My student, Robert Iulo, gives me copies of the journals in which his essays appear. Last week he brought me “Tomato Slices” with his piece, La Cosa Nostra. It’s about his Neopolitan-American aunt marrying a Sicilian-American man, not “as tragic as Romeo and Juliet…except where cooking was concerned.” Fun in class when we critiqued it. Fun to see it in print.
And fun to read “The Right Side of Love” a one-act play by Laurie Graff. I missed her October stage reading because of my book launch, but saw her wonderful play, “The Incredible Egg,” last year. Laurie, my first student to have a book published, wrote all of “You Have to Kiss a Lot of Frogs” in class.
On my shelf of students’ books, too, is Harilyn Rousso’s beautiful memoir, “Don’t Call Me Inspirational: A Disabled Feminist Talks Back,” which I recently reread. Again, Harilyn put me in the room where it was happening. Again, I was blown away.
Seeing and listening to Justice Sonia Sotomayor speak at the Aspen Institute at MOMA Friday night made me want to invite her over. Brilliant! Human! Engaged! Instead I began rereading her memoir, “My Beloved World.” My nightstand pile now has 19 fewer books than Zadie Smith’s (see my Dec.6 blog, ”From Zadie Smith to Doris Zich”).
“Cruel Beautiful World” by Caroline Leavitt kept me up all night a few weeks ago. Such good characters. What a story! I was there. I gave it to my husband. He stayed up another night in Leavitt’s world.
We both just finished “And Every Morning the Way Home Gets Longer and Longer,” by Fredrik Backman about a boy and his grandfather. And more. Here are a few lines from p. 1:
Isn’t that the best of all of life’s ages, an old man thinks as he looks at his grandchild. When a boy is just big enough to know how the world works but still young enough to refuse to accept it.
Fortunately, “Noahnoah” what Grandpa calls Noah, the little boy, because he likes his grandson’s name twice as much as everyone else’s refuses to accept things as they are and has a strong supporter in Grandpa.
We bought Backman’s book “A Man Called Ove” last night. Guess who got first dibs? Jonathan wanted one book on his nightstand, too.