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May 27, 2004

Monkeys

The few who've ever been to my apartment are well acquainted with my banker's boxes full of books. Too many books and not enough shelves for them all. (And hellacious to move, as my dear friends can attest.)

This year I've been giving myself the assignment of setting out a few books from these boxes, Books I Should Read. Books that I've bought merely because the descriptions sounded good, or because there were favorable blurbs from other writers I had heard of (but not necessarily read). Aspirational reading, I guess, for the literary writer I thought I maybe could be someday. Having picked up all these books and moved them up and down the country, I ought to at least read them before taking them in to trade somewhere.

A few weeks ago I finished Susan Minot's Monkeys, a slim volume from 1986 whose chapters are yearly vignettes in the life of large New England family. An honest work, spare and essential.

By coincidence, there's an article in today's NYT about the literary and artistically-minded Minots, brothers and sisters in a large New England family. Fragments of their real life are commingled with the fiction in Monkeys, as well as in the works of the other siblings.

"The Minots, A Literary Clan Whose Story Divides Them" - Dinitia Smith, NYT, 5/27/04

Yours, &c., LC | 11:11 AM | Writing & Language | Comments (3)

Comments

I read Monkeys years ago and loved it. Thanks for the link to the article. It is interesting how many of the Minot siblings decided to deal with their family history by becoming writers.

Posted by: tangognat at May 28, 2004 08:12 PM

I will definitely check it out. I have to refer to your comment about having to move books: I am now in the process of moving thousands of books and it is, indeed, hellacious. Many of them are still in legal boxes. Most of them have yet to be packed and I keep insisting on cataloguing them beforehand.

Posted by: GaelicGrl at May 30, 2004 11:44 AM

Legal boxes are quite possibly the best to pack books in. They're sturdy, they have handles, and they collapse nicely (so you can save them for the next move!).

Posted by: LadyCrumpet at June 1, 2004 07:57 AM