Wednesday, August 13, 2008

This Week in Reading August 10 - 16

Here come the August doldrums. There’s a little literary action this week, especially near the end and mostly older writers. There are two Nobel Prizewinners again but who today has heard of the 1922 winner, Spanish playwright Jacinto Benavente, or seen one of his plays? Well, then, how about a play or saga about social issues from England’s prolific John Galsworthy, the 1932 recipient? Speaking of sagas, the American Edna Ferber was extremely well read in the 1920s and 1930s and her works were made into very popular plays, muscials, and movies.

Two other names from memory come up this week. Yes, we all know of Sir Walter Scott but how many have actually slogged through Ivanhoe rather than remembering it from the movies? (Or was it the movie that was dull and the book lively?) And is T. E. Lawrence known more for his adventures portrayed in the movie Lawrence of Arabia than for his book Seven Pillars of Wisdom? (By the way, the screenplay of that film was by a renowned playwright born this week, Robert Bolt.)

Lots of people have read Danielle Steel , also incredibly prolific, and Georgette Heyer however. Steel is likely the most read name in contemporary romance but there are many, many challengers. Heyer, back in the first half of the twentieth century, essentially invented the genre of historical romance, particularly Regency romances by writing “in the style of” Jane Austen and explaining that period of English history to her readers. Heyer also wrote very popular historical mysteries, too. From the same era, millions were thrilled by the romantic, gothic mysteries of Mary Roberts Rinehart.

This Week’s Question: What poet born in this week was known as the “Poet Laureate of Skid Row?”

Answer to last week’s question: From now on the Glendale Central Library is open from 10:00 AM to 8:00 PM Monday through Thursday, and will still be open from 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM on Friday and Saturday, as well on 1:00 PM to 5:00 PM on all Sundays except those on holiday weekends.

No comments:

Search the Book Talk archives!