Saturday, September 8, 2007
This Week in Reading September 9 - 15
I really don't want to believe there are such things as astrological indications of character but how then do you explain that so many authors this week, more than any other week, came to be known by initials rather than full names? Born this week are D.H. Lawrence, H. L. Mencken, J.B. Priestley, O Henry, and the poet who signed her books and poems simply as H.D. (And next week we get H.G. Wells.) Why so many grouped on these days?
But a couple of big names appear in the list, too: Leo Tolstoy of monumental novel fame, (both meanings,) and Agatha Christie, who besides selling more books than anyone else, helped to sculpt a whole genre. Her sedate, wry, logic puzzle mysteries among decent sounding persons in villages, hotels, trains, and other gatherings have given way to police or private investigators in unsavory places and meeting less tasteful people today, but the amateur sleuth mystery that pleasures the Miss Marple reader still exists.
This Week's Question: James Fenimore Cooper, author of Last of the Mohicans, was also born this week. Who wrote "The Literary Offenses of James Fenimore Cooper"? Out of "115 literary offenses," how many did the critic say he committed? And does that assessment still hold true or are critics reassessing Cooper?