28 April 2014

imaginary syllabus: California as Eden

I'm reading Wallace Stegner's All the Little Live Things right now (and will write more about it soon, I hope) and I can't help but make connections between it and two books I read earlier this year. I do this a lot and I'm sure I'm not the only one who does this, as in a sense, that's a part of reading, making connections between the text and all the things that inform our lives. I often think, ah! Someone should teach this book with that one, and that one.

So, I'm going to start writing these down here, because why not. And if you have anything you'd add to the list, please let me know. I'm not nearly as well-read as I'd like to be, so please help open it up for me.

Reading List for California as Eden found and lost
All the Little Live Things by Wallace Stegner
East of Eden by John Steinbeck
Blue Nights by Joan Didion
Surfwise by Doug Pray

That's a pretty white list. What else would you add?


Sarah said...

I love this idea! Like you say, it's often the connections - the conversations between one book & another - that speak to us & make our reading lives so rich. I'd love to know what people suggest adding to your list. It makes me think that I haven't read much California, but my thought would be Douglas Coupland's Generation X.

m said...

It's been a million years since I read Generation X and didn't realize it was set in California. Yes, I think it would be a great fit. The idea of Eden as a never-been or at least too far lost for that generation.

On Twitter, someone suggest Amy Tan's Joy Luck Club and Tales of the City by Maupin. I haven't read either of those, but now I'm curious.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

You might add Big Sur and the Oranges of Hieronymus Bosch.

I hadn't heard of Surfwise. i just watched the trailer and I'm very intrigued. Thanks!

m said...

Denise, now this when I have to admit that I've never read Henry Miller! I have a block against him because he seemed to be an asshole, but perhaps its worth picking this one up?

I loved Surfwise! If you watch it, let me know what you think.

Denise | Chez Danisse said...

So funny about your block because I've picked up and put down a couple of his other books for the same reason... This one was fun to skip around in. I wasn't mesmerized by the whole book, but there were some good bits. I liked reading about Big Sur back in the day and he wrote about several topics I found thought provoking. Did you find Surfwise online, or did you buy the DVD?

m said...

The first time I watched it, I had borrowed it from the library. I think it's available online. I live in Victoria, which is about 15 years behind the rest of the country, so we still have neighbourhood video shops, so I'll probably rent it from them.

Denise said...

I watched Surfwise. Part of me saw the father as a little crazy and part of me felt he was making sense, or at least close to making sense. Thanks for the intro. Very thought provoking.

m said...

I'm glad you watched it, Denise. I had the same sense of the father as you. When I first started the film, I was jealous--ah! this is the life! I want to do this with my family. But then, well, then I saw that my more conventional life might be just fine.