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by Steve Mitchell

Unruled Paper: Sometimes a Great Colon EditionBooks

Drinking in America: Our Secret History by Susan CheeverSusan Cheever has developed a little cottage industry writing about alcohol and drinking. She has first-hand experience as her father was well-regarded drinker and author John Cheever. We might hope that she expands her horizons in the future to write about something other than the demon rum. In the meantime we can enjoy her somewhat skewed history of drinking and alcoholism in which she investigates the role of inebriation and ugly drunks in our history, from the Mayflower landing to the Kennedy Assasination and beyond.Here’s a Wall Street Journal profile on Susan Cheever.

The Gay Revolution: The Story of the Struggle by Lillian FadermanThe Gay Revolution is the on-the-ground story of people fighting for their rights in America from the 1950’s to the present day. Conducting over 150 interviews across the breadth and history of the gay/lesbian/trans movement, Faderman highlights personal sacrifice, grave injustice, and the occasional victories of The Gay Revolution. It has a compelling novelistic approach to the last 60 years of American cultural history.Here’s a Washington Post review.

The Good Story: Exchanges on Truth, Fiction and Psychotherapy by J.M. Coetzee and Arabella KurtzWe all tell stories, to ourselves and to others. The stories we tell ourselves make sense of our life and the world around us, putting our reality in some kind of order. The stories we tell others can be intimate or distancing, making us vulnerable or protecting us behind a high wall of artifice. Nobel Prize winning South African novelist J.M. Coetzee is, of course, intimately familiar with stories, but he’s also skeptical of them, skeptical that they deliver all they promise.”Language is the working medium of both writers and psychotherapists.” In this fascinating series of exchanges between Coetzee and psychoanalyst Arabella Kurtz, they explore the tensions between our own internal stories, between our stories and the external world, and the cultural stories we either accept or deny. The description above clues you to the fact that this book is defintely not for everyone, but I had to include it on the off-chance it’s exactly what you might be looking for. A review from The Independent.

The State of Play Edited by Daniel Goldberg and Linus LarssonAn engrossing collection of essays about gaming and gamer culture that cuts across a range of issues with a wide swathe. Written by video game creators, media critics and players, this book addresses questions of social justice in gaming, the role of sex and intimacy, cultural sterotypes, and new forms of storytelling created in the video game culture. These are thoughtful, provocative essays from people in the front lines of gaming culture, who value video games as an art form and a medium of social change.Here’s an interesting review from folks who know gaming.

The Witches: Salem, 1692 by Stacy SchiffThe Salem Witch Trials. What the hell? Arguably the first instance of American Moral Hysteria, we know them as a cultural touchstone and through Arthur Miller’s thinly veiled anti-McCarthy play, The Crucible. Schiff’s book is an attempt to assimilate every known fact into a sprawling, readable account with a vast cast of characters and an overabundance of detail. What she’s going for here is the feel of the times and how suspicion, fear of being accused, and paranoia leads to cathartic murder.Here’s a scene from The Witches that has nothing to do with the book above except: Witches!

EventsIn the week of Thanksgiving, why not think about volunteering in the community. Here are a few opportunities:Faith Action International House705 N. Greene Street, GreensboroFaithAction International House serves and accompanies thousands of our newest immigrant neighbors, while educating and connecting our diverse community across lines of culture and faith – turning strangers into neighbors! Reading Connections: Adult Literacy Programs of Guilford County122 N Elm Street, Suite 920, Greensboro Reading Connections is an adult literacy agency that provides free and confidential services that help to improve basic literacy skills, self-esteem, community service and leadership skills among new adult readers who live or work in Guilford County, NC.122 N Elm Street, Suite 920, GreensboroSamaritan Ministries414 E Northwest Blvd, Winston SalemProviding hope and healing by sharing food, shelter and guidance with the hungry, homeless and people in need

And, here are turkeys playing soccer:

Please send any announcements of writerly or bookish events in the Triad area or beyond to: neuralarts@triad.rr.comSteve Mitchell’s short story collection, The Naming of Ghosts, is published by Press 53. He has a deep belief in the primacy of doubt and an abiding conviction that great wisdom informs very bad movies. He’s co-owner of Scuppernong Books in Greensboro, NC.

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