my daughter didn’t want to deprive her daughter, who has a closet of pink and even a huge Barbie dollhouse.  So to read about the marketing of all of this dreck made me sick to my stomach.

But I read a few good parts in the book included the discussion of X: A Fabulous Child’s Story (which, of course, I had) about a child – X – raised to like both boy and girl clothes (in yellow and green) and toys, both dolls and cars.  Also the discussion of Grimm’s fairy tales and how totally horrible they are.  For example, at the end of Cinderella…

For the doves were still perching on the girl’s shoulders. And as they walked into the church, the doves each leaned over and pecked out one of the sister’s eyesAfter the prince and the girl with no name were married, they all left the church, and the older step-sister walked on the bride’s left side this time, and the younger one on her right side. And so the doves leaned over and pecked out the other eye from each of them.

And apparently, from studies by psychologists, this blood and gore does not harm little children.  Much better for them than bland happy endings.  (How real is that?)

Articles I could finish

But basically because they were short enough.  This is continuing my Landscape Architecture study.

There were a series of articles from Landscape Journal, Spring 1991 on The Avant-garde and the Landscape: Can They Be Reconciled? There was a lot of high-fallutin talk, discussing landscape in terms of …

moving into that domain [chance and change] sets the stage for the establishment of a dialectic that ends neither in the elimination of one side (as with Socrates), nor with simple or not so simple contradiction (as with Kant), but with something that Neils Bohr dubbed “complementarity.”

Really.  Discussing Bohr’s theory of nuclear particles in an article about landscape?  But there is interesting discussions of earthworks, Christo’s Valley Curtain (see the tiny people at the bottom?) and Smithson’s Spiral Jetty, among others.  No plants are used in these Avant-garde “landscapes”.


The other article was Radical Romanticism.  (You can request these  articles from the library and they email you digital copies.)  Discussion of Frederick Law Olmstead (as in New York’s Central Park and other marvelous creations).  But especially like Bernard Tschumi’s Parc de la Villette in Paris, with its grid of deconstructed red cube “follies”.  I remember taking the kids to it when they were young.  (I never digitized my photos, so this from the internet.)


Our weather is finally “cool” (84°/55°, typical, and we call that “cool” – my daughter calls 70°/37° weather in Idaho “warm”) and each night I open the sliders to screens.

daylilies 002The other night a butterfly fluttered in.  I placed it outside on a plant (then noticed the next morning that its wings were shredded).  As I was going back in a spider skittered in.  Taking that out to the rosemary (a cup over it, a card under it), a small praying mantis ambled in.  As I took it out a cricket jumped in.  All to the rosemary.

daylilies 003One drizzly day, into the evening.  The plants have gotten quite excited about the extra rain.  More trimming to do.  But my rain lilies, which I had thought were dead during the summer, not even a leaf, have miraculously appeared again.  Bulbs are incredible.

This morning a ruckus outside.  A snuffing growl, probably a javelina, and a high-pitched bark of pain, probably a coyote.  I couldn’t see what had happened, halfway to the wash from my back fence, but bet a coyote tried to grab a small javelina and got gored by a parent.

Memorial Service

nancy 001Yesterday evening a memorial service for an artist friend, Nancy Tokar Miller, who had lost her battle with cancer after many years.  (The painting I have of hers is in my dining room, and I took a photo of a work of hers at the Louis Carlos Bernal Gallery, here at Pima, for a blog1.)

There looked to be more than 250 people in the Tucson Museum of Art courtyard.  About eight people spoke – the TMA curator, a collector and two artists, all of whom I know from the Contemporary Art Society (which Nancy convinced me to join), the owner of Etherton Gallery who carries her work, a friend from the Orchid Society, and relatives, followed by a buffet.  A lovely celebration of her life and art.


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One Response to “Books I couldn’t finish”

  1. Jim Says:

    I get the most reliable news from “The Economist” magazine, Guardian, Deutsch Welle, World News Telegraph and BBC. I am now following Ebola, Ukraine, Gaza, Iran, Syria, EU, UN and ISIS, the US plutocratic government and the slanders, murders and suicides constantly going on everywhere. I find it far more illuminating and entertaining than reading fiction.

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