I think we're going to have much to talk about here. My head is swimming at the moment with all sorts of tidbits and tangents about Hannah and Wendell and Ivy and Grandmam and now Virgil!
I wish I could just spout them all out loud. It would be easier than trying to decide what to write.
I wonder if Wendell ever feels like his head is going to explode with words.
I'm not one to do a bunch of research on someone before I read their books. I don't know too many people who approach their reading that way. I think most of us read books because they're recommended and then they might research the author if they're curious.
My impressions of Wendell Berry have come from reading a few of his essays, the title of the specific collection escapes me. Unfortunately for me, his essays caused me to ignore his novels-- until yesterday.
I mention my torrid past with Wendell because Anna, in the comments, told me she left Oprah's Book Club to be here.
Are you with me?
When Anna told me she left Oprah's Book Club to be here, I went to Oprah's Book Club to see what she left behind and, you know, to see how Oprah does it.
Um, Anna? There's a lot of neato stuff over there! Lots of links and information and discussions and videos and professionals. And big words like dialectic. I found myself reading all of it--even the discussion questions for a book I have no intention of reading.
Those questions were pretty well-written, too. I noticed she got the author of the book to write them.
That's not going to happen here. So, Anna, I just wanted you to know that Wendell Berry won't be here nor will he be submitting questions about his book. (I found that odd, anyway.)
Visiting Oprah's site confirmed something for me. I'm easily influenced by first impressions. Reading about the book on her site made me not want to read it. I ignored Wendell for six years because his essays made me a little bit mad (mostly because he couldn't hear me asking him questions as I was reading them). So, I'm hesitant to give you a bunch of links about Wendell because I don't want to be responsible for causing you to read Hannah Coulter through a lens that's anything but pure and raw and honest and only your very own.
Except I found an intriguing interview that he did in 2004 with Sojourner Magazine. Hannah Coulter was published in 2004 and I noticed something as I read the interview. He speaks like he writes or he writes like he speaks. There are phrases spoken in this interview that are found verbatim in the text of Hannah Coulter.
I find this fascinating and I really hope I don't get sucked into reading every single interview I can find on the web because we're actually trying to do some schoolwork today and I'd like to have a hot meal ready when Chad gets home from work.
Click and read at your own risk.
We will be discussing Part One, Chapters 1 - 7, all next week beginning on Monday. I fully expect everyone to be in different places at different times and I fully expect that our discussions will overlap throughout the entire book. In other words, if we miss something that you wish to discuss you are invited and urged to bring it up no matter where we are in the discussion. Remember! The comments are the real blog here--don't miss them!
Now. Because I think you'll want to know, Hannah's savings of $162.37 is roughly $2500 in today's economy.
And one more thing, I keep hearing a man's voice (Wendell's, I presume, though I've never heard him speak) when I should be hearing a woman's. We'll be talking about "voice" next week but in the mean time, Donna made a great suggestion: read out loud to myself for a few pages to hear my voice instead of Wendell's. I'm sorry if by suggesting this I've now brought to your attention a problem you didn't know you had. Forgive me.
Did you notice Wendell and I are on a first-name basis? I've forgiven him for making a bad first impression and he's forgiven me for making hasty judgments.
His prose is making up for a lot of past mistakes.