By Janet Matthews, Teacher - Westlake High School, Thornwood07.27.17
Conversations about books always get me thinking about intimate connections that are both confessional and therapeutic, unraveling insights and wisdom long after their shelf life. Such is the case with the discussion between Pamela Paul, author and editor of The New York Times Book Review, and Janet Maslin, JBFC Board President and New York Times critic, about Paul’s new book My Life with Bob: Flawed Heroine Keeps Book of Books, Plot Ensues.
"Bob" is the acronym for Paul’s "Book of Books," journals that records every book she’s ever read. The subtext is that her choices reveal a symbiotic journey of her life for twenty-eight years. Her choices are eclectic, sometimes anchoring on worldly places, people along the way and people in her way. What I loved about the Q&A between Maslin and Paul is the sense of affirmation that Louise Rosenblatt’s Reader Response Theory, where the reader creates his or her own personal transaction with the text, is alive and well in the digital age.
While I do not have a journal listing every book I have read, I do have a purple box nestled in my dresser that holds over a decade of movie tickets from the Jacob Burns Film Center. Until I can come up with a better title, perhaps, I should call my holdings My Life with Mom: Hollywood Wannabe Keeps Memories of Movies, Drama Unfolds. Unlike Paul, I am a little hesitant to to analyze how my film choices forged my path. Whether it is the Book of Bob or the Book of Mom, I think Paul and I would agree that the experience of recording books or saving movie stubs is a powerful artifact to capture memory.