Liquid Ink

The official website of Gint Aras, Finalist 2016 CWA Book Award


2 Comments

A student weighs in on Palin

One of my students asked me this morning if I had heard the junkyard of syntax Sarah Palin had delivered at Trump’s event in Iowa. I told him that, yes, unfortunately, I had heard it.

This student wondered how this could happen. Shouldn’t the college teach him how he could become Palin? Instead, the college found it necessary for him to learn the details of grammar and the nuances of English prose, this when a woman of Palin’s stature was allowed to vomit a rat nest of phrases and neologisms, and to do it on television, broadcast it around the world, utterly unaware of her ignorance.

Well, I said, he was also “allowed” to babble whatever came to his head in public, if he wanted. No one would stop him, just as no one had stopped Palin. Did he really want that?

That’s not the point, the student continued. The point is that Palin was less articulate than the sounds of a tin can  blowing down the sidewalk, and had fewer points than a cluster of fishhooks in some drunk’s tackle box, yet it did not interfere with her ability to have a career or cost her any money. In fact, she probably made money by going on stage and unloading her crap. She probably sold some books. She probably got more followers on Twitter.

Sure, I said. That’s what happened. That’s the world we live in.

If the student did this, he complained, he’d be punished with low grades and might not pass his classes. He’d never achieve his dream of becoming an accountant. He could see no route to Palin’s stature that did not also require him to correct his thought process and language skills.

Yes, I said. That’s true.

The student wanted to know what somebody was going to do about it.

I don’t know, I said. It seems everyone’s perfectly well entertained, at least for the moment.

“We have bigger problems than anyone’s talking about,” he said. “This isn’t a joke.”

I agreed with him, a young man of nineteen, born to recent migrants, paying his way through community college by making deliveries, working over 20 hours each week while taking on a full load of classes.

Anatomyofafishhook

Photo from Wikipedia


Leave a comment

What an amazing bookstore: The Looking Glass

I thought I knew all the bookstores in Chicagoland. Then a friend of mine told me about The Looking Glass. It’s only one L stop from my house, and I learned that the owner lives a block from me. It has been on Oak Park Avenue since February of 2013.

This is just an extraordinary find, and a delight to have right in my neighborhood. It’s brightly lit used bookstore whose light blue and green walls recall a college town cafe (curiously…I felt it resembled the kind of room Alice, from The Looking Glass, might choose if she had her way). No, they don’t serve coffee, but that’s hardly an issue (not when The 206 is across the street). The website is really attractive and the owner, Steve, has excellent taste in books. I had a short talk with him and know he’s got plenty in storage. I was struck by his fiction shelves, a bibliophile’s dream: loads of classical and acclaimed contemporary titles, including those you’re “supposed to have read but didn’t”, all in very good shape and at affordable prices.

As a parent, I’m excited to have a bookstore that stocks plenty of kids’ books. But the real treat at The Looking Glass is the local author section. Obviously, both Chicago and Oak Park have a long and rich literary history (Elizabeth Berg…Edgar Rice Burroughs…Ernest Hemingway). Steve has set up two attractive shelves to feature the locals. I happened to learn that Steve also has first editions available of local authors’ works.

Tourists in the area, or anyone who ends up coming to eat at Taste of Brasil or Sen Sushi, should not miss a chance to browse and buy from The Looking Glass. Daring readers might choose to get a book wrapped in a paper bag. Given Steve’s taste, chances are these will be great surprises. My bookworm friends should look forward to birthday gifts lifted from this shelf:

12244433_10153755286511052_8054514162119187043_o

823 S Oak Park Avenue, Oak Park, IL

Just steps from the Oak Park Blue Line station.