Portrait of the Artist as Just an Artist

Should The Cosby Show still be on TV?

Do I have your attention?

What Bill Cosby did to women was despicable. It was wrong on all sorts of levels which is why he went to prison.

But his TV show, the one all about family values….should it be pushed aside to the bins?

Should the thousands of other people who worked on that show be forced to suffer in shame even thought they did nothing wrong?

Do we separate the artist from the art?

I have been struggling with this issue for awhile. There are many books, movies, music and art that I like and appreciate for their intrinsic value. It’s pretty to look at, or complex in its ideas. It makes me think or it inspires me. Is it wrong to look at a work of art and not contemplate who the artist is? Should we just get rid of all that intellectual property because of the person who made it?

So, I have decided to take a stand: I am going to separate art from the artist. I am going to enjoy a piece of work on its own merits. I am not going to look at the background of an artist.

My college book club is really focused on looking at the background of the authors of the books that we read. We spent the first ten minutes of the last book club hearing someone recite the bio of the author…

Why?

Can’t a book just be a book?

Shouldn’t a book stand on its own merits without knowing anything about the author? if you’re a scholar this could be very interesting. I understand many a thesis is based on looking into the life of an artist. But for the lay person? Should we need a reason for the art? Shouldn’t the art stand alone?

Does the authors bio really matter?

Does who the artist is really matter?

Should we separate art from the artist?

Discuss:

On a side note: Two of my blog friends wrote very thought provoking pieces yesterday. As they gave me much to think about, I thought that you might enjoy them as well:

http://theycallmetater.com/2021/05/03/free-speech-and-the-cheerleader/

https://bleuwater.me/2021/05/03/study-56-of-young-liberal-women/

My Month in Books- April

Nice weather +restrictions lifting= less reading

This is what I read from March 25- April 28

TitleAuthorHow I Heard About BookRating
Between Two Kingdoms: A Memoir of a Life InterruptedSuleika JaouadGoodreads List1
Homeland ElegiesAyad AkhtarNot Sure2
The Rules of MagicAlice HoffmanTea Book Club3
Your Fully Charged Life: A Radically Simple Approach to Having Endless Energy and Filling Every Day with YayMeaghan B. MurphyGood Housekeeping4
One By OneRuth Warenot sure5
Early Morning RiserKatherine HeinyReal Simple6
Sorrow & BlissMeg MasonCollege Book Club7
Burnt SugarAvni DoshiCollege Book Club8
Anywhere For YouAbbie Greavesin store browse at Barnes and Noble9
We Begin at the EndChris WhitakerBarnes and Noble Book Club10
These are the order in which I liked these books. It does not mean the last one is bad or the first one is great. It’s just how much I liked them this month
This months Book Bingo is brought to us by brilliant-books.net. Once again I was lucky in my selections and I have attained BINGO!!

Lighten the Load

I love chick lit.

I make no apologies.

I do not plan on turning in my feminist card. If someone made me, I would gladly give up feminism in favor of chick lit.

I like a story of a plucky woman who has gone through some sort of adversity. I like how she screws up but all things come out at the end. I like a happy ending.

Now, this does not exclude me from reading other types of literature. I can do sad and depressing with the best of them. The books that fall under these categories are traditionally better for book clubs. What book club doesn’t like to bond over tears?

But back to chick lit…

There are two authors I’ve been reading for over 20 years. Let’s call them Jennifer Red and Jane Hotdog. In the beginning I loved these authors. I read everything they wrote as soon as it came out in paperback. Sometimes, I even sprung for the hardcover. I kept my copies of these books.

These authors spoke to me.

It was as if they were reading my mind.

And as the years went on, these authors changed up their books. They were no longer writing about plucky women making little errors, losing their way and then finding their way back. They began to write about deep subjects. Adultery. Depression. Drug abuse.

Fine.

Anyone can write about anything.

However…

In my opinion, maybe, just maybe, writing about these subjects wasn’t really great for these authors. Maybe these authors weren’t really cut out for heavier fiction. Maybe these heavier books weren’t quite as good as the other lighter fare. I no longer enjoy the works of these authors as much as I once did.

It takes a really good writer to write a good chick lit book. You have to make the characters real. You need to make the situations somewhat realistic. You need to have a good sense of humor. These are all skills…skills that should not be undervalued just because the book is not Booker Prize worthy…

Just like writing a weightier tome has its own individual skillset.

Writers of different genres are all talented: they are just talented in different ways.

We tend to undervalue light in favor of heavy.

I don’t know why. Can’t we have both, assuming they are done well?

I’d much rather have a well executed “light” book instead of a poorly executed “heavy” book…I want to read the best that any genre has to offer.

Food for thought:

  1. Do you think publishers/agents direct best selling authors to write things that are in vogue, even if it means changing genres?
  2. What genres do you prefer?
  3. Do you think chick lit is a waste of time?
  4. Have you ever had an author that you love disappoint you with their latest work?
  5. Anything else that I touched on in this post
  6. Do we undervalue light in favor of heavy

I made a comment yesterday that seemed to devalue reposting or reblogging an older post. Alas, this sentiment did not come out the way that I intended. I apologize to anyone that reposts or reblogs their work sometimes. Just because I don’t like doing it doesn’t mean that others shouldn’t. Keep on being you. Sorry for the inference!

LA

I Read…Therefore…

A few months ago Never Not Reading Posted asked if reading makes us better. Simply, is reading more valuable than say, watching TV. I thought this was a pretty interesting avenue to drive down so I thought I’d give it a whirl.

Do we think that people who read a lot are smarter? Better educated? Erudite?

Or are people who spend their time doing other things just as smart?

I can argue that reading words off a page is active…you are pushing your brain more because you are deciphering the letters and words and sentences to make sense of what’s in front of you. To read means that you are paying attention to not only reading the words but understanding the meaning.

Do you engage your brain the same way by watching TV? By listening to a podcast?

How do you describe readers? What words would you use?

How do you describe non readers? What words would you use?

Prepandemic, I read about 5 books a month. During pandemic we all know that my reading was off the charts. I read because I enjoy reading, but it was also one of the few outlets that I had to keep engaged. With the warmer weather and more things opening in New York, I definitely can see that I’m reading less- I only finished one book last week…But with all my reading, did I become “better” or was I just less bored? If I had watched TV that whole time instead of reading, would that have changed the person I am now? Would I be better or worse or would nothing change?

Ok- what are your thoughts on readers versus the rest of the world?

Never Not Reading is on hiatus right now, but if she does return to blogging I will supply her information.

Highlights of the Week That Was

I slowly get back on my feet….the city slowly gets back on its feet…

Tea Book Club
Took a tea break at Barnes and Noble
Guess who got vaccinated?
Theater for the New City did a pop up showcase on Saturday outside their theater. This is the Pablo Band. Wonderful on so many levels.
Movie I watched at home- FYI- I thought it was convoluted
This is an Instagram that I just thought…why? Why do we feel the need to project the image that we don’t eat when we begin a relationship? Conversely, why do we feel the need to let ourselves go once we are in a relationship? Is this a topic that should be thrown off on an insta post? This idea may end up as a future post. Tell me if you think it is worth discussing.

My Month in Books- March

It’s time for March Book Madness! This is what I read from February 25 till March 24.

TitleAuthorHow I heard about bookRating
Anxious PeopleFredrik Backmannot sure1
Klara and the SunKazuo IshiguroGood Morning America Book Club2
BraveyAlexi PappasReal Simple3
Finlay Donovan is Killing ItEllie CosimanoPersonal browse at physical Barnes & Noble4
All The Bright PlacesJennifer Nivenmy daughter5
What’s Mine and YoursNaima CosterJenna Book Club (Today Show)6
Infinite CountryPatricia EngelReese’s Book Club7
Dot Journaling: A Practical Guide: How to Start and Keep the Planner, To-Do List, and Diary that Will Actually Help to Get Your Life TogetherRachel Wilkerson MillerGood Housekeeping8
The Ex TalkRachel Lynn SolomonPenguin Newsletter9
Super HostKate RussoPersonal browse at physical Barnes and Noble10
How the One Armed Sister Sweeps Her HouseCherie JonesGood Morning America Book Club11
This is the order in which I liked the books. It does not mean that the top one is the great American novel, a page turner or the feel good book of the century. Nor does it mean that the bottom book is bad. It just means that some books made me feel more than others.
This month’s BINGO card is courtesy of vromansbookstore.com

I may have only read 11 books, but I was lucky in what I read!! BINGO on the first try with this card!!

When I Podcast about this I will give a bit more insight into these books if you are interested in my unscripted commentary!!

Rent or Buy

Do you buy books, or do you borrow them from the library?

I love the idea of a library. A system that lends out books to people. This allows all people no matter what their circumstances, to be able to read. Learn. Educate themselves. A library shows true equality: anyone can borrow/read anything they want. When my daughter was little I used to take her to the library at least three times a week. We knew the time of every story hour of every library within two miles of my house. My daughters love of reading and learning began from the time I would park her little stroller in the picture book section and we would just look, and read. She saw endless possibilities in the library, and I have to assume her early exposure led her to be the curious, intelligent young woman that she has become.

I love bookstores. Not a week goes by where I have not been inside of a bookstore, whether it me a small independently owned one, or a large chain. Bookstores are my happy place. At a bookstore I can see the world open up before my eyes.

I have borrowed books from the library because I want to keep the libraries open. I want to show the world that free libraries are an important part of our society.

I have bought a lot of books, both physical and electronic from book stores. I want to monetarily support authors and publishers and book stores of all ilk. I want to show the world that book stores are part of out society.

So what’s better? Borrowing books from a library or buying books from a store?

There are people who proudly tell you they buy their books, and their are people who proudly state that they borrow their books.

Is one superior to the other?

One does save you money. But the other does support those in the arts. How do the scales balance?

I admit that I am more likely to buy an ebook right now. I like having books in my library. I like the ability to reread a book for book club. I like that my daughter and I share books. I like having a book available the exact second that I want it. I know I’m a little spoiled with this easy access to books. But books make me happy like nothing else does. If I happen to visit a small, indie bookstore I will buy something. The other day I visited Posman books in Chelsea Market and purchased a poetry book because I thought reading a poem in a physical book each night would be a good send off to sleep. Sometimes I won’t even purchase a book though. Sometimes I’ll just buy something cute that I know they will make a bit of profit on because I want all physical book stores to survive.

But there was a time when the library was part of my weekly to do list. But that fell off the radar a bit as my life got busier. But I still support my local library with donations and I used to volunteer there when they needed help with things.

So are you a buyer or a borrower? A little of both?

Do you think it is more important to help out one as opposed to the other?

How do you feel about this issue?

Discuss

https://anchor.fm/laover50/episodes/Highlights-of-the-Week-That-Was–March-7-ervnv5

Highlights of the Week That Was- March 7

This is a comic from my blog buddy Matt. If you want to check out his amazing work www.aprolificpotpourri.art
this is how I was trying to prep for my podcast: can you say cut and paste
It was so nice to be in a theater
This is The Strand bookstore in NYC- at the same time there were two movements going on- 1) Save a beloved Indie bookstore from going out of business 2) Don’t save it because the owner invests in stocks of large corporations like Amazon, so you’re not really supporting a small business
What I watched this week. Quite good and Daniel Kaluuya is just amazing
Seen in gift shop at Morgan Library
https://anchor.fm/laover50/episodes/Gratitude-Saturday-ers9qr

My Month in Books- February

NYC had a lot of snow this month- 8th highest total ever for a February. Here’s what I read from January 27-February 24:

TitleAuthorHow I heard about bookRating
The House in the Cerulean SeaT.J. KluneI don’t know1
The Thursday Murder ClubRichard OsmanI don’t know2
Send For MeLauren FoxJenna (Today Show)3
The Seven Husbands of Evelyn HugoTaylor Jenkins ReidGoodreads Newsletter4
HamnetMaggie O’FarrellIRL book club (college alumnae)5
The Art of Stopping: How to be Still When You Have to Keep GoingDavid KundtzShannon Ables The Simply Luxurious Life6
The Four WindsKristin HannahJenna (Today Show)7
Tomorrow Will be BetterBetty Smithone of my besties8
The Splendid and the Vile: A Saga of Churchill, Family and Defiance during the BlitzErik LarsonI don’t know9
The SanitoriumSarah PearseReese’s Book Club10
Simple Organizing: 50 Ways to Clear ClutterMelissa Michaelsemail from Barnes & Noble11
Good NeighborsSarah LanganBarnes & Noble book club12
The Tea ChestHeidi ChiavaroliIRL book club (tea society)13
The Discomfort of EveningMarieke Lucas RijneveldIRL book club (college alumnae)14
This is the order that I liked the books. It does not mean that the top are the great American novel, a page turner or the feel good book of the century. It just means that some books made me feel more than others this particular month.
I am happy to say that I got BINGO this month! 25 books to get one line across! Next month there will be a new BINGO card!

Trigger

I was recently shopping for a new book. I looked at a review. In the first line of the review was a plot point of the book. No spoiler alert sign, no warning…just a plot point. Because the plot point was a “trigger”.

Thanks to dictionary.com, we know that trigger is to initiate or precipitate. Certain words or phrases bring about certain thoughts or ideas, which are harmful to the person experiencing them.

But what do we think about trigger warnings in books?

I understand the reason for them: some people have gone through traumatic experiences and do not wish to relive them. I completely understand.

However, is it fair for the rest of us to be forewarned of what is going to occur in a work of art?

Do we cater to the 10% of the population that might have a problem?

Or do we let majority rule?

Here’s my thought:

If a book contains trigger warnings, how about we put them in the back of the book. My feeling is if one is worried about the content of something, the onus should be on them to search for it. Make it standard in every book that the last page is the trigger page.

This way, no one starting out the book has any indication of what the plot points may be- they read the book and decipher clues without being told anything.

And in reviews, I think the triggers should appear at the bottom of a review in italicized type so that the reader of the review can skip it if they want.

I know that I want to go into a book without knowing anything other than the briefest plot summary. The joy and beauty in reading a book is discovering what lies on the next page. If it is something horrific, I want to be caught off guard- that is what the author intended. I think you lose the power and impact of a story or situation of you know it’s coming.

I will not read the book that was spoiled by a trigger warning. Instead of savoring the words or the story, I will constantly be on the look out for the “scene” that was described. I will not enjoy the book…

But that’s me:

What do you think about trigger warnings in books?