…when it’s from 1920 and they left it in their old book that you bought at a used bookstore. Then it’s okay. Here’s a story:
I often don’t have a whole lot of patience to write on my blog, and I never reviewed Redeeming Love, which I just finished. To put it simply, I didn’t find it the best writing, but I found something great about it and the story. It’s one of my top faves now, with Pride and Prejudice and Outlander, probably.
As I usually do when I discover a new love, I Googled it. I happened on a nice, civil, polite discussion of the book. I simply can’t agree with lots that was being said, which is really par for the course, I guess, in these type of internet matters. So I put down a comment, pretty much off the cuff and I am pretty happy with it. Here’s the link and the comment.
I just finished this book and loved it. That doesn’t mean I think it was great writing. Just take things for what they are, I’d say, and stop bemoaning and worrying about ‘corny’ language and ‘purple prose.’ Who cares? It seems like everyone wants any one book to be all things to them, but that simply isn’t possible. I think people need to get over their fear of corniness and the feeling of intimidation they obviously feel when they aren’t reading ‘literature.’ There’s room for all sorts of books.
Frankly, there was a simplicity in the writing of this book that made it exceedingly readable. The short sentences work in those graphs you cite because they are apropos to the seething the girl feels in one scene (exactly how often do you spew streams multi-clause sentences when you’re livid- unless you’re on Designing Women?). Staccato and repetitive was appropriate at that point. And it seemed like normal thought in both graphs. As far as pronouns are concerned, the big mistake would have been if Rivers felt she needed to use proper nouns all the time.
I agree there was overwrought language here, but instead of comparing this book with conventional ideals of ‘good writing’, I choose to see it as its own beauty. In the same way a person needn’t be conventional to be beautiful, neither does a book, and it’s silly for any reader or writer – me included – to assign those standards when judging. To me, it smacks of discomfort with natural, unguarded relaxed language – the true kind that people can relate too when they don’t let their inner editor sneer at them like the meanies in the in-group during high school).
Just let it roll and appreciate it for what it is, and that’s a beautiful story that – as my mum so rightly said is like a “gentle wave”. Let’s just get over our precious selves.
Bedbugs found in UW library books
This is the headline I came across doing some other Internet research. Apparently the bedbug brouhaha is far from over. I had heard the warning about the pesky critters when staying in hotels and even when ordering clothes, yet, never thought they would be interested in books. The Seattle Times article discusses how bedbugs hitch rides in books and live in the spine and come creeping out at night to feed.
The other day I bought a book of his poems. I was thinking of buying one at Barnes and Noble, but they didn’t have an inexpensive one in stock – I guess they aren’t celebrating Burns Night – and I knew a local used bookshop had one, so I went there to get it. I had popped into the store some days before to check if they had his works, but I didn’t buy it then; I wasn’t thrilled with the edition. Nothing too romantic about this copy. But, when I returned to buy it, I was VERY glad that I had not gotten one at B&N. Why? I found an inscription inside that I’d not noticed before. This one wasn’t too old, 1957, but it made so many wonderful ideas pop into my mind as I mused what it said and the moment of its purchase by its original owners’.
Here’s the inscription:
I imagined a couple on a lengthier trip than we take nowadays in an overcast and wet Scotland. I imagined the 1950s styles in solid, non-synthetic fabrics they might have worn. She might have worn a hat, him too, actually. I imagined a vintage pocketbook, something heavy, dark and, perhaps, compartmentalized, and the couple was arm in arm as they gazed at his house and browsed the gift shop. They cared enough about their having purchased this book at this site to commemorate it by noting it. Probably with a fountain pen. Maybe.
And, then, I imagined them in some old roadster-type car motoring to and from this part of their holiday excursion in the countryside. And, I imagined how they’d gotten to Scotland. What must the plane have looked like back then? But it was probably a ship, wasn’t it? They took an ocean liner. And this book was carried up a boarding ramp in a trunk or old luggage of some kind.
And, while I know, that I’m probably completely wrong with some of this imagery and am probably using some really faulty terminology, you’ve got to admit that a used book can make for some wonderfully romantic fantasies, don’t you?
What was it like to live at Fruitlands?
Serious Alcott biographers have devoted much ink to the family’s experience during this six-month utopian experiment. Sometimes thoughtful, often absurd and always dramatic, Fruitlands is credited with both the shaping of the famous daughter, and a change in the power structure of the Alcott marriage and family life.
Richard Francis’ exhaustive study, Fruitlands The Alcott Family and Their Search for Utopia reveals extensive excerpts from the writings of Charles Lane whom, with Bronson Alcott, created the community.