Books 2/17/06

I’m behind in my posting again, but not by too far this time.

I’ve solved the riddle of the ages. (Maybe.) Gwyneth Paltrow is just a big Truman Capote fan, and that’s why she named her baby Apple- after the sister in Capote’s novel Summer Crossing. Actually, I would have solved the riddle of the ages had the book been released before Gwyneth’s baby was born, but it wasn’t, so it’s back to the drawing board on that one.

Anyway, Summer Crossing is a wonderful book. It was Capote’s first novel, and in it you can see the raw talent he possessed, and signs of what was to come. It’s the story of Grady, a young woman in 1945, who is left on her own for the summer in New York. Her parents are in Europe, and she is in love. Of course she’s not in love with the person she should be, the boy who is her best friend, but with the far more romantic and completely unsuitable Clyde. It’s a story of the first love that sweeps you off your feet and pushes you to make incredibly stupid decisions, and what happens when that goes unchecked. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and would put it in a nice bundle with I Capture the Castle and Bonjour Tristesse.

It’s no secret that I love Nancy Mitford, but until recently I’d only read her fiction. I was excited to try her non-fiction, and The Water Beetle fit the bill precisely. Unlike her other non-fiction, which is mostly biographies, The Water Beetle is a collection of essays on topics as diverse as the race to get to the South Pole to the history of the salon in France. No matter the topic, her tone is delightfully readable, even when she writes about topics I care little about. Her interest in her subjects is contagious, and as I finished I realized that I now had a number of topics I want to research farther. And it inspired me to finally look up the word parvenu.

Now I’m reading Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh, and loving it. I love his subtle, crazy style.

Current total: 14
Just finished: The Water Beetle by Nancy Mitford
Currently Reading: Put Out More Flags by Evelyn Waugh

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