Sunday, September 6, 2009

The Sunday Salon: September 6, 2009

We have maybe, yeah, we'll see plans this Labor Day weekend Sunday for going to a nearby orchard to pick the last (?) of the summer blackberries and the first of the fall apples. (It's the first day of apple-picking season.) As of this writing, it's questionable that this will even happen, given the morning's temper tantrums and two time outs before ten o'clock.

So it was that I read this especially poignant and apropos passage from Louise Erdrich's The Painted Drum:

"Life will break you. Nobody can protect you from that, and living alone won't either, for solitude will also break you with its yearning. You have to love. You have to feel. It is the reason you are here on earth. You are here to risk your heart. You are here to be swallowed up. And when it happens that you are broken, or betrayed, or left, or hurt, or death brushes near, let yourself sit by an apple tree and listen to the apples falling all around you in heaps, wasting their sweetness. Tell yourself that you tasted as many as you could." (pg. 274)

Isn't that great? I stayed up later than usual last night finishing The Painted Drum, which I really enjoyed and would describe as a "quiet novel." It's not a story about apples or apple trees, but rather the story of a Native American drum and how it affects the people it comes into contact with. Perhaps not the most compelling, blockbuster premise on the surface - but it is. It really is. Louise Erdrich's prose is beautiful and breathtaking, and I'm thrilled to have discovered her work.

Boo and I went to the library yesterday and I'm telling you, I nearly shrieked in delight when I saw Rachel Simon's latest, Building a Home with My Husband: A Journey Through the Renovation of Love on the New Releases shelf.
I have been waiting for this book FOR. YEARS. Rachel is one of my all-time favorite authors, and someone who I've had the good fortune to meet in person at a writing conference in 1991 (I think) and then, several years later, have her as my teacher in a writing salon workshop. So I cannot wait to read Building a Home with My Husband. For me, I can tell this is going to be read in one or two sittings. Hopefully today.

This turn of the seasons is ushering in a great literary week. In addition to Rachel's book, I'm hoping to put that Barnes & Noble gift card to use and buy Lorrie Moore's A Gate at the Stairs, and of course, we have the anticipation of discovering new blogs as part of Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

So many books. So many blogs. Taste as many as you can.


Frances said...

Wow, I like the look of Building a Home With My Husband. I have never read that author before so this could be fun. Many thanks and happy reading!

Laughing Stars said...

I haven't read Louise Erdrich in years, and she's wonderful. :-) I love your blog. I am a mom who's raising a child with Asperger's too.

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Frances ~ oh, she is just wonderful. I'm thinking that her short story collection ("Little Nightmares, Little Dreams") and her novel that followed it ("The Magic Touch") may be out of print now, so you might want to start with "Riding the Bus with My Sister," if you don't get to this one beforehand.

Laughing Stars ~ thank you so much for the kind words on the blog. Love your moniker, and I'm looking forward to checking out your blog, too.

JoAnn said...

What a gorgeous passage from The Painted Drum! I still haven't gotten to Erdrich's novels, but I love her stories. Hopefully soon...

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Joann - I think you would like The Painted Drum. (And might I add how it's so fun to have another book blogger buddy discovering the same author together? :)

Beth Kephart said...

Hey, really — you did that (you know what I am referring to!)

Thank you, Melissa.

I stood at the bookstore twice this weekend and tried to decide whether or not to buy the new Lorrie Moore. I don't know if it will depress me in some way that I am trying hard to avoid. I LOVE her writing. But will I feel bleak when I finish the tale?

Will you let me know if you get it?

Melissa (Betty and Boo's Mommy) said...

Beth, I can't take full credit ... I am sure that there were many, many others.

I'll be interested in seeing your review of Lorrie Moore's book, if you do decide to read it. I haven't bought it yet because we don't have a bookstore near us in this part of the state (about 30 minutes away is the closest one).