Tuesday, November 25, 2008
Did you hear that? What is that deafening peel of thunder, that terrible groan of suffering, that indistinguishable cacophony of cries? That’s the death of the English language as we know it.
Spend more than five minutes with anyone between the ages of 10-18 and you will see their thumbs blazing across the touchpad of whatever high tech electronic device they use to communicate with others of their ilk. This by itself is not a bad thing. I’m all for communication. The problem I have is with the content of said messages.
“OMG!!! Lol!! I’m afk for a sec Ill brb”
Pause for a second and allow that to resonate in the deep strata of your brain. I think there’s a noun in there somewhere. A verb? Well maybe not. In fact as I write this piece the spell checker has just had its second seizure.
I don’t claim to be Shakespeare here but that sentence above is typical of many conversations going on right now on computers and phones around our great big world. With each passing generation I fear that our language will become more and more infiltrated by this genre of dialogue.
So, what’s going on here? Are these words just to long to type on tiny keyboards or is their something more insidious afoot? I think the answer lies somewhere between tiny keyboards and outright laziness. Our society has made it so convenient for us to do practically anything. I mean we have drive thru liquor stores now. We have a remote for practically everything in our home. Even my beloved books are being made more palatable through the use of compact disks and now these reading devices. Couple that with a nonchalant attitude and you have cyber speak, leetspeak, or Internet slang.
I begin to wonder what some of the older classics might sound like with this particular brand of communications.
Gone with the Wind: “FMD I don’t gad.”
Catch 22: “ Just bc your paranoid don’t mean they aren’t ay”
Hamlet: “Alas, poor Yorick! Ikhm.”
Maybe I’m being a tad unfair to this generation. Maybe I have just become one of those old people who refer to kids as whippersnappers. I don’t know but what I do know is this. Teens are going to continue to lol, brb, and afk themselves silly but we have to instill in them at an early age the need to write whole complete sentences and paragraphs. If left to their own desires the books of tomorrow will be much shorter because it will be filled with abbreviations.
The responsibility of this falls to us as parents, teachers, and fellow communicators. We have to start now by encouraging them to write, by not taking the easy shortcuts when writing ourselves, by setting an example and expecting them to live up to it. We need to bring back the hand-written letters and stop relying solely on e-mail for our communications. Just because the devices are getting smaller doesn’t mean our words have to. It starts with us and maybe we can find a happy medium of cyberspeak and real English.
As A.A. Milne said: “You’re braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.”
Monday, November 24, 2008
I have to say that while most of the interview was a little tedious (Diaz seems as impressed with himself as everyone else is impressed with him), that last point resonated with me. See, while trying to come up with something for my regular Monday gig here on The Gargoyle, I’d been thinking a lot about mystery novels.
Some of us here at the Gothic Bookshop are big fans of mysteries (or crime novels, as a few of us like to call them, just because it sounds tough). Whether they’re cozies, hard-boiled novels, or straight-up procedurals, we eat them up. A lot of our customers go for mysteries, too, so we do our best to keep the newest and best examples of the stuff on hand. Of course, these novels are great fun to read, but I wonder if there’s something else that draws us towards these books, something that has to do with what Junot Diaz was talking about in his interview.
Mysteries have been a vital part of the American canon almost since its inception. Fairly or not, Edgar Allen Poe is universally credited for creating the genre with his stories featuring the cunning detective, Dupin. Early masters of hard-boiled detective writing not only were wildly popular but had broad global influence over the styles of contemporaneous and later writers. James M. Cain's influence on Camus’ The Stranger is the most well-known example**, but there are plenty of others. Many of our most important contemporary writers of fiction, as I’ve mentioned in a previous post, draw heavily on the genre. Michael Chabon, in his award-winning (and freakin’ awesome) book The Yiddish Policemen’s Union, uses the framework of the procedural mystery novel to explore themes of identity and alienation in modern Jewish culture.
And it’s not just out-and-out mystery novels, either. (Here comes one of my sweeping, only partially accurate pronouncements, so buckle up.) I would argue that the mystery is at the heart of all great American literature. The Scarlet Letter, The Great Gatsby, To Kill a Mockingbird –these are all, at the core, novels dealing with secrets, slowly revealed. In other words: mysteries.
Maybe Junot Diaz is right. Maybe none of us knows what it means to be American, and maybe we’re all trying to figure it out. Maybe that’s why as writers and readers we turn to the story structure of the mystery novel again and again, and why we’ll keep doing so until we finally get the answer.
I sort of hope we never do.
** In the interest of full disclosure, I have to acknowledge that I originally credited Dashiell Hammett with influencing Camus. My good friend & bowling teammate "The Rev" reminded me that it was in fact James M. Cain. Thanks, Rev!
Thursday, November 20, 2008
You all have us at a disadvantage. All you have to do is go to the Gothic Bookshop website or come by the store and look at the staff picks table to know what we’ve read lately and enjoyed, but we’d like to know about your favorites. No, really. We are interested. So tell us between now and Dec. 1st – and if your favorite is picked at random, we’ll put it on the staff picks table for the month of December with your name and recommendation on it and you’ll win a $10 gift card to the Gothic.
Tuesday, November 18, 2008
Winter is coming!
No, I don’t mean that literally, though there were a few flakes in the air today. That is an often thrown about line from one of my favorite fantasy novels. It got me thinking about autumn and about how much more satisfying everything seems to me in the fall/winter seasons; food tastes better, warmth feels warmer, friendships seem deeper, and you guessed it reader books seem more profound.
I have been a long time lover of fantasy novels. While other people were reading the classics like Moby Dick, The Great Gatsby, and Wuthering Heights, I was reading The Lord of the Rings, The Chronicles of Narnia, and Robert Jordan’s Wheel of Time. I cut my teeth on fantasy novels. They were the books that gave me a hunger to read. They were the books that made me choose them over television or comics even. I have always had a love affair with fantasy.
So when I say a book like A Game of Thrones is one of my favorite pieces of fantasy you can consider me somewhat of an expert. I don’t claim all knowing Nostradamus like foresight but I do consider myself to be a good recommender in this subject.
The thing that sets Thrones apart from some of the other books in the fantasy genre is complex. Many fantasy novels follow a similar thread. An evil overlord thrusts some young child who is more powerful than they realize into a dangerous situation. Along the way the child is befriended and aided by a wise elder mentor, a strange magical creature, and a rag tag army of misfits and such. In Lord of the Rings for example, the child is Frodo, the evil overlord is Sauron, the elder mentor is Gandalf, and so on. In no way is this a judgment on Tolkien. I firmly accredit Tolkien for starting this “ Great Fantasy Novel Blueprint”.
Back to Thrones, Thrones throws out the single young hero thread by allowing us access to many protagonists. In fact, George R.R. Martin allows us to read the book from 8-12 point of view characters. Some of these characters are protagonists, some antagonists, some fall in a grey area in between, and some start off in one and switch to another. Such is his skill as a writer that in Thrones you may hate a character and by book 3 understand completely why he chose the path he went down.
The many point of view characters allows us not to get fixated on one character as a main entity. Instead we are given a handful of characters that we can identify with on different levels. In Thrones for example, one of the first characters we are introduced to is the head of the Starks of Winterfell, Eddard. Eddard is a family man; he has a loving wife, many kids, and a great family castle called Winterfell. Eddard is someone who you identify as a good man in the books immediately and you want him to succeed in whatever endeavors the writer puts before him.
Eddard is not the only character we get a point of view from. There are his sons and daughters, the king of the land, his bastard son, a strangely grotesque misshapen dwarf who is heir to a large family of Westeros (the land of the books), the dwarfs evil and malicious brother and sister who are quite fond of one another. The differing points of view allow you to judge each character individually. Obviously you will have characters you root for more than others, some that you look forward to reading about more than others.
As an example I identified largely with Jon Snow, Eddards' bastard son. Eddard loves him and treats him like a real Stark but he is keenly aware that he’s not a Stark and this is not his place. There is also Tyrion, the aforementioned dwarf. Tyrion has a brash attitude, he already knows people will be inclined to dislike and underestimate him. He uses this to his advantage by living up to their expectations and saying things that would be considered rude or socially unacceptable.
The deep characters are set against a wonderful world. Martin uses magic very limitedly in Thrones. One of the point of view characters comes from a family of dragon raisers but no dragons have been seen in the land in many years. There are no over the top magicians, magic swords, spell battles, or wands. The weapon of choice in Thrones is political maneuvering and swords and shields.
As a last point to my appreciation of this book, there is a long-standing rule of fantasy that the antagonist is usually going to survive the peril the writer places him in. If not the sequel gets harder to write. Martin makes it obvious by the end of Thrones that he has no problem killing point of view characters dead. This is in a way good and bad. Its good in that there is always a sense of peril for the characters you’re invested in. It’s bad in that he might very well kill one, leaving you frustrated and genuinely angry.
Thrones, A Clash of Kings, A Storm of Swords, and A Feast for Crows are some of the finest fantasy I have ever read. I could go into more detail about them but I would recommend you just read them yourself but do so knowing that you will get angry, frustrated, laugh, feel joy and perhaps even cry. That is what separates a great fantasy novel from a good one.
So when the skies darken and the snow starts to fall, pull out a nice thick fantasy novel like Thrones and allow yourself the pleasure to slip away into another world, after all this ones just to hard sometimes.
Monday, November 17, 2008
If I had spent any of Friday reading comic books (Yeah, I know I’m supposed to call them graphic novels. So sue me. They’re long comic books.), I probably would have spent a lot of the weekend thinking about the particular power that what’s known as sequential art seems to have. The argument over whether comics constitute a valid art form or a worthwhile contribution to the canon of great literature seems to be done. Comic books have been awarded the Pulitzer Prize and nominated for the National Book Award. Plenty of critical works have been published, including books on sequential art as a medium and those on the undeniable influence that comic books have had on contemporary writers.
So I’m not here to tell you that comic books are worth reading. We can all agree on that.
I have been thinking, though, about why I’d encourage parents and teachers to get good graphic novels into kids’ hands. Why? Not because comics are just for kids. Many, if not most, of the book-length comics being published these days are for adults. No, it’s because more than any other art form, comic art is best able to explore the tension between what’s being said in any given moment and what’s actually happening in that moment. And learning that there’s often a difference between the two—both in literature and in real life—is a lesson that young people need to learn as early as possible.
Think about a panel in your average comic. You’ve got your speech balloon and your action within the scene. Inside the speech balloon is something like, “I’ve always preferred cats.” This line can have varying levels of meaning, depending upon what we see happening in the scene. If the person speaking is a nice old lady petting a sleeping kitty perched on her lap, the line sounds sweet and innocuous. But if we read her line of dialogue while the illustration shows us that same cat killing a bird, we quickly come to understand something disturbing about her character.
Comics aren’t by any means the only kind of literature that can pull off something like that. Hemingway was brilliant at it, certainly. But there’s something concentrated and immediate in the way that good comic art can illuminate that kind of tension. It’s why, say, the graphic novel adaptation of Neil Gaiman’s Coraline is somehow something more than the book, where the upcoming movie adaptation is likely to be something less.
It’s also why we’re expanding our graphic novels section. (There, I said it. Happy?) Writers and readers seem to have discovered the power of comics, and there are more and more books in the genre for us to stock. I hope our Gothic Shoppers will come in and let us recommend a couple of titles, both for themselves and for their kids, siblings, nephews, or students.
In typically contrary fashion, when thinking about comics’ ability to remind us that often what we think is going on is not in fact all that is going on, I found myself remembering not my beat-up, reread copy of Alan Moore’s Watchmen(the best of the genre, by far), but of one of those old-fashioned, text-only, fiction-type books. Padgett Powell, in his masterpiece of southern fiction, Edisto (finally, thankfully, to be reissued by FSG this winter), has his adolescent main character give us these lines to remember: So that’s me. This is my motto. Never to forget that, dull as things get, old as it is, something is happening, happening all the time, and to watch it.
Reading comic books helps us to be better watchers.
Thursday, November 13, 2008
Recently I went out to dinner with a friend and her twelve year old granddaughter, whom we will call “A”. She had told “A” that she could bring along a book to read when she got bored listening to the adults talk. Amazingly enough, the book wasn’t hauled out until almost time for dessert, but while we were all talking, my friend asked me if I thought kids should be able to read whatever they want to. Why of course was my response! She looked a tad taken aback so I asked why – what is bothering you? Well, first she wasn’t really in favor of a book that “A” had been reading called TTFY because it was written entirely in internet messages using ‘text speak’ and she didn’t think it was a good example of writing. “A” defended herself about that one. She explained to her grandmother that she knew better than to write a paper in that language and that she read a lot of other books, many that were classics or bestsellers and written in proper English. My friend then went on to say that she also wasn’t sure about “A” having just read ANGELS AND DEMONS, so I told her a story.
My mother was an elementary school librarian and usually quite over protective of me, her only child, but that over protectiveness ended when it came to books and reading. I always read a lot and by the time I was in the seventh grade, I was reading books from the adult section of our public library. One day my father emerged from the bathroom with the copy in his hand of James Baldwin’s ANOTHER COUNTRY that I had been reading and left in there. He looked at my mother and said “Are we letting her read this?” “Yes, dear, we let her read anything she wants to.” He looked skeptical but returned the book to where I had left it. I have always been so thankful to her for that. Then, I didn’t know what half the words in that book even meant – pimps weren’t a subject that ever came up in conversation where I came from – but it was one of the many books that opened up other worlds to me, made me want to read more, learn more, go places and do things.
So, let them read whatever they want. You don’t know where it will lead.
When books fall open
And you fall in
A great adventure
Will begin. *
*from a poem entitled “When Books Fall Open” © Makennarella
Wednesday, November 12, 2008
It's his memoir of growing up in Des Moines, Iowa in the fifties. That might sound small, specific, and boring, but it's the opposite. It's warm, generous, sweetly nostalgic without being sappy and, because it's Bill Bryson, riotously funny. Even if, like me, you didn't grow up in the fifties or in the midwest, you may find your own memories jogged - perhaps of stories your parents or grandparents told, or of a store or restaurant that's been in business forever and seems slightly out of time.
But be careful - you might just find yourself wanting to move to Des Moines.
Tuesday, November 11, 2008
I have never taken up arms against an opposing army. I have never felt a man die in my arms. I have never “killed a man just to watch him die”. I have never been drafted or volunteered or been evacced. For all these things I consider myself lucky but I know there are plenty of men and women who have.
I know there have been many bloody and epic wars in the history of my country that I have been amazingly blessed to not have any fought in during my formulative years. I know men and women have lost their lives in defense of my country. I understand that the blood of those people’s sacrifices earned the freedoms I enjoy today.
Why then do I blog on this today? Because today is Veterans Day and if not for the radio I listened to this morning it might have passed without me even knowing. To many of us Veterans Day has become an inconvenience. The Post Office is closed. My bank is shut down. I am more bent out of shape that I had to park so far away from where I work, or that I’m having to pay more for my water due to a drought that has long been over, or that the #1 player of my favorite college team was injured in practice. Have I given a thought today to soldiers and their families at all?
The answer is regrettably no. On a typical Veterans Day I would not give a second thought to veterans, which is a point of shame to me. I owe the fact that I can go to the post office or the bank to these soldiers. The fact that I have a job, a car, and a house is due in no small way to these very veterans that I don’t even acknowledge.
As a non-historian, my knowledge on World Wars One and Two is limited to what I read in history text and saw in movies. The experiences of the Korean & Vietnam Wars were lost to me. Even the Persian Gulf, which was during my lifetime, is not something I know much about. I am a history idiot, or to be politically correct, “Historically Challenged.”
So my challenge to myself today and to you as a viewer of this blog is twofold. One, let’s read more about our history to better understand the significance of this day and these veterans that we should be honoring. Two, let’s go out and find a veteran and thank him or her for their commitment to our country, to our freedoms, and to us. If you have any trouble finding a veteran, I bet many can be found at your local Veterans Hospital.
Let’s start this year honoring and acknowledging what we have here, a land of the free and a home of the brave.
Monday, November 10, 2008
What’s impressive to me about Lethem’s review is that he’s able to be so eloquent about Bolaño’s book despite the fact that he’s clearly ga-ga over it. When I encounter a book that knocks me out that way, I practically lose the power of speech (My co-workers may wish to contradict me on this, but for now I’ll run with it.)
Now, as booksellers, we pride ourselves on being able to find the one book that’s the right fit for the customer in front of us. The more difficult a request is, the happier we are. The perfect book for a one-armed leftist gun-nut with a soft spot for kittens? Check. A birthday present for a vegan teenager with a fondness for vampires, speed-metal, and needlepoint? Got you covered. We live for these kinds of questions. One of my favorite bookselling memories is of working at the now defunct Europa Books in Austin, TX, with some seriously killer booksellers. A customer wandered in and asked, “What’s the saddest book ever published?” We all stared at him for about five seconds before telling him to come back in a week. Thus began a raging debate among staff, customers, people on the street, booksellers in other stores, in other towns. I don’t now remember what book we settled on, though I do remember arguing at various points for both Remains of the Day and Dirty Work. Heck, I don’t even remember if the customer ever came back into the store. What I do remember is the joy of trying to find The Right Book For That Guy. That’s one of the great pleasures of bookselling.
But sometimes I’ll read a book that just floors me, and the right book/right customer thing falls by the wayside. From that point on, there is no right book except for THE book. I go from being a bookseller to being an evangelist, and as I mentioned before, I lose my ability to talk intelligently. All I can do is put the book in someone’s hand and say: READ THIS. If asked why: BECAUSE I SAID SO.
We’ve all felt like this from time to time, I’d guess, and not always about books. When I first saw Soderberg’s The Limey, or first heard Duke Ellington’s Stompy Jones, I picked up the phone and called everyone I knew to suggest (demand) that they become converts like me. When I do get that feeling about a book, though, my need to get people to read it is somehow more urgent than what I experience with a movie or a piece of music. Maybe it’s because I’ve made it my career to get books into people’s hands, or maybe it’s because of a sense I have that any book, without a little help, could go entirely unread before going out of print.
The last book I felt this way about was Steve Erickson’s Zeroville (my review can be found here). I picked up the book purely because it was published by one of my favorite independent presses, Europa Editions (no connection to the aforementioned store). I wasn’t ten chapters into it before I was forcing it into the hands of my good friend and fellow bookseller David Felton. Together, we forced that book on as many people as possible, usually –though not always—with great results. We were manic over the book. We drove our friends nuts. We were in the grip of a fever and hellbent on contagiousness. We tried to be as eloquent as Lethem is in his review, but the best we came up with was: THIS BOOK IS AWESOME.
I guess what I’m saying, Gothic Shoppers, is that it’s possible you’ll walk into our store at some point and see a wild-eyed bookseller, clutching a hardback, coming at you like the freaking Ancient Mariner. He may be babbling incoherently, gesturing wildly, or just running around you in circles. Don’t be afraid; it’s okay. He’s just got a book he needs you to read.
BECAUSE HE SAID SO.
Friday, November 7, 2008
Today's guest is a reader and long time customer of the Gothic. He has chosen to remain anonymous but I think you will find this nonetheless interesting.
Heard at the dinner table.
Man to my right, ‘What really blew me away was Napoleon’s chess set. They actually had Napoleon’s chess set. Can you believe it? The one he used at Saint Elba, where he died in exile.’
‘No. No.’ The woman to my left, ‘He was exiled to the island of Saint Helens.’
My two dinner companions were just about to step over the boundary of polite conversation and start an argument, and spoil our friendly dinner. The man had been describing his visit to Biltmore, the huge Vanderbilt mansion in Ashville, North Carolina. In one of the rooms he had seen a chess set that had supposedly belonged to Napoleon Bonaparte when he was banished to an island.
I happened to know that they were both right—and wrong. I was in a position to be the peacemaker.
‘You’re both right’, I said. ‘He was exiled in 1814 to the island of Elba, between northwest coast of Italy and his native island of Corsica, by the allied governments that had been fighting him. But early in 1815 he managed to escape and return to France. He was defeated again, this time at Waterloo. The allies wanted to be certain he could not escape again, so they had him taken to the island of Saint Helena, nearly in the middle of the South Atlantic, more than a thousand miles from the West Coast of Africa.’
Both of my dinner companions were elated: they were both ‘right’ and had demonstrated their erudition. I did not correct their little mistakes concerning the names of the islands.
But after a few moments the man turned to me and said, ‘I did not know that you were an historian.”
“I’m not’, I said.
‘You must be a geographer, then’ the woman said.
‘No, I’m not. I am a medical research scientist at Duke.’
‘Well, then, how do you know all this?’ they both asked.
‘I guess I just like to read’ I said. ‘And to know things.’
‘How interesting’ the man said. ‘I like to play golf.’
Thursday, November 6, 2008
I’m very much with you on the pleasures of reading for pure escapism. I’m at my happiest when I’m rereading an old Ross Thomas novel or diving into a good Batman comic. And I’m crazy for a grilled cheese, especially at the Village Lanes.
I’m not sure I’d be so eager to divide Schlock from High Lit, though. I think that the books we read for pure pleasure are just as edifying as the books we were once forced to read. I first read William Gibson because I wanted some exciting science fiction, yet he has turned out to be one of the most influential thinkers and writers of his generation. I go back to Gibson’s books for multiple readings because I enjoy them, but it’s undeniable that his ideas have an impact on me, regardless of whether I’m aware of it as I turn the pages.
It’s never been the case that we can tell in the moment what’s schlock or not. There are books that are widely regarded as classics now that were once thought of as pornography, pulp, or trash. People read these books when they were published not because some self-anointed culture maven told them to, but because they were salacious, exciting, or suspenseful. Charles Dickens published many of his works as serials, and they were as sensationalistic and closely followed in their time as Grey’s Anatomy is today.
So what’s my point? I guess it’s that it doesn’t matter whether you want to read the schlock or the classics, because it’s all the same stuff . Books lead to other books. You can go from The Godfather to King Lear to Neil Gaiman’s Sandman and you’ll be following a thematic thread across several genres, each of which is gratifying to read, and all of which go great with a grilled cheese.
I promised that I wouldn’t try to make you be smart, Arthur, and I won’t, because the truth is that you and Jim Butcher are taking care of that all on your own.
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
Sometimes it's clear that someone has run spellcheck, but no more than that. I've seen feet instead of feat, bare instead of bear, tenant instead of tenet, cannon instead of canon. All words, but all nonsensical when placed where they don't belong. If I'm reading a work of fiction and I see a glaring error like that, it kicks me right out of the story. It's like seeing an extra in a crowd scene in Gladiator wearing a jeans, a t-shirt and a wristwatch, or seeing the trapdoor through which the Wicked Witch of the West descends, only partially hidden by her cloud of smoke. It's a short-circuit in the text-to-brain loop.
I've been a typesetter and proofreader, and I've seen manuscripts of varying degrees of legibility, but that's why they went through several different people before getting sent to the printer. Proofreading is expensive, both in-house and contracted, but the author put much time and care into producing the work, the least the publisher can do is make sure it is correct. Spellcheck isn't enough. It won't catch the wrong word, it might or might not catch an omitted word, and if the work concerns numbers or data in any form, spellcheck can't catch any of those errors. There is no substitute for a proofreader.
And of course, I just spent a very large span of time hunting for typos in this. It would be just my luck to goof up the word spellcheck. I'd never live it down.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
As a parent I can tell you one of the hardest things you will ever do is try and get your kids to read. In our culture today there are so many things competing for our children’s attention: television, video games, music, movies, and schoolwork. I love reading. I am passionate about reading but trying to pass that passion on to my kids is nigh unto impossible.
The weird thing about it is all of them are reading at or above grade level and they rarely crack a book at home without there being some sort of edict sent down from the high and lofty seat of power. “Go to your room and read or I will take that Nintendo Wii and hook it up to my TV.”
I think I did everything right. I read to them every night as they went to bed before they could do so themselves. They see me reading. They understand the importance of reading. So, why then do they not read?
The answer is not simple. I almost want to throw my hands in the air and say the answer is “ I have no freaking idea.” But that would be cheating and not a very interesting blog. (Though this might already be uninteresting)
Here’s my answer in a nutshell. I’m just going to keep doing what I’m doing. I didn’t really develop good reading habits myself until I was in high school. As a parent I have to continue to provide a good example by allowing them to see me read, to see my passion for reading. I have to engage them in conversations about my book. They need to want to read before there ever going to become a reader.
So in conclusion, I plan to keep buying them books. I’ll read them myself if I have to. I’m going to continue to make a point of reading when I’m around them. I’m going to discuss books in front of them. I’m not going to force them to read. I’m not going to use the force to make them read.
I’m just going to wait, watch, and provide opportunities for my children to grow up strong, healthy, and passionate readers.
Monday, November 3, 2008
I always find myself thinking how glad I am I was born when women can vote. My grandmother couldn’t vote until after my mother was in high school. The 19th Amendment, proposing extending the right of suffrage to women was proposed in May, 1919, passed by Congress in June, 1919 and ratified on August 18, 1920. (The North Carolina General Assembly finally ratified it in 1971!)
So get out there and vote whether you’re a woman or not – but if you’re a woman, don’t take it for granted - savor it!