Sunday, September 28, 2008

Giant (1952)

I've read both the book and seen the movie now. And neither as a whole is as good as a combination of bits and parts from each. In the movie, the courting scene between Elizabeth Taylor and Rock Hudson is a shallow event. Considering the length of the production, it's surprisingly overlooked. Yet in the book, Edna Ferber's description of Leslie's shabby chic home in Virginia and her lead character's seduction of Bick is one of the better parts of the novel. You feel the bride's pain when she realizes what she's left behind for the man she loves.

In the book, Jett Rink is a disrespectful field hand who has no redeeming qualities of which I'm aware, yet in the movie he has depth and pathos, and his downfall is understood as coming from his desire to do and be better without the support he needs to get there.

If you take both versions of Giant, the message is powerful. Quite a few grown men today remember without pause the author's name and the role she played in America's consciousness in the 1950s. In Giant, the movie, the ending is idealistic. Leslie changes Bick. He stands up for the Mexican and equal treatment and takes a beating in the process. The book is more realistic, though. Leslie argues for change but continues to look away. Her husband never changes but accepts it because he has no other choice. It is their children who embody the future and begin the social integration of Texas.

Click here to find out more about the book: Giant.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

April 15, 1930

Dear Katherine,

I started you a letter last night, but didn't get to finish. I realize I don't owe you a letter but I'm mad and you're elected to hear my woes. So prepare for the worst.

I'm mad at my roommate. And I mean truly mad. I didn't think anything could make me lose my appetite – and here its happened twice in two weeks – or is it three?

I've done some good at that. I've decided why I fell like a ton of brick for "Pee Wee." And what I wouldn't give to see that little boy! You just don't know.

Why am I such a d --- d idiot? Someone would do well to invent something to make people sensible. They would be a godsend to people like me.

I'm deciding that I've got to learn to play tennis. Starting this aft. but you should see how I blister. My nose is burned and slick as a peeled onion. Just the same, I'm going to learn to play tennis. I'm getting brown as an Indian.

This is for a purpose – you might have known it! I'm coming down next week-end – April 20 to be exact. Think I'd better give dates so we will understand each other.

A letter on the installment plan, doesn't it sound hashed – but who cares? It won't make a bit of difference a hundred years from now.

Love. 'Cile.

Blog Note: Katherine and Lucile are first cousins. Both girls were born in 1910.

Saturday, September 20, 2008


Whenever Sur La Table sends me a $10-off coupon, I buy a cookbook. I guess that's in direct conflict with my promise not to buy any new books this year, but this one cost me $2.95. When I go to Egypt next, I'll buy an authenic tagine with a wonderful pattern and hope the color is free of lead. Until then I will make these spicy stews in a stock pot. I'm looking forward to the cooler temperatures. It brings out the best in me.

Click here to find out more about Tagine: Spicy Stews from Morocco.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Gathering Blue (2000)

Gathering Blue, a companion to Lois Lowry’s earlier The Giver is another really good book. The author writes a similar story but this one’s not a lesser copy or an imitation of the first. It stands just as strong and reads just as well on its own.

A band of creative children (and a bent-tailed dog) pull together to support and love each other in a greedy, beast-like society. Kira, the main character, has a physical defect and is left an orphan in a village that destroys its weaker members, but the young girl rises above her difficulties and emerges in a position of power, one that will lead her world to a better place.

I recommend Gathering Blue for all ages and look forward to reading the final book of the trilogy, The Messenger. (thanks, Maya!)

To find this book on Amazon: Gathering Blue.

Monday, September 1, 2008

January 19, 1929

Dear Katherine,

I’m having the most fun sitting up in some onelse’s room and playing their “vic.” out of hours! I don’t know what I’ll say to Mrs. Harlan if I get caught.

Your kind sympathy for my soreness is accepted and I’m still enjoying it because I’m still sore. Oh! my poor legs are in the worst condition imaginable. Never mind! After Mon. night I won’t have to play. We play our first game and I’m afraid we will be successfully eleminated.

I’m mad. Did you see that piece in the Tennessean about the “Phis. Ed.” majors. It said we drank, smoked, cussed, wore pants and were mad because we couldn’t take wrestling under a handsome man and he’s ugly as a mud fence. We signed up for wrestling because the man’s notice was on our bulletin board.

We haven’t been able to go swimming yet. The pool closed two weeks before holidays and they haven’t opened it yet. So sorry to hear you’ve been sick in bed. I guess you are up now. Here’s hoping.

One of our cutest majors left last week to teach. I surely miss her. Hope don’t any more leave.

Kiddo, another Manless Dance Friday night! I can’t decide whether to go.

As to Harmonson, suits me, but please, if you value my life don’t spring him on me. I haven’t had a date in so long.

Dear Katherine, I’ve cut my hair short, windblown in fact and everyone likes it fine. Since cutting mine I advise cutting for yours. You must follow my example. Yours truly, Dorothy Dix.

Ask me another!

Also ans. P.D.Q. or I’ll be awfully aggra-fretted.

You asked who had captured the “fair lady’s fancy.” Listen, no body, no one soul, and I have no intentions of them ever doing so. My only crushes have left me too far in the depths and one horribly disappointed human, so I’ve sworn off crushes along with cigs.

I’ve done rash things. Last week I promised to keep training and today I promised to go to bed before eleven and not eat between meals until after Monday. Will power come to my rescue or I’ll break my promise and that would never do.

Guess what I did today. Went to the show by myself. I wanted to see William Haines in “Alias Jimmy Valentine” and I do believe everyone I know had either seen it or had a date to see it tonight. Everyone said it was darling so stubborn me went alone. It really was cute so was Colleen Moore in “Synthetic Sin.” I can do the tackiest things. Four of us went to the show in slickers and without hats and we saw more Peabody people than I ever have seen in town at one time. We got in at eleven, with a whole half-hour to spare imagine us!

I just barely missed being called before Miss Carr again day before yesterday, honey, pray for me that I’ll get good an won’t get sent home for making noise.

Be good, if you can’t be good, be careful, if you can’t be careful, name it “Lucile.”

Love, Lucile