Libraries shape our lives.
At libraries I’ve found the little-known novels of Anna Kavan; Rhys Davies’s Honeysuckle Girl, a novel about Kavan ; Lilian Pizzichini’s The Blue Hour: A Life of Jean Rhys; Vita Sackville-West’s out-of-print novel, The Easter Party; and a Welsh duology about coal miners. (Can’t remember the title, and it’s not How Green Was My Valley!) Where else would I have found these books?
If, like me, you’re a library enthusiast, I recommend Christine Thompson’s amusing essay at The American Scholar, “The Ritual of Renewal.” After finishing a writing project, Thompson realized she has 200 books checked out from Harvard University Library.
2. How do you feel about the suburbs? I have spent most of my life in towns and cities, because it’s more convenient and the mass transit is better. But at NPR, Etelka Lehoczky reviews a new book by Amanda Kolson Hurley, Radical Suburbs: Experimental Living on the Fringes of the American City. And it sounds fascinating: a few suburbs were founded as radical communities.
3. At The Guardian, Marcel Theroux reviews Ian McEwan’s new book, Machines Like Me,” a dystopian vision of humanoid robots in a counterfactual 1982 Britain.” I can’t wait to read it.
4. Do you know the work of Iowa writer Margaret Wilson, who won the Pulitzer Prize in 1924 for The Able McLaughlins? I was pleased to see that Library of America has published this neglected classic as an e-book. Wilson also wrote a sequel, The Law and the McLaughlins.
5. Marilynne Robinson recently visited Ruth Suckow’s birthplace home in Hawarden, Iowa. (I’ve been there; it’s charming and simple .) For more information about Ruth Suckow (1892-1960), a novelist and chronicler of small-town life in Iowa, visit the Ruth Suckow Memorial Association Website.