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Bookmobiles, Anderson Cooper and Other Letters to the Editor

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To the Editor:

Thank you for Erica Ackerberg’s feature on bookmobiles (Sept. 19), which brought back the joy I felt driving a bookmobile through the hill towns of western Massachusetts 40 years ago. On icy roads, we chugged slowly up hills of snow, holding our breaths that we would make it in the old creaky bookmobile.

When we would get into town, there would be a group of happy customers waiting to get on, people of all ages excited to get an armful of books for the long winter ahead.

Lauren Naismith
Edmonds, Wash.

To the Editor:

Your recent feature on bookmobiles from the past might have led some readers to think that the bookmobile is long gone. But from many photos of the Bronx that I have taken, I was able to find two from 2019 (pre-Covid) that show that the bookmobile is alive and well in the Claremont neighborhood.

Admittedly, at the time even I was a little surprised that they were still in use.

Robert Kornhaber
River Ridge, N.J.

To the Editor:

“Where are the women of color?” Alejandro Lugo asks in a letter to the editor (Sept. 19), referring to our book “Still Mad,” which was reviewed on Sept. 5.

Unfortunately, his comment was based on the reviewer Katie Roiphe’s partial and prejudiced assessment of our work. Judging from her remarks and from the misleading photographs appearing alongside them, you might think we deal only with Audre Lorde.

But we want to assure Lugo and other readers that we do discuss Gwendolyn Brooks, Lorraine Hansberry, Nina Simone, Toni Morrison, Maxine Hong Kingston, Gloria Anzaldua, Claudia Rankine, Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak, N. K. Jemisin, Beyoncé and Amanda Gorman, as well as prominent activists from Florynce Kennedy to Stacey Abrams, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Kamala Harris.

Sandra M. Gilbert
Berkeley, Calif.

Susan Gubar
Bloomington, Ind.

To the Editor:

I am writing to express my disappointment that the Book Review assigned Jesse Singal to review a book about trans rights (Sept. 26). Though he professes to just be “asking questions,” Singal’s writing and statements on this topic have, for years, been decried as transphobic. He does not deserve to have his thinly hidden biases and phobias given a soapbox in the paper of record.

An uptick in the number of hate clicks this review will get does not justify giving voice to such a dangerous and harmful figure. Please do better next time.

Alex Bean
Chicago

To the Editor:

I write this letter in enthusiastic support of the Book Review. I would like to commend your editorial bravery and spine in assigning Jesse Singal to write a review of Helen Joyce’s seminal book, “Trans” — and then following through on publishing it.

Joselyn Baker
Sydney, Australia

To the Editor:

In his By the Book interview (Sept. 19), Anderson Cooper’s responses showed his deep honesty and vulnerability, and all the sadness he has had in his life.

Here is a man who has “everything” by most people’s standards; he’s a Vanderbilt and a Morgan. His collection of 4,000 books is heavily skewed toward his deep connection to those old families.

Nevertheless, his dream literary dinner consists of his mother, his father (who died when Cooper was 10) and his brother, who met a tragic and untimely death. I can think of no one else who has answered that oft-posed question in such a disarming and truthful manner. So moving.

Benita Black
New York

To the Editor:

Anderson Cooper cited a certain book he was obsessed with as a child, “Handmade Houses.”Cooper says: “I still have it. It’s a photo book of all sorts of shacks and homes made by hippies in the forest — this was the early ’70s. As a kid, I was very concerned about how people made a living.”

As the book’s designer, I know why all those wonderful craftswomen and men in the north part of the West Coast had been kept strictly anonymous: Many if not all were busy growing marijuana for a living.

Judith Whipple
Green Valley, Ariz.


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