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Styron and Roth

Stacey Tromblee - Director - Livingston Manor Free Library
Posted 2/15/21

Let me be the first to congratulate you. If you are reading this column you made it to 2021! You survived the hard reset that was 2020. Everything else is a bonus.

I often am pleasantly surprised …

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Styron and Roth

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Let me be the first to congratulate you. If you are reading this column you made it to 2021! You survived the hard reset that was 2020. Everything else is a bonus.

I often am pleasantly surprised to find a non-fiction book written by an author who we have known as a fiction or travel writer.

After settling into a comfortable chair, I soon discover the author revealing how uncomfortable with themselves they often are when the idea for an infamous book first came to them or when they still must defend a fiction book they wrote several decades ago. Imagine defending a book fifty years after it became a best seller!

This is just one of the reasons to read My Generation by William Styron. This book also will allow…dare I say it…Generation X readers, like myself, to create a list of titles by authors who predate your arrival to our reading world.

A great reason to read non-fiction by fiction writers can also be found in Patrimony by Philip Roth. Of the plethora of books written by Philip Roth, I have read only two. I made the assumption after reading these two fiction books, that Mr. Roth had nothing to offer me as a reader. I was wrong.

I discovered Patrimony by chance while I was feeling lucky to be inside a library browsing during our limited-access year. The humor and stick-to-itiveness we see in Roth's fictional characters comes straight from his father. Uncomfortable conversations lead to epiphanies. Roth's father is a widower navigating life in the same city he grew up in, but now he is alone. Roth is called upon to help his gregarious father age-in-place and it is a bumpy ride. As Roth rearranges his life to spend time with his working class father, the son finally begins to understand and appreciate the man he thought he knew.

These famous authors share their epiphanies with the reader and we see many uncomfortable conversations unfold in these non-fiction works.

It's bigger than they are, and is that not the takeaway of 2020? I am finding myself incredibly thankful to start 2021 and have a library to browse.

Come join in the discovery of what is bigger than us. The joy of the library is found in the serendipitous discovery of a book we didn't even know existed.

The book you missed in 2020 is available at the library. See you at the library.

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