Barking Kitten

Fiction, musings on literature, food writing, and the occasional Friday cat blog. For lovers of serious literature, cooking, and eating.

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Close to forty. Not cool. Politically left. Atheist. Happily married. No kids.

Monday, November 20, 2006

A nod to the backlist

A few days ago I wrote the difficulty of blogging about fresh material while reading two long books.

On further reflection, I realized I'd fallen into a sort of blogging pit: the self-imposed requirement to write exclusively about the newest literary releases. Suddenly I had the perfect excuse to buy lots of new hardcover fiction while feeding my fear that writing about anything else would sent kindly readers packing.

Blogging exclusively about new fiction was not my original intention when I began this strange venture. In fact, I hoped to talk about some the older fiction I love, the obscure, the outdated, or otherwise unrecognized. This isn't to say I am abandoning new books. I'm not: I would read new books whether I blogged or not. But the Joan Didion omnibus and Joy of Cooking reminded me of my inital goals. With these thoughts in mind, I went to my bookshelves and pulled down Kent Haruf.

Kent Haruf was critically acclaimed but not widely read until 1999's Plainsong, which was excerpted in the New Yorker (where I first read him) and later nominated for the National Book Award. Eventide, his next work, revisits the fictional town of Holt, Colorado and many of the characters from Plainsong. I am hesitant to call Eventide a sequel, with all its Hollywood connotations. Both books may be read as singular, complete pieces; reading both is a great enrichment but one does not need the other.

I am now about halfway through rereading Plainsong, and hope to write about it Wednesday. Meanwhile, it's been an interesting lesson in la vida blogger.

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