Tuesday, 1 December 2009

Books I will never read, and one you should read

I will never read Going Rogue, obviously, but I enjoyed this review.

I'm always curious about lists of writers' favourite books but was peeved to see a recommendation for a recent book ('sympathetic, informed, canny') by Elaine Showalter. The book may well deserve such praise from Joyce Carol Oates (they are friends, I believe), but I have not read - and will never read - anything by Showalter for I cannot see her name without feeling huge anger and disrespect. (For those who don't know, in 1997, she wrote Hystories: Hysterical Epidemics and Modern Media in which she irresponsibly and shamefully argued that ME and Gulf War Syndrome - like claims of alien abduction - were manifestations of hysteria, 'psychogenic syndromes of the 1990s'. She was most certainly not sympathetic, informed or canny back then. I doubt she would get away with such assertions now, and one can only wish the aliens had abducted her before she got away with it in 1997.)

I just finished Mark Steel's What's Going On?, I've been dipping into it for a couple of months, it made me laugh out loud, though melancholy at times.

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