Friday, August 29, 2003

Noticias de Club Desvelado

Having found a few books at the library, now we're rushing to be able to turn them in on time. Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight (Alexandra Fuller), Life Among the Savages (Shirley Jackson), Nickle and Dimed: On (Not) Getting By in America (Barbara Ehrenreich), and a great Everyman's edition of Lamb's essays (both collections). "Don't Let's Go" is atmospheric and frank. It's difficult to believe that an existence like this was still possible in the 'seventies and 'eighties. "Savages" has a flipppant tone redolent of the 'fifties and hasn't aged well. "Nickle and Dimed" reminds me of a long-ago job, working in an on-campus official postal substation. The real Post Office employees were earning excellent pay for that time and that place and their families were all better off than ours financially, since we part-timers were a crew of scholarship students from locations in precipitous economic decline and for the most part from families of small, failing farmers, clergy, faculty of small colleges in obscure places, schoolteachers, non-unionized blue-collar and skilled trades workers, and serving and deceased military before improved compensation provided a living wage. Those part-timers who didn't come to an accommodation with the regulars had a miserable time of it, because of the resentment and ways of making things difficult or impossible for the disliked. I think it was in part because "we" weren't going to be there forever, and "they" were. It turns out that a lot of "Nickled" isn't new, since I saw big chunks in magazines somewhere (Harper's?). The Lamb, surprisingly, is wonderful for readling aloud (and not so lively on the page).