I love holidays for many reasons, one of which is that I usually catch up on reading. This Thanksgiving holiday is no exception. In my pile are two twentieth-century American classics and a twentieth-century British classic.
Every year at Thanksgiving, my father reads aloud Truman Capote’s The Thanksgiving Visitor. When I was young, I didn’t really understand the moral of the tale, but as I’ve become a wise adult, it’s pretty obvious that it’s about hospitality, in the deepest sense of the word—to treat all guests with respect and as equals (regardless of their behavior towards you). It’s a wise, humorous, and achingly nostalgic piece of memoir.
I’ll be finishing up John Le Carre’s Smiley’s People, the third of the thrilling Smiley/Karla trilogy. I’m not usually a lover of the spy novel, but this one, to my mind, is an examination of psychology disguised as a spy thriller. I’ve read it many times and always find something new to ponder with each re-reading.
When I’m done with Smiley, I’ll turn to Walker Percy’s The Moviegoer. It’s one of those novels that’s on various “best ever” lists, and it won the National Book Award in 1962. I’ve seen it described as having a poetic feel, with thematic influence from the existentialists. Hmmm, we’ll see how that works.
Enjoy the holiday—and let us know what’s on your reading list!