reading

Summer 2012

Angle of Repose by Wallace Stegner. Pulitzer Prize for fiction in 1971. A serious read about a married couple in the late 1880s, she an artist and he a mining engineers. About how they somehow stay together as they move from mining camp to mining camp. The story's narrator is the grandson who is a retired professor, who's in a wheelchair and coping with self-esteem issues. Finds productive work in writing the story of his grandmother. Doesn't sound exciting but you would be rewarded with the reading. The writing is excellent with every paragraph. Stegner is one of the major writers of the American West. 

Nothing Daunted: The Education of Two Society Girls in the West by Dorothy Wickenden. Two college graduates take a job as school teachers in northwest Colorado (above Hayden, near an area I once lived in). Read this partly as the pair went to the college in 1913 just after the 1910 (see works in progress) book project I'm gathering material for. A true story and well written, based on letters. 

SavageBeauty

Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay  by Nancy Milford. I've been reading memoirs for about 3 years, as I believe my writing genre for the future is "fictional memoirs." A woman's life to be sure in the Jazz Age, but also the creative drive to express oneself via poetry but also the haunting reality that the creative life might attract or need dependencies, whether they be relationships, drugs, alcohol. There is another biography by Epstein which will situate the poetry in the world in more detail. When she died, the book ended. I've ordered a copy of her poems. I could feel the pull of the lines in this book and began thinking about returning to the 500 or so poems I've written, and to begin again. I see myself as the audience.  What Lips My Lips Have Kissed: The Loves and Love Poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay by Daniel Epstein. A different look into Millay's work and live(s). The Milford book is rather detached even when based on letters. Both of these books were published in 2001. More insight into the year 1910 and life/times. 

NOW READING:

The Great Ideas. 102 essays that precede each IDEA in the Great Books set. 

Vampires in the Lemon Grove. Karen Russell. Short stories. 


© neal shambaugh 2013