Friday, September 18, 2009

Let Me Explain, Better

My last post wasn't detailed enough. I wrote the darn thing in ten minutes. (I've got to stop doing that), and I didn't explain what I meant by sentimental books. Here's an excerpt from an article about a book I enjoyed reading last year, a runaway bestseller, worldwide.

Giving sentiment a good name
Published: Sun, Aug. 31, 2008 12:00AMModified Sun, Aug. 31, 2008 04:40AM

'The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" is a sentimental book.
I don't mean sentimental in its sickly sweet connotation, but the one I learned from my friend Sue, who lives down the street. Her definition comes from the way she lives her life: to be brave enough to care.

Sentiment is an underdog in this day and age, enough that those tasked with marketing "The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" decided to go with a vaguely postmodern hook for the dust jacket, billing the book as a "celebration of the written word in all its guises." END OF EXCERPT.

~~~Mr. David Frauenfelder explains things so much better than I did in my previous post. I'm afraid I made it sound as if I write and read differing kinds of material than I do. In fact, I don't often read books, nor do I write books, that would be considered overtly sentimental. I just want to reserve the right to veer in that direction from time to time.

Don't you love that line? To be brave enough to care? It's come down to this? We have to be brave to care? How very sad.

Here's a short list of books I adore, books that don't mind displaying a tender sentiment here and there:

Terms of Endearment ~~ Larry MacMurtry
Where The Heart Is ~~ Billie Letts
Turtle Moon ~~Alice Hoffman
Range of Motion ~~ Elizabeth Berg
Back When We Were Grown-ups ~~ Anne Tyler
South of Broad ~~ Pat Conroy

I think it says something of us as a society when we are afraid of human emotion.

All Rights Reserved. © 2009 by Elizabeth Bradley.


Cloudia said...

You are indeed pointing to something very significant. I'm swimming upstream and LOVING it!

Warm Aloha

Comfort Spiral

lakeviewer said...

We had no trouble reading Dickens, George Elliott, Jane Austen, the Bronte sisters. Sentiment, done at the right time an in the right dose, is like ice-cream after a meal.

Elspeth Antonelli said...

I adored The Guernsey Island Literary and Potato Pie Society. I picked it up because it's main setting is Guernsey during the Occupation and that's the setting for my second book. But the language and rhythm of the writing swept me away. I knew it would end happily which is a comfort. What I loved is that it was about a love affair between people and a love affair with the written word.


Suzanne said...

I am in full agreement with you.


Woman in a Window said...

I think you're right, Elizabeth, and I think that is distinctly society's problem. Too concerned with how it looks, instead of what's inside. I say revel in the human. Live the aesthetic. Breathe the cry.

(thank you for being so kind with me at my place)


Marguerite said...

I tend to read non-fiction on a daily basis and save the sentimental fiction for when I have a nice chunk of time to indulge. Nice list! Have a great weekend, cher!

Lauri Kubuitsile said...

EISH- I just spent 15 mins trying to figure out why this computer didn't want to let me leave a comment on your blog. I haven't discovered why but I did a lot of things and this opened. Sort of how me and this computer have chosen to work together. He keeps secrets I beat him up until he gives me waht I want. (my computer is male- aren't they all??)

Elizabeth I love happy endings and in my pre-menopausal 45 year old state- I cry profusley and that's a good thing. I, too, love manners. I think it's brave to care.

I also wanted to give you this link about the vile Kanye West's utterly rude and autrocious behavior. it is from a very amusing South African mag co-written by one of the cheekiest people I've ever seen- Tom Eaton.

Sniffles and Smiles said...

Bingo! You are so right!!! Sentiment in the proper proportions, and place is powerful! Love the excerpt! Great thoughts! And quite a list of books...this post is packed!! Thanks for sharing such really great stuff!! ~Janine XO

Debbie said...

Love your list. I've enjoyed most of those books as well.

Cheryl said...

I like anything I read, even non fiction to affect my feelings in some way. Fiction can make people we might laugh at or despise into people we care for because we get to feel what they feel and see how they see the world. I read to understand others and I write to be understood. If emotion doesn't play a part of it, how can we empathize? Kanye West for example. I doubt he understands how his actions made Taylor Swift feel. Maybe if he'd read more books like..I don't know, Anne of Green Gables? while he was growing up, he would have been capable of doing such a thing.

Lori said...

I don't mind being sentimental. I think it is a very feminine trait and I want to be proud of it.

Kim said...

I've read Letts' book but not the others. I like getting new suggestions because I seem to get stuck in certain genres or on certain authors.

Midlife Jobhunter said...

We have very similar tastes in books. I have read your entire list except for South of Broad. It is, however, sitting on my table, awaiting my undivided attention. Maybe this weekend.