Archive of ‘Books’ category

The Invention of Wings

The Invention of WingsLoved, loved, loved “The Invention of Wings” by Sue Monk Kidd and this summer, when visiting the South, I drove to Charleston to visit locales from the book. A wonderful guide, Mary Margaret, gave us a walking tour featuring the “Ladies of the Low Country” which included stories about the famous abolitionists, the Grimke sisters. If you are ever in Charleston, you will love this tour. And don’t miss the Drayton Plantation either. Just beyond the grounds and the house you may catch moments from the past; the beauty and sorrow of the land and its former occupants.

Tiny writing spaces

Margaret's DeskI toured the Margaret Mitchell House in Atlanta: “house” being a bit of a misnomer.  They should really call it the Margaret Mitchell Apartment; she herself referred to it as  “the dump.”  Originally a single family home, the Tutor Revival was carved into 10 apartments  in 1919. Margaret and her husband resided on the ground floor, at Number 1, in a space that could be described as a cubby hole.  Ms Mitchell wrote Gone With The Wind in a corner of the parlor and as I stared at her desk, I wondered what Virginia Woolf would make of this  arrangement.   Ms Mitchell wrote one of the world’s best selling books in a communal space with no doors.  (Perhaps Margaret’s husband spent more time away from the house than Virginia’s did?) It was a great reminder that we really don’t need a room of our own in order to write. But we do need fortitude and imagination. How lucky for Virginia that she had all three.  And luckier for Margaret that she only needed the two.

Journey Books

Wild by Cheryl StrayedThe Novelistas read Cheryl Strayed’s “Wild” this month.  Couldn’t help but compare this to the other journey books I’ve read. There was “The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry” (fiction and incredible), and Bill Bryson’s “A Walk in the Woods” (his friend Katz is priceless.) There was also “Into the Wild” which made me crazy – who walks into the Alaska tundra with only 10 pounds of rice????

But the walkabout book that remains my favorite is still “Mutant Message Down Under.” That story of an American woman on a walkabout in the Australian outback has stayed with me for years. It was was an amazing adventure and the tribesmen were wise teachers. All in all a touching, beautiful book.

 

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