By Callie Oettinger
Published: September 12, 2014
Flannery O’Connor hooked my interest through a school-assigned reading of A Good Man is Hard to Find and her personal story kept me reading more. I was certain that a bit of that geranium she wrote about—“with its roots in the air”—was her, a transplant to New York City, from Georgia, where the geraniums weren’t put on apartment windowsills for sun, but thrived just fine on their own at home.
While her body was long gone when I arrived on the scene, her stories and articles about her have kept me re-reading her work, always finding something new each time I visit.
With a few exceptions, it’s the individual’s story, not the story itself, that hooks me. There are millions of books and films and paintings and albums and plays and concerts and… When they are pitched as products – “one of the best films of the summer” or “an instant classic”—I keep walking.
These days, everything seems to be a bestseller, the next best thing, the best film of the year, the best of the best of the best.
When everything is the best… None of it grabs my attention.
I stop for the personal stories.
Posted in What It Takes
ADDITIONAL READING » FAVORITE FICTION
by Percy, Walker
National Book Award winner 1963. New Orleans stockbroker Binx Bolling (one of the great characters of contemporary fiction) battles Kierkegaardian despair with the help of his cousin Kate, an ultra-dry sense of humor, and a compulsion for going to the movies.
by van der Post, Laurens
A close second: World War II classic by the South African master. A tale of two brothers, a Japanese prison camp, and the soul’s triumph over suffering and isolation.