Thursday, February 14, 2008

Valentine's Day Book: My Mistress's Sparrow is Dead: Great Love Stories, from Chekov to Munro

Pulitzer Prize winning author, Jeffrey Eugenides (Middlesex, The Virgin Suicides) has recently compiled an anthology of 26 short stories by authors such as William Faulkner, James Joyce, Guy de Maupassant, Mary Robison, Eileen Chang, and Alice Munro. In an interview, Eugenides remarks, "The first thing you confront when you compile an anthology like this is the painful obligation to exclude wonderful work. The only way I could sleep at night was to remind myself it was for a good cause (the proceeds go to a non-profit organization, dedicated to supporting students ages 6 to 18 with their creative and expository writing skills, and to helping teachers inspire their students to write). How did I choose? the way people choose their mates: for intelligence, beauty, humor, and a sense that they'll be around for the long haul."

He regrets that he was unable to get permission to include Annie Proulx's famous story, Brokeback Mountain. As one reviewer of the book states, "I recommend this collection with the notice that one not expect happily-ever-afters...some of the stories are disturbing, thought-provoking, and heartbreaking."

The title of the collection is taken from a poem by the Latin poet Catullus, 84 BC. A suitor jealously contemplates his lover's devotion to her pet sparrow and her period of mourning its death.

Carmichael Library owns many sources of Valentine inspiration. Several books titles that might motivate you to celebrate the day:

The Fifty Greatest Love Letters of All Time PN6140.LZ.A15
The Book Of Love: Writers and Their Love Letters PN6140.L7 B58
The Faber Book Of Love Poems PN6110.L6 G67

Or take a look through our dvd collection...West Side Story, Brokeback Mountain, A Man and a Women, Annie Hall, Last Tango in Paris...many choices representing the uplifting, poignant, sentimental, outrageous, sad experiences in which we humans get entangled.

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