Letters to the Editor – The New York Times

Letters to the Editor - The New York Times

To the Editor:

Elisabeth Egan’s Beach Reads roundup (Aug. 16) was so funny. I would’ve bought “Sad Janet” based on the cover alone, but now — thanks to Egan’s concise, clever review — I can claim that my decision is based on its literary merits.

Also, I’d planned to skip Kevin Kwan’s “Sex and Vanity” regardless of the hype, but couldn’t resist reading Egan’s gentle put-down, which reads like one long borscht-belt-era one-liner.

Kevin Parks
New York

To the Editor:

Elisabeth Egan’s review of Kevin Kwan’s new novel, “Sex and Vanity,” doesn’t mention the fact that it’s a modern update of “A Room With a View.” Reading Kwan’s book (at the beach) after watching the 1985 film of “A Room With a View” made it even more enjoyable.

Tom Carty
Silver Spring, Md.

To the Editor:

Wattages can be deceiving!

While reading the Beach Reads piece, I was abruptly thrown off course by the sentence “The lamp tacked to the side of our rental cottage was of toaster-oven wattage, barely bright enough to illuminate a page.” Why, because toaster ovens typically use 1,200-1,400 watts, a common high-pressure sodium streetlight draws 1,000 watts, and most folks can read just fine with a lamp containing a 60-watt bulb. Hence it’s not necessarily the wattage that makes lights bright or dim.

Otherwise, the piece was electrifying!

M. F. Coffin
Hobart, Tasmania

To the Editor:

Jeff Madrick’s Aug. 16 review of “The System,” by Robert B. Reich, and “Break ’Em Up,” by Zephyr Teachout, overlooks an obvious possible explanation why “working-class voters in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin opted for Trump, and apparently against their economic interests.” Rather than being dupes, working-class conservatives, like wealthy liberals, may have moral convictions that lead them to vote against their economic interests. You don’t have to be opposed to abortion or same-sex marriage to recognize that these unsavory views may sometimes override economic concerns.

Felicia Nimue Ackerman
Providence, R.I.

To the Editor:

There has been no decades-long mystery why millions of white working-class Americans vote Republican. In 1965 Lyndon Johnson proclaimed, “We shall overcome,” and millions of whites felt betrayed and began switching parties. People have long understood which of the two parties is for whites. Trump now makes it all too explicit. Racism, unfortunately, explains far too much of American behavior.

Lawrence Hess
San Diego

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