Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Auteur du jour

In a letter published in O Magazine, Harper Lee wrote: "...in an abundant society where people have laptops, cell phones, iPods and minds like empty rooms, I still plod along with books." I try to do the same but given a lack of shelf-space and a limited budget, I've migrated from paper to electronic copies.

Alain De Botton and Jane Austen will always be my favorite authors but Truman Capote is becoming a close third. I've always known him for Breakfast at Tiffany's but didn't realize that he also wrote brilliant non-fiction. He viewed jounalism as art -- the highly controversial In Cold Blood was an experiment in journalistic writing. It was only late last year that I was able to obtain a reader of his short stories, travel sketches and essays at Fully Booked. I'm now hooked on his prose.

"Beyond the hill grows a field of high Indian grass that changes color with the seasons: go to see it in the fall, late September, when it has gone red as sunset, when scarlet shadows like firelight breeze over it and the autumn winds strum on its dry leaves sighing human music, a harp of voices....this is the grass harp, always telling a story -- it knows the stories of all the people on the hill, of all the people who ever lived, and when we are dead it will tell ours, too." -- The Grass Harp (1951)

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