Trade. Immigration. Jobs. Guns. We’re talking about these things a lot in 2016, and that’s good because they are important. But if we really want to talk about an issue that would drastically affect the day-to-day life of families, we should talk about day care:
Every parent knows that child care is expensive, and getting more so. According to a report from the Economic Policy Institute, annual infant care in 33 states now costs more than a year’s tuition at a public university. For minimum-wage workers nationally, child care costs can easily eat up over half of their paychecks.
This is from Brittany Bronson’s op-ed “Clinton’s Day Care Plan: A Good Start, but Not Enough” in the New York Times. As a parent who has already signed checks for my 2-year-old to attend day care/school in September, I can assure you that this rings true. Parents, especially working and low-income parents, really could use some help on this, and relieving some of the pressure around finding and affording quality day care could have a real impact on economic opportunity, education, public safety and a whole host of “big” issues. In the hopes that there may be bi-partisan interest in such a screaming need, Bronson takes both Clinton and Trump to task for confronting the issue — and doing so in adequate ways.
America this is quite serious, and “Clinton’s Day Care Plan: A Good Start, but Not Enough” deserves a read.
Read more in our election year series “America This is Quite Serious.”
Looking for something to read over the holidays? Hey, the New York Times 10 Best Books is a great place to look!
Pour yourself a nice mug of hot cocoa and get cozy to read about everything from, oh…uh, a collapsing marriage (Dept. of Speculation, Jeny Offill) or a family’s disintegration after a horrible tragedy involving a child (Family Life, Akhil Sharma), or a story collection about the devastating impacts of the Iraq War (Redeployment, Phil Klay).
Hmmm. Okay, well how about the one about the blind girl and the Nazi (All the Light We Cannot See, Anthony Doerr)? Or, uh, maybe the one about a female novelist who didn’t publish anything until she was almost 60 (Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, Hermione Lee)? Okay, okay — here’s a “spellbinding blend of memoir, science journalism and literary criticism” about….oh….vaccination (On Immunity: An Inoculation, Eula Biss). Probably don’t want to bring that up at dinner. Same goes for the one about Israel and peace in the Middle East (Thirteen Days in September: Carter, Begin and Sadat at Camp David, Lawrence Wright).
What about the one titled Euphoria? That sounds nice. Oh, looks like it’s about another marriage breaking up. Alright.
I guess it could be worse. We could be among the irreplaceable habitats and species whose destruction has been chillingly documented by Elizabeth Kolbert in The Sixth Extinction. Jeez. What else is there? Oh, perfect, Roz Chast’s graphic novel about her parents’ decline into infirmity and old age: Can’t We Talk About Something More Pleasant?
There is so much injustice in the world. And maybe you’ve been too preoccupied with cops getting away with killing citizens or women being fired because they’re pregnant to realize that the Worst. Thing. Ever. just happened to novelist Ayelet Waldman. After getting a really great review in The New York Times for her book Love & Treasure, Waldman was then viciously and heartlessly snubbed by not being included in the Times 100 Notable Books of 2014.
Feel her pain:
Yes, journal writing seems like something she would excel at.
As you can tell by trying to click the links in the tweets above, Waldman has since deleted these and other tweets railing against her horrible treatment (our fuzzy top image is a mere screen-grab from this page, where you can read the full rant). So I guess we won’t be seeing a #GreatReviewsMatter hashtag.
As her tantrum subsided, she did acknowledge that “There are real problems in the world. I’m just going to suck it up and do something good for someone else.” At which point she heroically offered to donate a dollar to charity for every pre-order someone makes of her book.
I was going to pre-order it myself, but I heard it wasn’t very notable.
Yesterday, the New York Times ran a piece about a storytelling app called Wattpad and the growing popularity of online, serialized novels. The lead example is a work called After that has built an audience of one million readers for its frequent installments — which are read on smart phones.
As a blog and a so-called “micro press,” we at Fiction Advocate are not automatically averse to new ways of advocating for fiction. And yet, all of us here are also notoriously over 30, and can remember when books were only read on paper. For us, 2014 is most notable as the 20th anniversary of The Western Canon (as the Times also pointed out this weekend). Thus, we tend to react to things like Wattpad with mild terror and stern disapproval.
But rather than putting on my angry Andy Rooney eyebrows and harrumphing, I’ll just let the evidence speak for itself. Here are a few key sections from the Times story:
For several months, publicity around the forthcoming documentary and book about J.D. Salinger has promised major revelations about the author. The biggest hints in the theatrical trailer imply that the writing Salinger did in seclusion after his final publication in 1965 would eventually see the light of day.
This morning, the The New York Times reports that the book and movie “include detailed assertions that Mr. Salinger instructed his estate to publish at least five books — some of them entirely new, some extending past work — in a sequence that he intended to begin as early as 2015.”
This is, of course, a believe-it-when-we-see-it situation. But it does align with things I have heard since Salinger’s death that rank a little higher than rumor. Continue reading