Friday, May 21, 2010

Perhaps Women

Day 101 (as in Dalmatians) of the "What are you reading, and why?" project.

I want to know if anyone is reading, or has read, Perhaps Women, by Sherwood Anderson. An olive green copy sprinkled with little offwhite flowers passed through my hands yesterday at Babbitt's, and I was intrigued. Though it is called a novel, Anderson's short preface identified it as a hybrid form of poetry and prose, sort of an essay/essai (as in "try something"), and his concern in the book is "the machine," or man and the machine, and how, perhaps, women might be men's salvation at this turning point in American life.

I will not comment on how women as men's salvation sometimes just means picking up after them. Sigh... But I do notice (in his Wikipedia bio) that Anderson also has a book called Many Marriages and had them (4), so perhaps women were not his personal salvation. I also notice that Ernest Hemingway seems to have skewered him in at least two novels, but what goes around comes around and poor Ernie Kabob has been skewered, too. Hence, The Old Man and the Sea, or so they say. Marlin Kabob.

Speaking of unfortunate skewerings, Anderson is the author who died on a cruise after swallowing the toothpick in his martini. No wonder F. Scott Fitzgerald loved him.

Anderson has been mentioned previously, and recently, in this blog--in Doug's List and follow-up comments, and in the context of a past Great Books Chicago event, but that was his best-known work, Winesburg, Ohio, a set of interconnected short stories.

A first edition of Olive Kitteridge, also a set of interconnected short stories, also passed through my hands this week, long enough for me to note that the stories were written and separately published over quite a long span of time, a comfort to me, as I've had to set aside the writing of short fiction during the hardworking/childrearing years, and a bit of time for it is just now coming back.

And this week in vintage sales, a young man headed east bought a copy of The Great Gatsby, which returns to the values of the Midwest; a land surveyor came in search of another hardcover Catcher in the Rye, a book he collects and reads frequently, sharing my love of perennials; and a third random stranger bought a just arrived $2 paperback of Franny and Zooey. It just keeps happening.

And now the sun has come out. I'm off to check on the perennials.

1 comment:

Kim said...

101 days of your blog, 101 years since the Cubs won a World Series. My son Jeremiah and I made a pact to read "3 Days in August" together this summer, about 3 days of play between the Cubs and Cardinals. We love baseball! And perennials! And your blog.