If you’re looking for some good summer reading, this Monday’s Link Roundup has several suggestions. Be sure to check out ‘When Women Were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams and 10 of the Best Memoirs About Mothers. If you’re a Mad Men fan, and who isn’t, you’ll want to read Mad Men and Wonder Years: history, nostalgia, and life in The Sixties.
- Carl Sagan on Books. “The love of books and the advocacy of reading are running themes around here, as is the love of Carl Sagan. Naturally, this excerpt from the 11th episode of his legendary 1980s Cosmos series, titled “The Persistence of Memory,” is making my heart sing in more ways than the universe can hold:”
- Black history ‘undertaker’ loses treasures. “Nathaniel Montague spent more than 50 of his 84 years chasing history, meticulously collecting rare and one-of-a-kind fragments of America’s past. Slave documents. Photographs. Signatures. Recordings.”
- Arnaud Maggs: One of the most remarkable careers in Canadian art. “It was when Maggs started fishing around in French flea markets in the 1990s, however, that his obsessive collecting and arithmetic ordering found their richest raw material in the shape of domestic and industrial ephemera from the 19th century. In this show, curator Josée Drouin-Brisebois includes the lovely Les factures de Lupé, photographs of the pastel-coloured household invoices of an aristocratic French couple from Lyons. Who were the Comte and Comtesse de Lupé and why did they keep all their bills for furniture, jewellery, perfumes and linen? We don’t know, but these pristine photographic enlargements of their mundane household papers read as an emotionally gripping act of historic retrieval.”
- ‘When Women Were Birds’ by Terry Tempest Williams. “After her mother’s death, Terry Tempest Williams opens her mother’s journals – and finds that they are all blank. This book is a meditation on what information they could have contained, as well as a fragmented memoir of Williams’ own life, mixed in with reflections on womanhood, her Mormon upbringing, and environmentalism. It contains 54 short pieces, labeled as “variations on voice” – her mother was 54 when she died, and Williams is 54 years old now.”
- Oral history’s quiet heroes. “Over the past few weeks I have been eavesdropping on private conversations. I heard a homeless South African tell a charity worker how moved he was to be offered a sandwich and a cup of tea after walking 20 miles through Lincolnshire; and an elderly Hull woman, reminded by her daughter how much of her life she had spent pregnant with her 10 children, concluding she “must have been bonkers”. The Listening Project has been harvesting these intimate gobbets and broadcasting them before the Radio 4 news. The launch of the Listening Project by the BBC and the British Library coincides with the return next month of another pioneering work of oral history: 56 Up, the latest in Michael Apted’s now eight-part series stretching over almost half a century, following a group of ordinary Britons from the age of seven into what is now deep middle age.
- Mad Men and Wonder Years: history, nostalgia, and life in The Sixties. “Mad Men and The Wonder Years share many of the same overarching historical themes of political, social, and cultural change during 1960s America. Specifically, both shows illustrate how the everyday lives of people at the time intersected with the events and trends that have become engrained in popular memory of the decade. The civil rights movement, feminism, the Vietnam War, and the emerging counterculture – to name a few of the major forces of the era – serve as subtext for both series.”
- 10 of the Best Memoirs About Mothers. “This week saw the release of cult cartoonist Alison Bechdel’s second work of non-fiction, Are You My Mother: A Comic Drama, a graphic memoir that investigates her relationship with her mother in all its fraught, tender weirdness…After we zipped through the book, we felt a hankering for more memoirs about mothers, so in case you feel the same way…we’ve collected a few of the best examples in recent memory here.”