Saturday, April 30, 2011

"What I saw at the fair" by Ann Birstein

I am not even quite finished with this book yet, but I will tell you that "What I saw at the Fair" is holding my attention. This isn't really a book report though. It's just a post for the heck of it because I haven't been posting about what I'm reading lately.

 I can't remember quite how I stumbled upon Ann's book. Was it the title? Was I up in the stacks browsing the PS call numbers (Library of Congress cataloging)? Was there something else that was being ordered that led me to it? The book itself is from 2003 but the hardcover from the Umass Amherst library is in pretty good/new shape. Anything is possible. We're getting so much new material in the library this semester that I can't remember how I happened to stumble across this one. Anyway... it's a good book. It is her autobiography. Up until now I didn't know who she was at all. In fact until just as I was writing this blog I hadn't even looked her up on Wikipedia. Wikipedia does have the quick run down of her life and what she has written. In 1950 she was 23 years old so she was born in 1927 if I've done my math right. She a Jewish-American novelist who wrote her first novel while still in college. I don't normally care about someone's religion or background, but it is something that she talks about a lot in her autobiography. Her father was a rabbi in New York City and she lived in New York while World War II was going on. So she has a whole perspective of World War II from an angle that we don't always here. I'm always interested in that. I was spoon fed the white male American version of what happened in World War II so I like getting different versions of it. Ann has a daughter and talks about the women's movement and so forth going on in the 1970s and that is interesting too. I'm somewhere in the 8th chapter (around page 225) with only about 50 pages left in the book. It has sucked me in. There is a thread running through it and from what I just read on Wikipedia I have a clue as to where it's going to go. I'm not done reading it though. I will probably pick up some of her other books when I'm done with this one. She's an interesting lady and I like her style.

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