One of my “ambitions” for 2011 was to read at least 24 books, 2 per month. I love to read and used to be all up in those things, but over the past few years I’ve found less useful ways to pass my time (stupid internet). Following my other “buy less, use it more” ambition for the year, I decided to sort through my collection of books to see how many I could find that I had bought but never read. I stopped when I got to 14. (Am I the only one who’s a sucker for those Border’s clearance sales?) Since those would get me through the first half of the year, I figured I was set, so I got to reading.
I finished my first book of 2011 a few weeks ago, My Home is Far Away by Dawn Powell. I can’t exactly remember how I first heard of Dawn Powell, but I remember loving her from the first page. Though relatively obscure, she is considered by many to be one of the greatest American novelists. A few years ago, when I bought these books, almost all of her many novels were out of print. I stumbled upon about 4 different used copies in The Strand bookstore in NYC a few years ago and of course I bought them all. I was surprised to realize that I never read them all though, but pleased that I could start the year with what I knew would be a great book.
My Home is Far Away is based on the story of Powell’s own childhood. It follows the lives of three young sisters growing up in Ohio at around the turn of the twentieth century. Originally published in 1944, in this book Powell introduces us to Marcia, the “middle child.” Being a middle child myself, I could totally associate with this little girl, always missing out because I would never be the first nor ever the baby. Despite being intelligent beyond her years, Marcia leads the reader through the pains of her childhood with the innocence of a child.
It’s very rare to find yourself noticing how well written a novel is. I found myself doing that several times with this one. I feel like to say any more would be giving away the story, so I’m going to stop there. Once again, Dawn Powell did not disappoint. I definitely recommend this book!
I’m about half way through my next book, a book of essays and speeches on writing by Flannery O’Connor. I’m looking forward to sharing that one with you as well, lots to say about it!