Read Enormous Changes at the Last Minute: Stories by Grace Paley Free Online
Book Title: Enormous Changes at the Last Minute: Stories|
The size of the: 974 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.6
The author of the book: Grace Paley
Edition: Farrar, Straus, Giroux
Date of issue: January 1st 1974
ISBN 13: 9780374148515
Format files: PDF
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I am here to tell you that I have never read Chekov, and I don't think I've ever read Grace Paley either. Hot damn.
Okay, so now I've read some Grace Paley (and a little Chekov too, actually), and I'm not sure what I'd expected, but this wasn't it. I think what surprised me about these stories was that they were so cool. I don't mean measured and even and emotionally restrained, I mean cool, they were cool, they were COOL stories! I mean yeah, of course they're dated I guess, being as they were written in the sixties or whatever, but they're still pretty -- well, edgy, I'd say. Edgy, stylish -- not fancy stylish, but like, thrift-store dress that's unexpectedly tight in all the right places kind of stylish. Cool. I thought a lot of these stories were kind of sexy, in this weird way. I really liked the way she wrote about female sexuality, even though the context was inevitably depressing. These stories are pretty much all about poor single mothers, which I guess isn't much of a pitch, but they were very cool, fresh, weirdly fun stories. I'm sort of surprised I somehow hadn't read them before, since there's so much about them that's exactly the kind of thing that I like. They all take place in New York neighborhoods that I know well (in much later, less cool incarnations, of course), and at least one of them is about a social worker, and another one is about a long-distance runner! Weird, right?! I related really personally to some of the material, and appreciated the stories more than someone who didn't feel that probably would. Still, this is a good book of highly readable, cool short stories, and I'd recommend it to pretty much anyone.
I also have this Thing. That I want to say. Though I doubt most people I need to hear this will actually read it.
I know this is the kind of Thing people get really defensive about, so if you really feel like this doesn't apply to you, rest assured that you're probably not who I mean here. But some of you guys (mostly GUYS) need to take a hard, cold, sobering look at the first names on your bookshelves, and think seriously about why you read so few women writers. Chances are, you probably haven't really noticed this, but if you consider the issue, and you notice that it's true, I really do want you to stop and think about why that is.
There is no valid reason not to read women writers, but if you've been avoiding them unconsciously, don't beat yourself up about it. Lots of really intelligent people have this problem, and there's a deep prejudice against lady authors which even a lot of us ladies hold. I think this is the reason why Grace Paley's stories surprised me -- I was expecting something else, something less cool, because she's a Woman Writer with two capital Ws, and we're all scared those books are going to be like Little Women or something. Okay, I shouldn't say that, because I actually haven't read Little Women.... Little Women might be really fucking cool and raw and smart and, uh, I don't know, robust? Virile? I don't know exactly what the stereotypes of women writers are, but they're too unacknowledged and extremely powerful, and it sucks. I mean, it really sucks. It's bad for women writers, and it's bad for all the readers who are ignorantly depriving themselves of really prime cut, top-shelf, unmissable literature.
Like, I am not judging you. I get it. But I am asking you to change. I remember when this guy I used to hang out with read Toni Morrison for the first time, and he was just shocked because her writing was nothing like how he'd expected. I bet this is a very common reaction to her. Toni Morrison's books are brutal and nasty and super intense and insane and frightening. But that's not what people who haven't read her are imagining, because her name is Toni-with-an-i and because she's BFFs with Oprah's Book Club.
But similarly, Oprah's Book Club isn't what a lot of people are imagining. Oprah made all those ladies read The Road. You might not relate to most of the material on her show (I don't), but Oprah is a serious person, and she's into real literature. Hey, and newsflash: women write real literature, and they don't just write stuff you need to be female to appreciate.
I think a lot of otherwise intelligent, thoughtful men -- and also many women -- have this unexamined impression that they wouldn't like most books by women. Where does this idea come from? I think it comes mostly from some profoundly misogynistic beliefs that pervade our culture. Maybe it's partly because women writers are more likely to write about women, and traditionally female concerns, and a lot of people (men and women alike) believe on some level that this is a less interesting and important than books that are primarily about men and traditionally male spheres. I think it's also because a lot of us (I speak for myself here, and I used to be more like this), hold very negative ideas about what women's writing is like. Maybe we are afraid that it will be weak prose, or that it will be boring, and probably the reason we think that is that because on some level we believe that women are weak and boring. But women are not like that -- okay, some are, I guess; but most of us are not, and when we are, it's not because we're women. And such is also the case with women writers.
HEY, has anyone else noticed that the profiles on here note the users' gender? I remember some guy in a feedback group a couple years ago saying he wanted to be able to sort users by gender, presumably so that he wouldn't have to be troubled by hysterical Jane Austen reviews. Did the site take him up on it? Because that is so awesome! It makes me love people!!!
But I digress. Dude. Seriously. Please confront your issues, and go read some girls.
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Read information about the authorGrace Paley was an American short story writer, poet, and political activist whose work won a number of awards.
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