Monthly Archives: September 2012

Vacation Reading, Part 2

Six months ago, I posted about vacation and what books to bring along.  Since then, we’ve chosen a destination and leave in three days.  I’ve been stacking up books for weeks.  A few are the ones I thought of back in March, when we were debating Wyoming over Carmel (we decided on neither).  A couple weeks ago, at a local bookstore—Alexander Book Company, one of the few, treasured indie bookstores still in S.F.—I found Diane Keaton’s memoir in paperback.  Perfect!  Sometime over the summer, I picked up my husband’s bedside reading and found myself immersed in details of the French … Continue reading

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Rediscovering Rilke

this post is a slightly edited version of a post that appeared on August 20, 2012, on the Good Letters blog In college, I took a yearlong class on Western Civilization.  Certain images stand out: reading Oedipus Rex on the lawn outside the Life Sciences building and overhearing a student pronounce “Khomeini” with the same initial sound as “challah”—this would have been a month or so before the taking of American hostages; getting an A+ (my only in college) on a paper applying Civilization and Its Discontents to D. H. Lawrence’s story “The Prussian Officer”; hearing a T.A. refer to … Continue reading

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Following the Bees

Two weeks ago—and it was a fabulous vacation, btw—I posted about Penelope Lively’s book Making It Up, with some observations about living out alternative lives in fiction.  What would have happened if…? Writers are often asked where we get our ideas for fiction, and (like most questions we’re asked), there are as many right answers as there are writers.  Still, I’m always fascinated by the variety of responses—even within my own experience. As sheepish as I feel admitting it, the genesis of the first story I wrote as an adult, the story that got me in the chair every morning … Continue reading

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