05 November 2007

Taking a break from fiction

There is nothing wrong with reading fiction. There have been books - novels - that have changed my life, made me stronger and more determined and less apt to be taken advantage of, more willing to risk giving voice to my own ideas and opinions.

There have been novels that have saved my sanity during times when reality was just too damn awful to deal with, times when an hour or two (or ten) stolen now and then from what everyone else expected me to do and be, spent reading about some alternate world, some faraway place or time, kept me from ending my life...

So, you see, I love fiction, good fiction, of any kind, except maybe romance novels - not saying that they do not have their worth, just that I could never get into them much. Perhaps that had to do with being afraid to be caught reading one, more than any actual romance novel itself. I think my ex would have considered it disrespectful to his manliness if I needed to read a romance novel - after all, wasn't he the be all and end all in regard to what a woman would want?

Well, what I meant to write about this evening, instead of my love for good fiction, was my intent to do some more academic reading.

I am starting with Ethics and Visual Art, edited by Elaine King and Gail Levin, published by Allworth Press (New York, 2006). It contains 19 essays on various ethical concerns with art, art collection, authenticity, cultural appropriation and artifact repatriation, censorship, ownership and copyright, and more that I cannot remember right this moment.

It will be like reading short stories. I like short stories because they are short - I can read them at the end of the day and have a definite ending place (so that I do not read half the night, or more).

I may not read all 19 essays in this book, but I am hoping that a few of them will serve as jumping-off points for additional research.


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