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Anne Lamott’s writing is funny, ironic, and self-deprecating. Author of the bestselling Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year (New York: Pantheon, 1993) as well as five other novels, Lamott writes about everyday relationships, grief, and the redemption to be found in self-scrutiny and humor. “Word by Word,” her weekly Web column, appears in Salon. Mother Jones asked Lamott what she’d been reading and watching lately. Here’s her take on the movie adaption of Roald Dahl’s well-known children’s novel, James and the Giant Peach:

“I went to see James and the Giant Peach with my roommate. He’s 6-and-a-half years old; I call him my heir. The movie has insight into all of our souls. A lonely kid finds companionship with these odd, eccentric insects. (Susan Sarandon plays the spider with this Greta Garbo accent. She’s so good it makes you want to drown yourself in a toilet without hurting your head.) It reminded me of movies we used to take acid to watch–it’s that stunning visually. Plus the bad guys lose and good guys come together at the end–you can’t beat that.”

Also recommended by Lamott:

First Comes Love, by Marion Winik (New York: Pantheon, 1996), is the memoir of an NPR commentator, her marriage to a gay man who eventually dies of AIDS, and their family. “The storyÉis really about survival,” Lamott says. “It’s very black, and hopeful.”

In Medieval in L.A. (Washington, D.C.: Counterpoint, 1996), author Jim Paul tells the story of one man’s weekend trip to Los Angeles. “It’s brilliant,” Lamott says. “Paul is a cross between Nicholson Baker and John McPhee. He writes about minutiae and moments, and sheds light on the bigger issues of love and community.”

Back to Hot!media.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

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