The Sunday Salon: Essays #2

I didn't have much reading or blogging time yesterday. I did manage to read a couple of essays and to write a poem for our writing group. So this will be late and short and sweet.

  • From At Large and At Small by Anne Fadiman: "Mail." Fadiman starts the essay describing her father's daily ritual with collecting and sorting the mail. I love when she writes about her fascinating family. She goes into the history of postal delivery in Europe and the United States - some very interesting tidbits (for example, the recipient of the mail used to have to pay the postage). She does a great bit about email and other current forms of communication and ends very sweetly comparing her current mail ritual with that of her late father's, including using some of his tools. I am savoring this book.
  • From A Plea for Eros by Siri Hustvedt (thanks to Andi for alerting me to this stunning author): "9/11, or One Year Later." Hustvedt lives in New York City and writes this chilling essay about what September 11th and the days following were like and how, one year later, the residents of New York pretty much returned to business as usual in terms of social behavior.

My other reading this week has been rich and varied. I read Wild Life by Molly Gloss, a novel told via fictional journal entries, snippets of a novel in progress, magazine articles and essays written by the protagonist Charlotte, a very strong, independent woman living in Southwest Washington in the early 1900s. She embarks on an amazing journey into the forest to search for a lost child. Imaginative and compelling. Part of the charm of this book for me is the location - my home ground of the Pacific Northwest, the forests, rivers and mountains. Gloss includes some fascinating history about the area and about logging, which was already beginning to have extreme adverse effects over 100 years ago.

Now I'm embarking on last year's Man Booker prize winner, The Gathering by Anne Enright. It's a dark novel set in Dublin. I can't say I'm loving it, but I'll respect it in the morning. I probably wouldn't have chosen to read this if I wasn't participating in The Complete Booker Challenge. Reading challenges feel a little like being in school with mandatory reading, except I do have many choices to pick from. And no one is grading me!

And yes, I'm still reading That Tolstoy Book. Didn't make much headway last week. There's always next week!


jlshall said...

I agree with that bit about reading challenges being like school work. But I've done a lot more reading since I discovered them, so I'm a big fan.

And I think you're very brave, reading "The Gathering" and Tolstoy at the same time!