Readerly Rambles: 06/29/2011

What I’ve finished:

Friday night after the kiddos were in bed and Sam was off at the coffee shop, I crawled into bed with Edna St. Vincent Millay.  Well, not the poetess herself, but the wonderful biography by Nancy Milford.  I inhaled the last 200 pages EVEN when I knew that Atticus would most likely be waking throughout the night.  He did wake up a billion and one times, but it was totally worth it.

I’ve gone from a passing admiration and delight with Edna St. Vincent Millay to an obsession of near Plath-like proportions.  Millay’s life makes for good reading: strange family relationships, bohemianism, heartbreak, affairs, gossip, more affairs, illness, and then a few more affairs.  I thought Milford did a good job of not giving in to sensationalism.  The reader see Edna as a full-human; yes, she is a sexually-free person and a damn fine poet, but she is also a mother, sister, wife, friends, etc…. Also, this was a well-balanced book in that Edna was not sainted and not vilified.  Accomplishments and kindness are noted as are the human errors and faults.

Milford briefly lived with Millay’s sister, Norma, at Millay’s home (Steepletop) while researching.  The biography effectively communicates that closeness:  Edna St. Vincent Millay feels very present in the book and I thought Milford a through researcher and a fabulous writer.

I’m eager to read another biography by Nancy Milford, Zelda: a biography, which is about Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald.  I might actually have to purchase that one!

What I’m reading:

I haven’t announced it yet on Fig and Thistle, but I’m participating in International Anita Brookner Day.  I’m about half-way through Hotel du Lac and I’m loving every blessed word.  Anita Brookner, where have you been all my life?  I plan on finishing this week and sharing my thoughts.

What’s next:

I know its folly to tackle unwieldy books when there are kiddos afoot, but I’m going to do it anyway.  My next read will be Margaret George’s latest Elizabeth I:  A Novel.  It is a library book, so hopefully that will light a fire under my ass to get it read in the next two weeks.

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9 comments

  1. I am not much of a poetry reader, but I do have that Millay bio and I am very much looking forward to reading it! The size does intimidate me a little, but it sounds like it's hard to put down. I think I may have to dig it out of whichever pile it is hiding in. I should decide quick whether I'm reading an Anita Brookner novel, shouldn't I? I read lots of her work years ago and nothing recently. Tempting.

  2. Ohh: Milford sounds like a biographer I need to look in to! I'm the only book blogger on the planet that didn't fall in love with Hotel du Lac. 😦 Maybe my expectations were too high.

  3. Eva: Hotel du Lac might be one of my least favorite Brookners. I am not saying you will like her other books any better, but….this would be a great time to find out! Would love to have your input.

  4. Once you've read Savage Beauty consider a pilgrimage to Steepletop, the house where Millay lived and died. It's open for visits every weekend – Friday to Monday. They like reservations and you can find them at millay.org.

  5. I've been wondering about Margaret George's new book. I'm glad you're trying it first. I'll just wait and see what you think before I take the plunge. lol 🙂

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