Posted tagged ‘Booth Tarkington’

Next up in the Kindle queue ~ Tinkers

January 31, 2011

I finished Alice Adams today, the last day of the month. This is my third time through it, and I’ll likely read it again. Much of it is dated, some of it is quite dated, but it still tells a good story, borrowed as it is from the Old Testament.

Now onto the next novel. I just purchased Tinkers by Paul Harding. I know little about it beyond a precis of the plot and the fact that it won the Pulitzer Prize. I have this notion that the books that win the major prizes must have done so due to some worthiness, and about three quarters of the time this proves out. (Alice Adams won the Pulitzer. I first came to Iris Murdoch because I saw her on the Booker list.)

So we shall see.

Next up in the Kindle queue

January 19, 2011

The next novel I will be reading on my Kindle is Alice Adams, by Booth Tarkington.

No one reads Tarkington anymore, which is a shame. There was a period during my graduate school years, and sporadically since, when I devoured his works. I was stumbling toward trying to define a “Midwestern literature” though I think the task was beyond me. (Others have tried as well.) In any case, Tarkington would be a foundation stone of that genre.

Alice Adams is a story about social striving, economic class, and ultimately self recognition and resilience. (It’s been made into a movie twice, once with Katherine Hepburn, though that movie’s ending completely voided the point of the novel and the strength of the protagonist.) Alice Adams is the novel that won Tarkington his second Pulitzer Prize, and I’ve often thought that he should have written a sequel. Since he is no longer around to do that, I’ve considered writing it myself, and maybe I will someday. At the very least, I suspect there is a bit of lit crit waiting to be written about the novel. Maybe I’ll write that someday.

One of my protagonists in my Finnegans novels is a retired English professor. He is an advocate of Midwestern regional literature. Should I never write that bit of lit crit, perhaps I will give the task to him.