Saturday, November 20, 2010

More Pulitzer Coincidii

Day 285 of the "What are you reading, and why?" project, and today there will be more Pulitzer-Prize-linked coincidii, and Babbitt's Book encounter reportage.

The same day that the two young men doing the Pulitzer Prize project came in, Drew and Joshua, which was the same day an older man walked out the door with Eudora Welty, another older man walked out the door with Ivan Doig and Willa Cather.  I asked him about Doig, and he wanted this one because he had read three other Doig books and really liked them.  He happened to have a paperback of this one already, but we had a hardcover first edition, so he was happy to snap it up.

Willa Cather is another writer this older man likes, along with Wallace Stegner.  "Western writers," he said, appeal to him a lot.

So, in random coincidii mode, after speaking of these "older men," I refer you to Drew's blog entry, in which I appear as an "older woman" in his book search process, and to Joshua's blog entry on Willa Cather.

Meanwhile, I could not pass up Mockingbird: A Portrait of Harper Lee, by Charles J. Shields, which has come in and gone out of Babbitt's before, and she won the Pulitzer for To Kill a Mockingbird.  This book, with its careful introduction informing us that Shields wrote it without Harper Lee's cooperation, because, while she is a very community-minded person in her own community, she has been private about her writer life after a period of literary sociability, promises to tell me about her friendship with Truman Capote, the difficulties of that friendship (and I already know he lost a lot of friends), and why she never published a second novel.

And Kathryn Erskine just won a National Book Award for her children's novel Mockingbird, about a girl with Asperger's syndrome, which has To Kill a Mockingbird in the background.  Erskine was one of four women honored with this award, as reported in this short article in Her Circle Ezine!

Yesterday I was infected with Jon Stewart's anger, though everybody kept smiling, aroused by All the Devils are Here.  Today I am just glad to remember "it's a sin to kill a mockingbird."  Even if they are sometimes annoying, in real life and in The Bat-Poet, by Randall Jarrell!


nene said...

Interesting! In Joshua's blog referring to their visit to Babbitt's and their joyous meeting an 'older lady' excitedly jumping up and down certainly doesn't seem to reflect the youthful, albeit astute looking, photo you have posted here on 'Wait I Have A Blog?!'
Whilst my photo accurately portrays me with my vintage sweater and my two borderline narcissist 'wanna-be'actor miniature poodles.(LOL)

Kathleen said...

Ha! 1) I didn't really jump up and down, but there was definite glee in my voice. 2) Ah, nene, I confess (and have confessed before) that the picture is about 5 years old. I still look like that, but have more white hair, mostly at the temples, so when my hair is down, it's not so noticeable, but I mostly wear it pulled back in scrunchie. I don't seem to be able to part with this headshot, taken by a theatre photographer who recently died, in part because there won't be another from him. And I just like it!

But I definitely am an "older woman."

nene said...

I am impressed, not that impressing me was your intention, with your honesty considering this, srereotypically of course, issue of 'vanity' is a sensitive one with the emphasis that it's not a gender bias issue.

Even if the photo is approx. five years old, I'm sure that the youthful attractive characteristic of the photo has not been lost.

Sorry, about dwellling on this but it just struck my 'funny bone' knowing that you in all your commentaries exude of a youthful mind. caught

Anonymous said...

More coincindii: Katherine Erskine and I are friends.

Charles J. Shields

P.S. I would feel on safer ground with "written" for an encyclopedia, as opposed to "wrote."

Kathleen said...

Delightful coincidence, indeed! I am on p. 191 of your Mockingbird, Charles J. Shields! I am gripped by it.