Kelsium was one of Persephone’s first Tumblr friends, and has been a cherished reader and writer around here for a long time. Read her 5 Books suggestions after the cut!
1. What book would you give to a potential significant other?
I’m not in the market, and now that I think about it I’m pretty sure my partner of six years hasn’t read this book, but if I had to pick one book to explain like 85% of what I’m all about I’d choose The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill. It’s all like collective action! resistance! flower carts! badass old ladies! and I’d encourage anyone who wants to get an idea of my basic value structure to read it. However, one of the first things my partner and I bonded over was our mutual love of The Godfather, which is basically the opposite of everything The Pushcart War is about. But they’re both, in different ways, very New York stories, so maybe I should just make it clear that I have a New York thing.
2. What book would you give to a high school senior?
3. What book would you give to your political representatives?
I think that everyone who has a hand, or a stake in American politics should read the collected works of Studs Terkel. There is nothing more important than realizing that the individual voices in the greater narrative of United States history come together to form patterns that ultimately change very little across the decades, and acknowledging that people, whether they are good people or bad people or, like most of us, people doing the best they can with what they’re given, need to have their voices heard. Studs Terkel, in my opinion, is one of the best, for lack of a better term perhaps, curators of democracy of all time.
4. Which book would you give to a former teacher?
Hm. This one is hard because the temptation is to be spiteful and say that I’d like to give several of them books that I have written making detailed defenses of the things that they said I was wrong about and I’ve held onto because in my tiny, black heart I know I was right. But that kind of thing is never as satisfying as you think it will be. I would at some point like to be able to pass on a piece of writing that I’ve had published, with thanks for all their patience and attention.
5. Which book would you give your best friend?
Well, first I’d demand my copy of Studs Terkel’s The Good War back. What she really wants is a copy of the Oxford English Dictionary, and if I won the lottery I’d get it for her.
One reply on “5 Books with Kelsium”
Studs Terkel was a national treasure and I wish more people were familiar with his work. NPR did a series of really fantastic pieces on him the week he died — I guarantee anyone listening to any of those podcasts will want to pick up his books.
Great suggestions, Kelsium!