What to Read, and Watch

Where to start? I’d recommend Canadian Joyce Wayne’s brilliant novel Last Night of the World.  It’s about a Soviet spy — a very talented woman –in Ottawa in the ’30s and ’40s. The book is magic and weaves a spell which examines details and intimacies of members of the Communist Party and also Canadian politicians — I could not put the book down. A must read for anyone on the serious left. wayne

Vox;  a novel.  Suddenly it all makes sense: Bible belt politicians led by a Trump-clone decree that women and girls of all ages can only speak 100 words a day. A counter, worn as a watch, is the enforcer. If they speak more than 100 words, there’s electric shock, and worse…Women can never own or read a book or magazine, and never use a computer without their husbands’ indulgence. There’s more– but it rattles me as deeply as did  Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale, 35 years ago.  The best parts of the book are when the protagonist (a former scientist who like all other woman is not allowed to work)  is home with her family — where she can neither speak, nor ask, nor discipline the kids, nor finger-spell, nor write a note with a pencil or pen.  Her only tool is a tube of lipstick and a mirror. vox2And that form of communication only can happen once. Scares the pants off me.

Skirt Day (translated from French) is a must-see dvd from Halifax Library.  A woman high school teacher in a rough neighbourhood turns the tables on her students and her school in this clever and penetrating look at race, poverty and status.  English Subtitles.jupe

Squeezed is far better than I first thought.  This new nonfiction book talks about the disappearing middle class in the US– and there are many things I didn’t know. The author, a researcher in The Economic Hardship Reporting Project which was founded in part by brilliant author & mud-slinger Barbara Ehrenreich.  Well worth reading. I couldn’t stop reading even while I was on the boat whale watching near Brier Island. squeezed

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