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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Reading as fast as I do is an expensive habit; thank goodness for gifts from friends.

This year I was given books for Christmas and my birthday; some I didn't expect, others I requested.  Before receiving my Christmas gifts I found "The Paris Wife," at Target and I am a sucker for biographies and autobiographies, so I bought the paperback.  It was about Ernest Hemingway's first wife, Hadley Richardson, and their early married life in Europe, particularly Paris.  I love the era of the early teens and 20's in Europe; so many great artists and writers lived there and socialized that whenever you read about one, the others are usually mentioned.  After that, I re-read "Hemingway, The Paris Years," which I read when I was working on my senior project at Chapman University for background on Gertrude Stein and Picasso.  It covered more about the Hemingways' circle of friends as well as Gertrude, Pablo, F. Scott and others.

For Christmas, my friend Patrice gave me "Dream Catcher," by Margaret Salinger, J.D. Salinger's daughter.  I had not read "Catcher In The Rye" since high school so it was interesting to read a family member's account of her infamous father and the process of his writing that novel.  I had read a biography several year ago, "Lucia Joyce, To Dance In The Wake," about James Joyce's daughter.  Both of these biographies were unkind to the authors and detailed the impact of the writers' seclusion from their families during the creation of their masterpieces, yet both daughters became accomplished authors or performers in their own right.  I didn't have a copy of "Catcher In The Rye," but I did have "A Separate Peace," which I read about the same time in  high school, so that was my next read.  Very controversial in 1965 or 1966,  but pretty tame now compared to "Heathers" and other more recent novels about boarding schools.  I did finally re-read "Catcher In The Rye" since I received a copy for my birthday, and didn't remember the extent of Holden's drinking and carousing, but did remember his sister, Phoebe, and his relationship with her.  I know many people who have named daughters Phoebe after this character...we named our first dog, Phoebe...

More later on my reading binge...

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