Tuesday, August 25, 2009

she was always a king

Posting for the Honest Scrap Award got me thinking about the old fashion kind of reading I do—the kind with words printed in ink on paper. I spent much of the summer reading The Sound and the Fury and fell in love with this description of a honeysuckle scented little sister...

"she was never a queen or a fairy
she was always a king or a giant or a general"

How about you lovelies? Read any good books this summer? Fall in love with any new quotes?


  1. I read that as a senior in high school and it was mind-blowing—and that was even before our teacher outlined his thesis that "this book is basically an alternate version of 'The Wizard of Oz.'" Which, you know, it kind of is.

    My summer reading was kind of schizoid. It ranged from sugary cereals like Klosterman's "Killing Yourself to Live" to vaguely unsatisfying cardboard coffee from Irvine Welsh ("Crime" and "Reheated Cabbage"). Plus a so-so Hunter Thompson bio called "Outlaw Journalist."

  2. Hmmm, Wizard of Oz? Really? I'll have to take another look at it. Much of the time I was so focused on the language and narrative that a lot of the symbolism and references likely passed me by.

    I have been thinking a lot about Thompson lately and even watched "Where the Buffalo Roam" the other evening. I just might have to borrow that Hells Angels book you gave Ian and add it to my Fall reading list.

  3. PS Keir—I knew I could count on you to have a good answer to the summer reading question.

  4. I love reading Faulkner in the summer! He's such a good describer of the hot stickiness and the chaos of the season. I read a bunch of Adrian Mole diaries this summer, nice light reading :)

  5. I've surprisingly done a lot of reading this summer. The best books I read were:
    - History Of Love by Nicole Krauss
    - Man Walks Into a Room by Nicole Krauss
    - Wieland, Or, the Transformation: An American Tale by Charles Brockden Brown
    - The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
    - The Morgesons by Elizabeth Stoddard
    - The Narrative of Arthur Gordon Pym of Nantucket by Edgar Allan Poe

  6. My 12th grade English teacher was only half-joking about Oz. If I recall correctly, the analogy breaks down like this:

    Benjy is the Scarecrow (he has no brain). Jason (the son) is the Tin Man (no heart) and Quentin is the cowardly lion. Candace is Dorothy. Dilsey is the good witch (the 3rd person narrative in the 4th section is supposed to be from her point of view). Jason (the father) is a nihilistic Oz, and Caroline (the mother) is very wicked-witchy.

    That's pretty stretchy, of course, but the allusions to the fluidity of time (Benjy as a retarded man is somewhat detached from linear time, Quentin sees his life flash before his eyes while dying) as well as Faulkner's perennial evocations of the Lost Old South (and fictional setting of Yoknapatawpha County, Miss.) are pretty good stand-ins for the alternate reality that is Oz.

    Now, there's plenty of stuff going on that you can dig out of this novel—the title is a direct reference to "Macbeth", and as a product of its time "Fury" is very existential despite the sepa/nostalgia (again, that's Faulkner for you), but the great thing is that none of this stuff I've just written matters when you read the damn thing. It's a flat-out great story. It's up there with "Gatsby" as the best American literature of the 20th century, or even ever.

  7. OK, I can start to see the Oz reference know that you put it into perspective.

    As it happened, I actually saw MacBeth performed this summer. It seems like both that story and The Sound and the Fury are very much about our inescapable fates and the futility of trying to avoid them. I knew that the title came from this play, but my brother and I looked it up so we could see just how it all fit in. The Shakespeare quote is so lovely...

    "... it is a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."

    Faulkner's idiot, of course, being Benjamin who is the only character who sees nearly everything as it happens yet doesn't have the ability to communicate it.

  8. Yes indeed on Benjy.

    The head-twister I learned about MacBeth is that it's almost a 180 of what actually happened. Supposedly Big Bill Shakespeare re-told the story to make MacBeth the villain, since the contemporary Stuart dynasty was allegedly related to the character of Banquo.

    ...and Wikipedia confirmed it, so it Must Be True! :)

  9. Actually, I also saw an amazing new play about the writing of MacBeth called Equivocation. It just premiered this summer and I suspect it'll come to LA eventually. I think you'd like it. It's the best new play I've seen in a long time.

  10. I'm slowly combing through Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita (it doesn't help that at any given moment I'm distracted by a half-dozen different magazines!) but I'm enjoying the read.


  11. I'm currently reading The Little Book by Selden Edwards and so far it's doing a rather good job of pulling me in.

  12. I love Lolita. I was so enamored with the book that I rented the Kubrick film as soon as I'd finished reading and watched it a few times over.

    There are so many books and authors in these comments that are new to me. Thanks for all the great ideas of what to read when I finish with the annotated Alice in Wonderland.

  13. reading is my favorite activity of all times. it is so strange that with the business of my days between full time work and school, i havent had the time to read for fun. This summer i am reading so many books though: 1. Dostovesky's Notes from the Underground, 2. Alias Grace by Atwood and a compilation of diaries of women.

    Thanks for posting that beautiful piece from the book...it is refreshing to see such things on blogs :)

  14. Thanks!

    Notes From Underground is fantastic. I have read it twice and think I could read it again and find new things.

  15. i'm reading the biography of Beatrix Potter
    'a life in nature' right now, and loving it. i also read 'satan says', a sharon olds poetry book, a few times this summer. it's SO good.

  16. pretty blog! you have nice photos!



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