Reader's Exchange

Unless you're Anne Hathaway, selectivity is essential

Jeweled Flannery O'Connor motifLessons from this year's Academy Awards:  (1) Announcing that the event is young and hip doesn't make it young and hip, and (2) Except for their fame and ownership of jewelry costing more than my house, film stars are just like the rest of us.

Presented with a microphone and the object they've coveted most, those glamorous individuals are rendered awkward and conflicted.  Do they endear themselves to the yawning multitudes with a minimum of heartfelt verbiage, or capitalize on this ultra-publicized platform to dispense as many career thank-you's as possible?  And where are those scriptwriters when you really need them?

I can relate.  My communication tool is this blog, but my focus changes all the time.  To select fiction for the library, I consider dozens of reviews each week.  Which titles should I order/read for myself/mention here?

Usually, a clear focus emerges.  However, this week I understand how Anne Hathaway must have felt when ushered into a room full of designer gowns.  As my blog notes reveal, I can't choose, either:

 

  • It starts with the Publishers Weekly review of Bobbie Ann Mason's forthcoming The Girl in the Blue Beret--which reminds me how much I loved her Feather Crowns (1993).  Wishing I had time to reread it this week, I consider blogging about books related to unusual family situations:  Cheaper by the Dozen, Margaret Drabble's The Peppered Moth, Dave Egger's A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius, Nancy Mitford's Love in a Cold Climate....
  • The writeup for Ann Napolitano's upcoming A Good Hard Look distracts me now.  Her story feaures Flannery O'Connor as a character!  What a great premise!  At this point I go out to the shelves for Napolitano's earlier well-reviewed Within Arm's Reach and check it out.  And now I wish I had time to re-read my personal copy of Flannery O'Connor: The Complete Stories.  Hmmm, Flannery would be a great blog theme....
  • Then, there's the blurb for Donald Ray Pollock's The Devil All the Time (due out in July). "Bizarre characters" and stories that examine "America's violent underbelly" aren't my favorite themes, but many of our readers greatly appreciate them.  Wouldn't "gritty" and "uncompromising" fiction works be good to mention this week?
  • And now I see that the library has Pollock's earlier Knockemstiff.  It's not only a short story collection, it's a debut collection.  I love those!  Wish I had time to read that one right now.  The theme of small Midwestern towns, too, would generate some wonderful reads:  Sherwood Anderson's Winesburg, Ohio, Laura Moriarty's The Center of Everything...
  • Would you look at that?  A second reading of the publisher info for The Devil All the Time compares Polluck's "religious and Gothic overtones" to "Flannery O'Connor at her most haunting".  Who knew?

And where are those scriptwriters when I need them? 

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