What has SPACES intern Kevin Ritter been reading lately? A lot!
Since it's summer vacation, I've been able to spend some time reading things for pleasure. So I've said a temporary farewell to medieval travelogues and hello to some good beach reads. Here are some of my favorite page-turners of the summer.
1. Girls to the Front: The True Story of the Riot Grrrl Revolution by Sara Marcus. (Harper Perennial). Sara Marcus' account of the Riot Grrrl movement of the 1990's treats its subjects with great humanity. After finding some Bikini Kill songs on the internet, I was interested in learning more about the movement. This book is not just a history of a (perhaps) short-lived musical genre, but also an examination of the multitudinous shapes and forms that Riot Grrrl took: zines, clothing, concerts, conferences. This thought-provoking and well-written piece of non-fiction is a must-read for anyone interested in music, feminism, community organizing, or socially-engaged art practice.
2. The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. Plath's only novel has become a mainstay on the favorites list of college students everywhere, but I had been somewhat resistant to sitting down with it. I don't know why I waited so long because when I curled up with it this summer I was taken with Plath's tight, beautiful prose. Esther Greenwood's slow descent into madness is moving and convincing. "The Bell Jar" is a piece worth re-reading this summer.
3. The Little Girl and the Cigarette by Benoit Duteurtre, translated by Charlotte Mandel. This biting satire by Frenchman Benoit Duteurtre weaves two seemingly disparate narratives. In a near-future in which children pretty much run the government, a man is accused of sexual perversion after a young girl catches him smoking in the bathroom. In the other narrative, a cunning prisoner attempts to evade execution by requesting a final cigarette before being put to death, which is against prison rules. The stories converge to satirize government bureaucracy and celebrity culture. There's also a delightfully inept lawyer named Maren Pataki who is not to be missed.
If you're looking for something considerably heavier, I would endorse these books:
1. Social Acupuncture by Darren O'Donnell.
2. Building Sex by Aaron Betsky.
3. Queer Space by Aaron Betsky.
I suggest going outside and enjoying the sunlight and a good book (whether it be one that I suggested or not!). Summer weather is ideal reading weather.
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