Sunday, January 18, 2009

The Sunday Paper

Today's Sunday edition of the Los Angeles Times features several writers considering what effect the presidency of Barack Obama will have on culture.

As LA Times Book Editor David Ulin writes:

Writers are contrarians. Ask a group of them a simple question -- What might the presidency of Barack Obama mean for literature and culture? -- and you get a range of answers, from the high-minded to the tongue-in-cheek. You get essays, riffs, wishes for the future as well as reflections on the past and what it has meant. You get, in other words, the kind of mix that feels only appropriate at a moment in our history when so many of us are caught somewhere between hope and terror, looking forward to a new era in American politics, even as we worry about an economy in free fall and a world that daily seems to grow more chaotic.

Jane Smiley, Susan Straight, Ruben Martinez, Ben Ehrenreich and Rebecca Solnit weigh in.

Here's a snippet from Straight:

My eldest daughter, who is majoring in African American studies, read Barack Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father," last summer. And she said to me in wonder, "It's a beautiful book. He's a great writer."

A president who is a great writer, who has said in interviews that he enjoyed Marilynne Robinson's novel "Gilead," noting, "The language just shimmers." A president who uses the word "shimmers." A president who has also said, "Nothing has a bigger impact than reading to children early in life."

Lovers of American literature should be thrilled.

To peruse the selections, click here.


Please note that beginning this week, the number of readings happening around the county begins to increase. Take a look at the sidebar and see what's coming up.

1 comment:

Special Needs Mama said...

Personally, I want to be part of the team of rivals.

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