Monday, August 23, 2010

Oh Tales of theSouth Pacific, James Michener, 1948 Winner, how I deplor you! The book was tough going for me as it was filled with description after description of war planes and war this and war that.It took me a while to get into the characters as well, but once I did that helped a bit. The style reminded me a bit of Olive Kietteridge based on the fact that it was somewhat a collection of short stories with the same characters woven throughout. (Hence Tales....) At some point in the reading I realized this was the basis for the musical that my high school put on WAY back in 1981. I remembered bits and pieces here and there.Not my favorite read but it's finished and on the shelf.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Olive Kitteridge

Olive Kitteridige was the 2009 award winner. Not a novel, not short stories but somewhere in between. That the writing is exempleary is a given. I won't even discuss that again.The format was difficult for me in that I'm not a short story fan. I embrace the novel. It's more of a committment. More long lasting. It's like an affair versus a marriage. The short stories are for the train, the bathroom or the doctor's office. They just don't seem to have the same weight as a good novel. The difference here is that the characters have continuity throughout the stories. Olive of course being the central tie to each story line. And through Olive we learn of other character's progression through life.  For example Henry's brief affair, retirement, heart attack etc. All these things mentioned in context of some other character's "story".
     And now I move backwards in time to 1948. Tales of the South Pacific is next. We'll see how it goes. Perhaps though I'll take a breather with some other tripe.

Friday, August 6, 2010


Here we go! I've decided to read all the Pulitzer Prize Winners from 1948 to present. Why? Simple enough. Because I like to read, because I like to read a lot, because I enjoy good liererature and because I became tired of psudo-reader's suggestions of "good" books. I plan to alternate between the old and the new. I think this will give me an interesting perspective on what constitutes an award winner. Some I have already read but I plan to reread any that are even faintly sketchy in my memeory.
     I started withe Middlesex by Jeffrey Eugenides.I know, not the beginning or the ending of the list. Prize winner in 2003. I just happened to have it on my nightstand so it seemed like a good place to start. I loved this book. The year 2003 was also the year that my youngest son died. I was not surprised that I hadn't read this book. Coming from a liberal childhood, the subject matter did not shock, apppall nor turn me off in any way. Instead I found myself thinking about the loss of a child (naturally) and the effects of that on the family. Even though Tessie didn't literally lose her little girl she did in a bigger sense. And yes, she did gain a son. But still I imagine she must have mourned her loss. Calliope seemed to be in a grieving state throughtout most of the book as only one who has changed genders can grieve.
     Another facet of the book that I found interesting was the innate fight of parents against change. And probably not just parents. We humans like things to remain the same and by god if the doctor said Callie was a girl she should remain a girl no matter what. The courage it takes a person to go against the norm is always amazing to me. Quite a story.