A Bookstore is Gone, Long Live the Books! Part 2–A Literary Chronicle: 1920-1950 by Edmund Wilson

A local used bookstore recently closed after 25 years. They had a fantastic going-out-of-business sale. While part of me feels “guilty” for taking advantage of their sad circumstances, the rest (and logical) part of me knows that they needed to sell as many books as possible. Through these books, a bit of their entrepreneurial and intellectual spirit will live on. With that idea in mind, I’m doing a limited-run series where I’ll spotlight each of the volumes I “adopted” from this sweet little shop. Shine on, you bookish gems!

Today’s selection? A Literary Chronicle: 1920-1950 by Edmund Wilson.

A Literary Chronicle: 1920-1950 by Edmund Wilson




I like Edmund Wilson, sue me. I don’t always agree with his pronouncements (far from it), but I appreciate his style. The elegant cover (by my beloved Edward Gorey!) makes this book a beautiful visual addition to my collection.

Thanks for reading! I hope you like the new series. Let me know your thoughts in the comments.

What Are You Reading in January?

What is on your reading list this month?

How are you approaching the new reading year? Eagerly? Obsessively? Or slowly but surely?

I recently started doing research for a book I’ll be writing later this year. A lot of my reading is geared towards that goal.

Since 1st January, I’ve finished:

  • Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life by Hermione Lee
  • The Tale of Beatrix Potter: A Biography by Margaret Lane
  • Humans of New York: Stories by Brandon Stanton
  • Meditations by Marcus Aurelius
  • The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms by David C. Tucker
  • The Art of Asking: or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Let People Help by Amanda Palmer
  • The 1950s Kitchen by Kathryn Ferry
  • The 1950s American Home by Diane Boucher

I’m in the midst of reading:

  • Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life by Richard Rohr (not my normal cup of tea)
  • Breakfast with Lucian: The Astounding Life and Outrageous Times of Britain’s Great Modern Painter by Geordie Greig
  • Coreography: A Memoir by Corey Feldman (reading it on a dare to myself…but it is actually not bad)

To be read by 31st January:

  • The Partnership: Brecht, Weill, Three Women, and Germany on the Brink by Pamela Katz
  • 1950s American Fashion by Jonathan Walford
  • The 1950s and 1960s (Costume and Fashion Source Books) by Anne Rooney
  • Mae Murray: The Girl with the Bee-Stung Lips by Michael G. Ankerich
  • Seriously Funny: The Rebel Comedians of the 1950s and 1960s by Gerald Nachman

What is your favourite book this month?

Which book on your list are you most looking forward to reading?

Please share with me in the comments!

Happy reading.

A Year in Books/Day 91: An American Childhood

  • Title: An American Childhood
  • Author: Annie Dillard
  • Year Published: 1987 (Harper & Row, Publishers)
  • Year Purchased: 1987
  • Source: My Mom.
  • About: Dillard’s impressionistic memoirs of growing up in Pittsburgh between the years 1950-1962.
  • Motivation: This is one of the definitive books of my girlhood. I nicked it from my Mom’s shelf in late autumn or early winter of 1987; I never gave it back. Why I honed in on this particular volume on that long-ago day is somewhat foggy, although I’ll venture to say that it was due to a combination of the title and boredom. I was in the midst of my own, although very different, American Childhood. What remains in my mind, as brilliant and clear as ice, is curling up on the floor next to my bed and reading it straight through in a couple of hours. Already a budding writer, with scores of stories, poems and plays to my name, I desperately wanted to be able to write like that: simply, divinely, forcefully. It’s twenty-five years later and my writing voice, developed long ago yet still tightening, transitioning, is nothing like Dillard’s; it contains no trace of my pubescent infatuation with her wordplay. What remains is a sense of gratefulness to one of my many literary heroines, one that I needed at an age when so many dreams scatter and fade away. Her book is a fine thread in the narrative of my formative years.
  • Times Read: 3 or 4 (all back in 1987/1988)
  • Random Excerpt/Page 51: “By the time I knew him, our grandfather was a vice-president of Pittsburgh’s Fidelity Trust Bank. He looked very like a cartoonist’s version of “vested interests.” In fact, he almost always wore a vest, and a gold watch on a chain; he was short and heavy; he had a small white mustache; he smoked cigars. At home, his thin legs crossed under his belly, he read the financial section of the paper, tolerant of children who might have been driven, in the long course of waiting for dinner, to beating their fingertips on his scalp.”
  • Happiness Scale: In importance and satisfaction to my young self,  is incalculable.