I love a good book score. That’s when you’re idly perusing bookstore shelves or rummaging through a free box someone left on the sidewalk and you find…well, a great find. The unexpected. The rarity. The affordable. The title you never dream existed, the book you’ve sought but never found, the obscure novel by the author whose oueuvre you were certain you’d read in entire. In short, the score.
This week I scored at a local bookstore. I was passing time, waiting for a friend, and I decided to see if this particular bookseller had Volume 2 of Virginia Woolf’s Diary. Then I saw it. Wedged in between The Waves and something by Irvine Welsh: The Eye of the Story by Eudora Welty. Two bucks. Yellowed and curled at the edges, with a slice of scotch-tape at the top of the spine. But mine, all mine!
It’s one of those books that speak to the other books in your life. In it, for example, there’s an essay on Chekhov, whose story Lady with a Dog we just read at A Curious Singularity. And a review of the Western Journals by Washington Irving, whose writings collection, by happenstance, I bought yesterday as part of the RIP reading challenge (Legend of Sleepy Hollow being one of my selections). And an essay on Jane Austen, whose Northanger Abbey is also part of my RIP reading (and which I bought yesterday with the Irving book). Odd, isn’t it? I won’t even mention the Woolf review included, because it seems any literary essay book worth its salt these days includes something on Woolf.
I’ve been wanting to respond to a wonderful post by Litlove on the Great American novel and character versus plot, but I’ve been too swamped. But what of it? My book score conveniently includes an essay on novels! And I quote:
It can be said at once, I should think, that we are all agreed upon the most important point: that morality as shown through human relationships is the whole heart of fiction, and the serious writer has never lived who dealt with anything else.
I’ll second that!