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Worth a Click: 9 Stories You Should Read Today

By DNAinfo Staff | October 15, 2015 3:36pm 

 Author Jonathan Franzen at The New Yorker Festival on Oct. 5, 2013.
Author Jonathan Franzen at The New Yorker Festival on Oct. 5, 2013.
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Slaven Vlasic / Getty Images

VIDEO: Brooklyn Mom Talks About Raising a Transgender Child

Jodie Patterson, a mother of five in Brooklyn, discusses her experiences raising a transgender child and the lessons she learned through the years. Her 7-year-old son, Penelope, is anatomically female.

Patterson talks about the struggles of questioning herself as a parent, the early identity conversations she had with her son and allowing her child to express himself.

“Who am I to say how happiness looks, how happiness feels?” she says in the video. “On a simple level, allow for happiness in all forms.” [Cosmopolitan]

Jonathan Franzen: Great Writer, Annoying Human or Both?

It is possible to be a fan of Jonathan Franzen’s novels and still find the author at least a bit insufferable. A Financial Times writer sits down for lunch with Franzen, whose recent novel "Purity" has garnered mostly positive reviews — though the FT called it “middlebrow,” which the reporter points out to Franzen — and discusses why some people seem to find him so grating.

"His idea of himself as a truth-teller is only partly why people find him so aggravating,” the reporter writes. "There is something about the man himself, and his variety of superior maleness, that also annoys.”

But not to worry, super fans, Franzen won’t get his feelings hurt — "He says he never reads what people write about him." [Financial Times]

Lamar Odom’s Basketball Mentors in South Jamaica Recall His Days Growing Up in Queens 

Lamar Odom’s former coaches in South Jamaica, where the ex-NBA player grew up, remember him as a talented player who loved basketball and was a mentor to local kids.

“We knew he was special,” one of his coaches said.

Odom, the ex-husband of Khloe Kardashian, is currently fighting for his life after being found unconscious at a Nevada brothel. [NY Daily News]

A Lonely Protester Gets A Lesson in Humility

A woman who went to protest against Muslims at a mosque in Ohio was surprised to find out she was the only one protesting. The Washington Post's video shows the members of the mosque matching her hostility with kindness, and finally she lets her guard down and stops her one-woman protest. [Washington Post]

'The Fracas at The Zoo Christmas Party'

This story has everything, including one of the best leads of all time: "A former meerkat expert at London Zoo has been ordered to pay compensation to a monkey handler she attacked with a wine glass in a love spat over a llama-keeper." Enjoy. [AP]

Arabic Graffiti Calling Out Racism in ‘Homeland’ Airs on Show

A hint to the producers of Showtime’s “Homeland”: if you hire street artists to give your fake Syrian refugee camp an authentic vibe, maybe check the meaning of that graffiti they scrawled all over the walls. Three artists hired by the makers of the CIA drama to add graffiti to one of its sets used the opportunity to protest the show’s depiction of Middle Eastern people, writing “Homeland is racist” in Arabic on the faux-brick walls, one of several messages they added to the set, including “#BlackLivesMatter” and “This show does not represent the view of the artists.”

One of the messages made it to air in Sunday’s episode, according to the Washington Post. [Washington Post]

Commuting With a Piano

You think your commute is annoying? Try taking an upright piano wherever you go. In a New York Times profile, Erin Durant, a New Orleans transplant to Red Hook, shows her loyalty to her cumbersome instrument, dragging it from gig to gig, despite the hassle. [NYT]

On Life, Books and Friends 

Paul Holdengraber’s Belgian drawl is easily recognizable to local literature lovers, and now the host of the Live from the NYPL conversation series at the New York Public Library has his own weekly podcast. "On a Phone Call From Paul" on Literary Hub lets you listen in as Paul calls, checks in on and talks about life and books with a friend. First up, writer Neil Gaiman. [Literary Hub]

Find Out How Cultured You Are, According to a 1950s Anthropologist

Slate has posted three quizzes from anthropologist Ashley Montagu's 1958 book "The Cultured Man" that were meant to let readers know how cultured they are. Questions range from the specific ("'The Magnificent Farce' was written by?") to the personal ("Do you read books on cultural history?") to the abstract ("Define art."). The article also includes Montagu's answer key, so if you still don't know what art is, now could be your chance to find out. [Slate]

This column was complied by DNAinfo reporters Camille Bautista, Rosa Goldensohn, Noah Hurowitz, Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska, Irene Plagianos, Eddie Small, Rachel Holliday Smith, Shaye Weaver and Nikhita Venugopal.