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Last Fall, Sam Shepard made a visit to the Fine Arts Library. The evening before
he arrived, I thought I should read his Pulitzer Prize winning play, Buried Child.
In addition, Beth Kerr, Theatre/Dance Librarian told me if you can only read one
thing before Shepard arrives, read Buried Child. This play is about a dysfunctional
family, set on a farm in the Midwest. Shepard does an excellent job describing the
strained relations amongst the three generations of family members. The family
secret, the mystery of the “Buried Child” is revealed in the third act of the play.
Now I recommend it to patrons who look at the Shepard materials on display and want
to read something by him.
There is nothing funny about Cormac McCarthy’s latest novel. It is a compelling,
provocative story about a man and his boy trying to survive in a post-apocalyptical
environment. It is so real and so frightening, it seems that McCarthy displays
prescient tendencies. Has he been there and back? Can he see the future? Is it this
bleak? Reading this novel is a spiritual experience. I am deeply indebted to Reggie
Akers, Fine Arts Library circulation supervisor, for recommending it to me. My
vision of the future has been transformed.
I am really recommending any of Richard Russo’s works. All of them are great and
you can follow a rise in the quality of his writing as you read newer and newer
works. The basic premise seems to be the same in each of his novels (at least the 4
of his 5 which I have read): they’re all set in a small town in the American
Northeast and full of wacky characters -- some in dire situations, some suffering
for caring about those in dire situations, and some suffering at the hands of those
in dire situations. Either way, the characters are what are great about Russo’s
writing. He makes you believe that these unreal folk are real and he makes you
suffer along with them, while at the same time you often want to give them a
smack-in-the-head wake-up call. This title won Russo the Pulitzer Prize in fiction
for 2002. Basically, it is a chilling commentary on Columbine, but the plot, as in
his other works, is almost incidental to how the characters react to what is
occurring. Russo is always funny and often at the same time heart-wrenching. His
books are quick reads and all wonderfully realized.
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