Sunday, 18 July 2010

Lorrie Moore

My summer reading staycation continues. I've run out of Rumer Godden titles and I need some contrast so I've been reading novels by American women writers, both vintage and contemporary.

Eudora Welty has been on my radar for a long time and I found a vintage Virago for the princely sum of £1.99 at the Oxfam bookstore. The Optimist's Daughter is a sensitive and beautifully written short novel about a women trying to cope with the death of her father and sustain a relationship with his vulgar, ill-bred wife. A Work in Progress has a very good Eudora Welty post.

I've shamefully neglected Lorrie Moore since I read her collection of short stories, Self-Help, waaaaay back in the eighties. A Gate at the Stairs is one of the best novels I've read this year. I jut can't put it down and I'll post a review when I'm through.

Note to publishers: if you must put a sticker on a book, don't emboss it into the cover, make it a peel off one. I don't care if it's nominated for the Orange Prize or Richard & Judy like it or it's on 3-for-2 offer. Books are aesthetically pleasing objects in themselves and I don't want a dumb sticker on it that I can't remove!


Eileen said...

Yeah, but even with peel-off stickers there's usually a residue left over so you're better off not removing them.

Steph said...

It's so interesting that you loved A Gate at the Stairs so much, because I've read such a mixture of reviews on that one! My impression from various posts is that many people found it disjointed, so I'll really be keen to read your thoughts on it!

And I totally agree on promotional material on books! It should never be permanent!

Sasha said...

Love, love, love Lorrie Moore. I am all-too-aware of her faults, but I read on. She had me at Self-Help. And these are pretty editions. I'm with you on promotional stickers. I have several books whose titles are all but blotted out because of "Now A Major Motion Picture!" And it's funny how Oprah gets that stamp of hers around.

Soft cotton balls and ethyl alcohol usually do the trick for me. :]

Anonymous said...

I want to read Lorrie Moore, I've heard a lot about her.

I hate stickers FULL STOP whether they are removable or not. The removable ones inevitably leave a mark behind and the non removable ones are beyond tacky. Whatever happened to the book as an object of aesthetic beauty in itself?

Thomas Hogglestock said...

Nicola: A total oversight on my part and it has been rectified. You are on my Google Reader and I read you all the time, so I must have just missed you when I added the roll.

And don't even get me started on stickers.

Penny said...

I don't know either of these authors, but they look interesting. I particularly fancy the Eudora Welty one.
I hate anything sticky and my hands always stray to sticky bits on covers. I sometimes buy lighter fuel to take the nasty stuff off...

LizF said...

The sticky labels are a pest but I really don't like the embossed ones that seem to have become popular! Also really don't like film versions of the covers and I will go to great lengths to find a copy with an original cover as they are generally far nicer to look at and don't make me feel like a literate sheep following the reading crowd!
I am halfway through the first volume of Rumer Godden's memoir so if you want to email me your address to I will send you it as soon as I have finished (should be by the beginning of next week hopefully!)

anothercookiecrumbles said...

I hate sticky labels myself! The peel off stickers are so much better, albeit maybe just a band around the book would serve just as well - no stickiness, and a handy bookmark?

I enjoyed Lorrie Moore's Gate At The Stairs, and would love to read her short stories now, which I've heard are much superior to the book!

Danielle said...

Thanks for linking to me. I wish I could find that essay online so others could easily read it--well worth it, if you happen across it. It has made me want to try some of her fiction or a short story or two. I look forward to hearing about The Optimist's Daughter. I read Lorrie Moore's Who Will Run the Frog Hospital years ago, though I'm afraid it's faded from memory. I need to try something more recent by her. By the way I've recently got The Peacock Spring from the library and have just started reading it!

Vintage Reading said...

E L Fay, I got the stickers off my Lorrie Moore's OK, apart from the embossed one. Darn things!

Steph, I actually thought the book was composed extremely well. Not everyone likes Laurie Moore's humour so I imagine that would put you off. Can't understand why this didn't win the Orange Prize.

Sasha, yes, I love her, too. I'd forgotten how much I hate the movie stickers - or even worse a cover with a shot from the film!

booksnob, can you imagine Persephone ever putting stickers on their books? Perish the thought!

Thomas, glad I'm back in my rightful place on your blogroll! Nicola x

Penny, yes I would like to read more Eudora Welty. Wonderful writer.

LizF. I do agree about the yucky movie tie-ins. I'd love to read the first vol of the memoir - I'll send you the second vol, too.

cookie, I'm really enjoying Birds of America. I think short stories are Moore's strength.

Danielle, I'm ordering Who will run the frog hospital. Can't wait to read your thoughts on the Godden.

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