The young lady who was anxious to read The Language of Flowers last week was able to finish it in just a few days and had this to say, “I loved every word of it. Several story lines are wonderfully entwined. The history of the Victorian meaning of flowers was really interesting. I would definitely recommend this book.”
Another reader, who also had read the book and said, “it left a great impression on me.” She also suggested that readers who enjoyed The Language of Flowers, might try, The Art of Hearing Heartbeats, which the reader also felt very strongly about recommending as an excellent read.
To be quite honest, I haven't read a book by William H. Faulkner in quite a long while but I had made a commitment to myself to read an old classic every fourth book or so. My first old classic was The Great Gatsby, by F. Scott Fitzgerald, which was chosen mainly because the movie, “Gatsby” had come out on the big screen.
As I Lay Dying, by William H. Faulkner, was selected for me to read next when my great-grandson, Coye, was clearing off a bookshelf and a boxed set of Faulkner literally landed at my feet. The boxed set of three books included The Sound and The Fury, which I knew I had read previously but the other two were only vaguely familiar and included Light in August and As I Lay Dying, which is the one I selected to read.
Faulkner was born in New Albany, MS., in 1897, the oldest of four boys, in a southern family of aristocratic origin. Faulkner spent much of his life around Oxford, MS., with travels to New York and Paris. It was during those trips abroad that Faulkner was introduced to major figures of the Modernist literary movement along with the absorbing early 20th century innovations.
Modernism in literature was characterized by experimentation with language and literary conventions and Faulkner became one of the movements major figures.
In 1924, Faulkner published his first book, a collection of poetry titled The Marble Faun. By 1929, Faulkner had published his fourth book, The Sound and the Fury, which is often considered to be his masterpiece. However, it was his sixth novel, Sanctuary, in 1930, that finally won him an audience and a literary career but it was The Sound and The Fury that marked the beginning of Faulkner's use of experimental narrative techniques to explore the psychological complexity of his characters and their interactions more thoroughly than a traditional style would have allowed.
This novel represented some daring on Faulkner's part with the departure from one narrative. His novel had 59 segments voiced from 15 different perspectives. In writing As I Lay Dying in this way, Faulkner requires his readers to take an active part in constructing the story and allows for multiple and sometimes conflicting interpretations and as a result achieves remarkable levels of psychological insight into each of the characters in the novel.
In this novel, Faulkner first introduces Yoknapatawpha County, a fictional rendition of his native Lafayette County, MS., which became the setting for most of his best known works. The novels written in this setting can even be read as one intricate story, in which the same places, events, families and people turn up over and over again.
The novel begins with the family of Anse and Addie Bundren, who is very ill and expected to die very soon. Her son Cash is building her coffin right in front of Addie's bedroom window.
Most of the beginning narrative introduces the family members, their distinct personalities and limitations or problems. After the funeral, Addie had requested that she be buried in the town of Jefferson. Problems arise when the Bundren family discovers the recent severe flooding has washed the main bridges out over the local river and they have to resort to a makeshift river crossing, which leads to more situations that caused the coffin to be dislodged and in the process of rescuing it, a team of mules drowns.
As you can see there are layers upon layers of possibilities as this novel unravels with the various events and the main characters. This will be a challenge and I may have to resort to taking notes as I read. In books I own, it is not uncommon to find words underlined and notes written on the page as I delve into the story. More on this one later. This book will be a challenge and not one that I will breeze through in a few days. I'll let you know how its' going. Nothing like stretching your mind once and awhile.
For the history buffs, there is a new book out, “Our America,” which takes the reader through the contributions, discoveries and input made by Hispanics citizens, in America, through the past and present. A bit of revisionist history from a different perspective. I'm wondering if anyone has read it or gotten a copy. It could be an interesting book.
I've got to get to a book store and pick up a copy of “Duty,” by Robert Gates, who was the former Secretary of Defense and had other positions in the administrations of President George W. Bush (II) and President Barack Obama. This could be very interesting reading from an insider's perspective. I will have to get my fact-checker out and create a time line to determine what the spin will be for the Election in 2016. We have already heard some quotes from the book but this is one I want to read for myself and see the context of the quotes that seem to be getting all the attention.
Additionally, I would like to hear about some good children's books that are out there for the young readers. I ran across one that I think will be a winner, What is your Favorite Animal, by Eric Carle and friends. The author gathered 14 illustrators to contribute by giving each two pages to do what ever he/she wanted to do to introduce their favorite animal. Some of the pages are very sentimental and others very humorous. The book is 30 pages in length for ages three and up.
Remember to let me know what you are reading and a little bit about the book and who wrote it. E-mail to Jean Hayworth at life@breckenridgeamerican.com or touch base with me on facebook or come by the Breckenridge American offices at 114 E. Elm and visit with me in person about what you are reading.
 Also, are you reading the book on a Kindle, a Nook or other device or are you reading a hard copy of the book, which could be a paperback.
Keep reading!