A New Literary History of America – What are you reading?

I’ve been reading A New Literary History of America for the last few weeks. Today I am reading about Leslie Fielder, a literary critic who spent much of his career living and working in Montana.

I have never heard of him until now, and he has just two citations in The Norton Anthology of Theory and Criticism ; he doesn’t have a chapter.

He was controversial because of his insolent style. However, what I like about the article in the book, written by Carrie Tirado Bramen, is how Fielder left the stogy east and could be more open about his thoughts and disagreements with the establishment out west. He wrote to the common reader and thumbed his nose at formality. [Perhaps why he didn’t have more written about him in Norton.]

I am going to look for Fielder’s books including “Love and Death” and read some of DH Lawrence’s books such as “Studies in Classic American Literature” and “Love and Death in the American Novel”.

I have so much to read and the list keeps growing while reading A New Literary History of America. The list now includes the ones above and I still have to read Moby Dick and Uncle Tom’s Cabin.

What are you reading? What are you dreaming about?

House of Rain Chris Childs

Me? The West.

Today I started reading House of Rain, Tracing A Vanished Civilization Across the American Southwest by Craig Childs. I’ve been debating off and on for the last few months about a trail run in Monument Valley. It’s an ultra race – 50 miles. But in reality, I’ll probably just do the 50K. I hope.

I’ve been reading books about the southwest these days. I lived in Arizona for over three years and now I can’t stop reading about anything west of the Mississippi.

I’ve always been fascinated with the West. Really, the American Northwest. However, I moved to Colorado in 2004 and then in 2012 moved to Tucson not knowing anything about the desert except that I could bike year-round. I learned a lot about the desert when I was there, but now I’m really studying it.

Sometimes it takes distance to learn and understand people and places.

Tonight I am reading about the Colorado Plateau, canyons, mesas, mountains at 13,000 feet, Anasazi, flash floods and geomorphology. Words that sound so western.

I want to be a Western American writer, Western American literature reader, and Western American Literature scholar. The third thing – I know – lofty.

But I’ve always had lofty goals. Sometimes I reach my goals and sometimes I fail miserably. I know what I like and what I need to learn. Tonight I’m just trying to learn why the Anasazi disappeared and to go on an adventure with Mr. Childs. First stop, Chaco Canyon in northwest New Mexico.