Joyce Carol Oates did not attend the Hunter Writing Center Dinner at the Sherry Netherland honoring Joyce Carol Oates. Her husband was ill. She flew to his bedside. I still ate many hors d’oeuvres, dinner, and dessert, a cake with the names of the invited writers and Hunter faculty members. Seated next to me at dinner was a prominent doctor, older than I am, who said that in all his years practicing medicine, he never prescribed as many antidepressants as he has since the last presidential election. I didn’t want to go there, not in a little black dress at a fancy event. I didn’t want to discuss Trump or anyone else, particularly not Betsy DeVos, who would keep my food from going down. I steered the conversation with the doctor to other aspects of his work and then to our kids and grand kids. The company and evening turned out lover-ly.
“Educated” by Tara Westover is good. Shopping at the Strand yesterday afternoon and seeing “Finding Mr. Rightstein” on the memoir table between “Educated” and Michelle Obama’s “Becoming” was better. I skipped to the check-out with my purchases, smiling at the John Waters’ picture and also at the magnets with his quote, “If you go home with somebody and they don’t have books, don't fuck them.”
What do you think: Have our current president and Betsy DeVos ever been inside the Strand Bookstore? Inside any bookstore? Have they ever heard of John Waters?