Thursday, January 12, 2012

Rediscovering Lee Smith

Twenty years or so ago, I discovered the author Lee Smith and read everything I could get my hands on that she had written. I'm not sure that I liked every one of her stories, and no one title stands out as being especially wonderful, but I really was crazy about the way she wrote. When I was working in the library in Thomaston, I read everything we had there and later on bought some of the paperbacks or checked them out of other libraries.

Mike and I were in our library earlier this week looking for a few books I have on my list to read. I found one of them and a couple of other ones that looked interesting, but as we started to leave I saw the shelf with the Lee Smith books on them. One of them, Fair and Tender Ladies, didn't ring a bell, so I brought it home and started it that same afternoon. I could do nothing else but read that book!

It's amazing, and I didn't want it to end today. I've sat there and forced Mike to listen to excerpts, so I'm sure he's glad it ended.

It's written in the format of letters from the heroine Ivy Rowe from the time she was 14 years old until she is an old lady to family members and friends. The author knows and portrays the dialect of the area and the era so well.

It definitely made me laugh and cry and broke my heart thinking of things families like hers had to go through trying to keep farms going or work in the coal mines 100+ years ago, just trying to survive. So sad.

I now have a list of all of Lee Smith's novels and am going to try to go back and read and re-read as many as I can find. Ob-session!

I was looking through our bookshelves to see if I might have one of the books on the list, and I remarked that I could spend years just reading and re-reading the books we already have.

It used to make me sad when I worked at the library that I would never be able to read all the books I wanted to in my lifetime. Although I have given it a good try. I now have too many other interests to read like I used to, but I'm going to make more time for it instead of spending so much time on the computer - like right now.

We also recorded 3 movies on our magic new cable thing, and I have one waiting for me now. Retirement is not so bad!

1 comment:

  1. Do you still have the copy of the book I got her to sign for you while I was working at Skylight? Remember her son used to hang out in there. All day. Drinking coffee and playing the piano.
    I wonder if she still owns that sushi bar in Chapel Hill. Really good sushi. And amazing green tea ice cream.
    I'll have to read some of her stuff once I'm done with the 100 Best Novels list. So basically 2021.