Monday, April 25, 2011

It's Monday..What are you reading?

It's Monday, What are you reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila of "One Person's Journey through a World of Books"

It asks what are you reading this week? What have you read and what are you going to read.

I am in the middle of two books this week.

Last Lessons of Summer by Margaret Maron and My Reading Life by Pat Conroy.
I love both of these authors. The common denominator? They are both Southern writers?  (even tho Maron writes about NYC too)  I love books about The South, and yet, I've never been.

I've been to Richmond, VA. And yes, I know about the whole Mason Dixon line, but when I take a map of the United states and do the longitude and the latitude lines, Richmond, VA is not much more south than Winnemucca, NV. And we certainly are not Southern. We're not even 'Southwestern" altho people think we are. Maybe Vegas is, but Vegas doesn't count--it's down there in that little tiny tip of the state. (get out your maps!)

I digress! I love Southern Writers.

Margaret Maron's Deborah Knott series is my favorite of all time. I'm in love with North Carolina. If I had a better vocabulary I would use those vocabulary words to describe why reading the Deborah Knott series makes me love North Carolina. But I don't have the words to use. It's more of a feeling I have when I read the books. Maron makes me love everything about them. (see how bad my vocabulary is? I just used love, makes me and NC, too many times in the last 3 sentences). They take place in Colleton County North Carolina. It could be a made up county for all I know.

Maron also wrote a series which takes place New York City with the main  character Sigrid Harald. I've only read the first in that series, so its not like I've read everything I can get my hands on by Maron, but I'm just now reading Last Lessons of Summer and there are a couple minor characters in there who are also in the Deborah Knott Series. Their being there was pleasant surprise for me. I love that connection between books. Last Lessons of Summer is a stand alone novel, but it includes characters whom I feel are old friends.

Another author whom I love and who did the same thing was Madeline L'Engle ( A Wrinkle in Time). There was always a thread of connectedness between her novels, both children's and adult's books.
When an author does that, I feel as if I'm getting news about an old friend. I love it.

Moving on to Pat Conroy. I love his passion. His books are a tad bit depressive and so intense. Sorry, but they are....but it's a good kind of melancholy. A Southern Kind. In this western mind anyway.

My Reading Life is a series of essays he has written about what made him a good reader, hence a good writer. Important events that took place in his life centered around books and reading.
But I have a chapter 2. It's title is "Gone With the Wind."

I have never read "Gone With the Wind." I have no intention of ever reading Gone With the Wind, but for 2 things.

One is that a lady in my book club has chosen this as her 'book'. A re-reading of an old classic she says. I love and respect her. But I don't want to read "Gone". The second is that Conroy says it is the novel that shaped the South he grew up in. He says Gone with the Wind is a war novel, an historical romance, a comedy of manners, a bitter lamentation, a cry of the heart.....
he goes on.

I am resisting Gone With the Wind, with all my might. I do not want to read it. In my mind, it's a silly romance about a spoiled girl which takes place during the civil war. With tons of clichés.

I could be wrong. It's been known to happen. Quite often in fact.

I love everything about Pat Conroy's books. And I've often envied his friendships.

So...should I really read "Gone with the Wind" when it comes around in book club time?

Since I profess to love Southern Writers, will this be the ultimate experience for me? Or will it be as I thought... a silly romance about a spoiled girl, taking place during the civil war?


1 comment:

bermudaonion said...

The South isn't just about location on the map - it's about culture and frame of reference. There are parts of Florida that really aren't "Southern."

I've read one Deborah Knott book and really enjoyed it - I need to go back and start the series from the beginning.

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