Too Many Library Books? & Literary Links

Widener Library at Harvard University

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.

Marilynne Robinson (left) at Ruth Suckow’s home.

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.

2 thoughts on “Too Many Library Books? & Literary Links”

  1. In a week’s time, my library loans leaped from 4 to 45, thanks to a research project (midway through, the stack sits at 25 just 10 days later). So I can see how one could get to 200. *laughs* And I really, really do not know what I would do without my public library system (currently under attack from a Trump-like provincial government, which has just slashed its budget by 50%): a life-saver in so many ways.

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    1. We need those library books! It is sad when library budgets are cut and I’m grateful it hasn’t happened here. It seems to be bad in the UK, judging from article sin the garden. Finally our city passed a tiny tax so that our library will be open seven days a week. This is a big advance here!

      Liked by 1 person

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