Saturday, January 24, 2009

Incidental Reading

I call it my incidental reading, the books I find while at the library for another purpose (To write in a quiet study area, to hear a lecture, or meet up with a friend.) I used to always have to leave with a book, which lead to library books piling up at home, a huge stack I couldn't possibly get through, and then there would be fines for overdue books.

On Wednesday I found a small volume that contained essays about Spalding Gray written by friends and family, also some of his unfinished writing. It was very sad, but at the same time, Gray was fascinating and had much to say. I saw him in NYC as the narrator of the Thornton Wilder play "Our Town" and after that, one of his monologues, which I have to say, were brilliant, because they got you thinking about so many things. (Saw another one on the Sundance channel after his death.) I remember when Gray went missing. It was a big deal here, because he was more than well known, he was well liked. Later we heard he jumped from the Staten Island Ferry.

So I read these essays in between my planned reading.

( Gray played the Grape Nuts munching psychiatrist who won't listen to Liev Schreiber in the film Kate & Leopold. )

Besides reading this way I've learned to read just a chapter of someone's memoirs at the library. I read a chapter of Hume Cronin's this week. I don't have to bring every book home.


mouse (aka kimy) said...

wonderful post...I have long enjoyed taking small bites out of various memoirs - then last year I discovered this wonderful books, whose title unfortunately escapes me now, which was arranged from birth to death and used hundreds of excepts from peoples' memoirs/autobiographies....

I forgot about this book until reading this post...I need to concentrate and see if I can remember the title... it was edited by a woman....

I'm glad I popped over here...I've seen your avatar on many of the blogs I frequent.... I should have known....tut, tut

tut-tut said...

I just finished, and I'm going to reread before I send it back to the library, a memoir of sorts I think you'd get lots from: A Three Dog Life by Abigail Thomas. I resisted taking it out because I thought it would be too sad, but she is one great writer with so much to say I rushed through it.

Barbara said...

Your library sounds like a second home! I think I have a lifetime of reading to catch up on.

JGH said...

One of the best things I saw Spalding Gray do was a series called "Interviewing the Audience." He'd just pick an audience member at random and interview them onstage. Somehow he made them sound much more fascinating than celebrities.

ArtSparker said...

I grew up partly in Barrington, R.I., remember hearing about his mother's suicide ("a lady on Nayatt Road who killed herself").

Megan said...

My problem is that if I read a chapter and I like it, I have to take it home...

My Classic Fiction Book List -Partial List

  • Austen, Jane: (Complete Works)
  • Balzac: Cousin Bette/ Eugenie Grandet / Cousin Pons
  • Best Russian Short Stories
  • Boyle, TC: Short Works
  • Brennan, Maeve : Short Works, 1 Novella
  • Bronte, Emily, Ann, Jane (Complete Works)
  • Brookner, Anita ( Complete Works)
  • Cather, Willa (Complete Works)
  • Chekov: Short Works
  • David Copperfield (Dickens)
  • Dickens:A Tale of Two Cities
  • Dickens:Great Expectations
  • Dickens:Nicholas Nickelby
  • Dickens:Our Mutual Friend
  • Dickens:The Old Curiosity Shop
  • Doyle, Roddy (some novels, memoir)
  • Drabble, Margaret (4 Novels)
  • Drieser, Theodore (Complete Works)
  • Fitzgerald, F.Scott (Most Novels & short works)
  • Hardy, Thomas (Complete Works)
  • Hemingway, Short stories
  • Hemingway: The Old Man in the Sea
  • Hemingway: The Sun Also Rises
  • Hugo: Les Miserables/Hunchback Of ND
  • James, Henry: Daisy Miller
  • James, Henry: In The Cage
  • James, Henry: Portrait of a Lady
  • James, Henry: The Golden Bowl
  • James, Henry: What Maisy Knew
  • James, Henry: Wings of a Dove
  • James, Henry:The Ambassadors
  • James, Henry; The Bostonians
  • Kerouac: Dharma Bums
  • Kerouac: On The Road
  • Kerouac: The Subterraneans
  • Kerouac: Tristessa
  • Lardner,Ring:Short Works
  • Larsen: Quicksand
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Arrowsmith
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Free Air
  • Lewis, Sinclair: Main Street
  • Lewis, Sinclair: The Job
  • MacGill, Patrick (Complete works)
  • Mackin, Walter (novels)
  • Maupassant: Short Works, novels
  • McGahern, John (novels of)
  • McNulty, John (Short Works)
  • Norris, Frank: McTeague
  • O'Brien, Edna (3 Novels)
  • O'Donnell, Paeder : Novels of
  • O. Henry
  • Potok, Chaim (4 novels/1 non fiction)
  • Salinger, JD : Nine Stories
  • Salinger: Franny & Zooey
  • Salinger: Raise High the Roofbeams
  • Salinger: The Catcher in the Rye
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Dodsworth
  • Sinclair, Lewis: Elmer Gantry
  • Sinclair, Upton: King Coal
  • Sinclair, Upton: The Jungle
  • Steinbeck, John: Sweet Thursday
  • Steinbeck: Winter of our Discontent
  • Steinbeck: Cannery Row
  • Steinbeck: East of Eden
  • Steinbeck: The Grapes of Wrath
  • Theroux, Paul (3 Novels )
  • Toibin, Colm: (Novels of)
  • Tolstoy: Anna Karenina
  • Tolstoy: Short Works
  • Turgenev (2 novels)
  • Twain: T Sawyer, Life on the Mississippi
  • Vonnegut: Early Works (1950s-60s)
  • Wharton, Edith: Novels of/Short Stories
  • Women & Fiction (Edit. Cahill)
  • Zola, Emile ( 10 novels)