Sunday, August 19, 2012

Lint in Literature: The Beginner's Goodbye by Anne Tyler

I finished reading Anne Tyler's latest novel last night. The Beginner's Goodbye was a wonderfully simple story and too short. I always enjoy Anne Tyler's characters and the quirky situations she puts them in.

In The Beginner's Goodbye, Aaron is married to Dorothy, but actually when the book begins, Dorothy has already died and Aaron, a thirty-something year old who works at his family's vanity press, has started  having visits from Dorothy. Yes, back from the dead.

In one of the last pages of the book, this little gem of lint in literature showed up during a conversation about walking on freshly refinished wood floors:

Gary straightened and laid his brush across the top of his can. "Now, don't go walking on this, you hear?" he said. "Not for twenty-four hours. And then, the next few days or so, keep your shoes on. You wouldn't believe how many folks think they're doing a floor a favor to take their shoes off and walk in their stocking feet. But that's the worst thing."
"Worst thing in the world," the other man agreed.

"Heat of your body . . ." Gary said.

"Linty old socks . . ."

"Bottoms of your feet mashing flat against the wood . . ."

Nice! Linty old socks! (I've provided a link [the sock shown above] in case you have linty old socks and are need of some new ones. Just in case.)

Friday, August 10, 2012

The New Republic by Lionel Shriver

I'm a big fan of Lionel Shriver's writing. I haven't read all of her books, but several. I'm currently reading The New Republic. It's about terrorism and she wrote it a few years before 2001. It didn't get published then and immediately after 9/11, it couldn't get published, so 11 years later, it's okay again to have a book about terrorism. That is, a humorous book about terrorism.

So far, so good. She is such an excellent writer:  smart, funny, way over my head at least half the time but down to earth enough that when I get it, it's good and I don't feel dumb, just ignorant of her references. I'm not a worldly type person. She is obviously. And that's okay.

So, last night I read these paragraphs, which, you guessed it, one of them contains lint. So here goes:

Edgar could only intuit vaguely that they had money troubles.

"Barrington understood," she added sadly. "But Barrington collected meaning like lint. Like that Peanuts character:  it followed him in a cloud."

If you've never read any of Lionel Shriver's books, do yourself a favor. Do. I wouldn't recommend starting with We Need to Talk About Kevin though. It's her deepest, darkest and very good but so scary in the subject matter. Most of her others are more tongue in cheek and a delight.


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