Today is an inauspicious day in America, and so I thought I would share a serious list today about current events: politics, the refugee crisis, and other important things that I am trying to learn more about in the process of becoming a better global citizen.
- The Refugee Crisis: 9 Questions You Were Too Embarrassed to Ask – This is a great primer for people like me who have started following the news recently but don’t know enough of the history of the issues to fully understand what is going on.
- Jhumpa Lahiri is being awarded the 2014 National Humanities Medal!
The Medal “honors those who have widened the public’s engagement with literature and ‘deepened the nation’s understanding of the human experience’.”
- I particularly love the NYT By the Book featuring Lahiri.
I don’t know what to make of the term “immigrant fiction.” Writers have always tended to write about the worlds they come from. And it just so happens that many writers originate from different parts of the world than the ones they end up living in, either by choice or by necessity or by circumstance, and therefore, write about those experiences. If certain books are to be termed immigrant fiction, what do we call the rest? Native fiction? Puritan fiction? This distinction doesn’t agree with me. Given the history of the United States, all American fiction could be classified as immigrant fiction. Hawthorne writes about immigrants. So does Willa Cather. From the beginnings of literature, poets and writers have based their narratives on crossing borders, on wandering, on exile, on encounters beyond the familiar. The stranger is an archetype in epic poetry, in novels. The tension between alienation and assimilation has always been a basic theme.
- Have you heard about the Yi-Fen Chou debacle? This raises a lot of questions about the place that affirmative action has in our society, cultural appropriation and yellowface. Read more about it here.
- Of course, today’s list would not be complete without touching on 9/11. I found The Things They Left Behind paid a thoughtful and haunting tribute to the lives affected 14 years ago.
- The Atlantic’s Gaffe Track has kept me both informed and laughing while following the GOP race.
- Ta-Nehisi Coates writes about the NYPD manhandling of former pro-tennis star James Blake.
Wherever you are today, I hope you are surrounded by friends, puppies, or pizza! I will be in the library reading for school, so please eat a slice of pizza for me!