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to read or not to read

now, i know that it sounds a bit conspiratorial, but it seems to me that the powers that be don't want brooklyn to read. every try going to a library in brooklyn? on a saturday afternoon? if you have, i wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't open. branch libraries in bk are never open when i have free time.

one saturday afternoon from my college days, i remember going on a long, crazy trek to near the last stop on the j-train in bk in search of coxsone dodd, legendary reggae producer, whom we wanted to interview for a class project. we weren't sure what time he would be in his shop, so we just went--and when we got there, we found he wouldn't be in for a few more hours. no problem, we thought, we'll just go to a library and do some work on the project and then go back and talk to him...and when we located the library, we saw that it had closed about an hour before. it was 3pm. we wandered the streets till coxsone came in to his shop, and then spoke to him, and he was as nice as could be.

the point is, it's not just that branch. i also have failed to happen upon a branch near me that is open when i am not working or otherwise occupied. the only library that i know how to locate that is open on saturday afternoons is the central branch...and it's not like that's especially convenient. nevertheless, i made the effort and went out there saturday afternoon...3 trains later, i made it to grand army plaza and entered the library. and got a brooklyn public library card, since the brooklyn public library and the new york public library apparently don't like each other well enough to share a common card. its a lot of work to read when you don't have money to always buy new books, are not inclined to spend much money on books you might not like, and live in brooklyn. anyway, i navigated the system and checked out 3 books...

prep - other than going to the library, i spent the better part of the weekend in bed, fighting/nursing a cold. prep is the story of a girl from the midwest who wins a scholarship to an exclusive boarding school in massachusetts. the rather long novel is all about how she never EVER finds her niche (sorry if that's too much of a spoiler.) while it perfectly pictures many of the stereotypes of prep schools, i'm not really going to debate any of them now, except one: this scholarship girl never EVER finds her niche. from my own experience, i have to say that its highly unlikely that a scholarship student never finds something to excel in at prep school--either you excel academically, or your good in sports, or art, or debate, or something, something, anything. a scholarship student is not permitted to be mediocre, why would a prep school countenance a mediocre student whose parents aren't paying for their education? not saying that an unexceptional student on finacial aid would be put out...i'm saying the administration would put all its effort into helping that student find something to excel in. you may not contribute much to the financial health of the school, but you will find something to contribute to its reputation.

the human stain- i've never read a philip roth novel before, so i thought i'd jump in with this one. i also have the movie on my netflix cue, and apparently wentworth miller is in it. the main character in the book, coleman silk, is a professor at a small college finds himself at the center of a scandal when he's accused of racism by two students. apparently, wentworth miller, when he was at princeton, also found himself at the center of a scandal when he was accused of racism based on a cartoon that he drew for a student publication. wentworth miller plays the young coleman silk. for my columbia alums...sound like an incident we know much about? can't say much more about the book, i'm only a few pages into it.

asphalt-by carl hancock rux. picked it up because i've not read anything about him, but i know that he is supposed to be one of those noteworthy young black writer/performer/artists. felt like i should try and get to know his work.

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