Read To

Remember what it felt like being read to? What a joy! My beautiful mom, Dorothy, had a lovely voice and she often read to us as kids. she read lots of different things, from Nanuck of the North (why do I remember that title?) and Bible stories to Winnie the Pooh, which my beloved sister Judy absolutely adored.

What a soothing yet energizing feeling it is to hear words float through the air and into your mind and heart! Back in the fall, when I visited Alex at Middlebury, we went to hear the popular poet Billy Collins give a reading. He was fun and funny. It was just so delightful to share his playful love of words in a communal setting.

Tonight, another amazing set of words floated out to me, not from the page, but from the stage. I went to a reading of The House of Mirth, Edith Wharton’s wonderful novel, held at the Center for Fiction in Manhattan. The reading was staged in honor of the 150th anniversary of Edith’s birth and all the proceeds are being donated to the Mount, Edith’s restored mansion in Lenox, Massachusetts. It’s a stunning house and the grounds are lovely. David and I have visited a number of times and we always enjoy it.

The Center provided wine, snacks, and a lively group of readers who tackled Edith’s tale of the lovely and ill-fated Lily Bart with style and verve. Poor Lily!

Listening to the novel being read aloud was a revelation to me. I realized how snappy and witty the dialogue is and how artfully Edith entangles her heroine in social and financial disaster. As one reader after another took the stage, the novel just raced along. You could feel the urgency in the story and the crackle of clever repartees. Hearing the story read out loud also made Lily seem more real and dimensionally rich as a character.

Totally inspired, when I came home, I pulled my copy of The House of Mirth off the shelf — I’m going to try reading some of it aloud myself and see how that influences my feelings about it. This should be fun — why not give it a try with something you really enjoy?

About karinwritesdangerously

I am a writer and this is a motivational blog designed to help both writers and aspiring writers to push to the next level. Key themes are peak performance, passion, overcoming writing roadblocks, juicing up your creativity, and the joys of writing.
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4 Responses to Read To

  1. ClaireMcA says:

    I was reminded of Edith Wharton by another blogger, who read ‘Ethan Frome’ in commemoration of her 150 years and it being a good winter novel. By coincidence the latest version with a lovely Claude Monet print was on sale in my local English bookshop and it is also the first book by her I have read. I am really enjoying her insights, it seems like a book that can be returned to and reread for sure.

    So now I must add ‘The House of Mirth’ to my list, thanks for suggesting it and enjoy your reading.

    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks so much for your comment — so glad to hear that you’re an Edith Wharton
      fan. She is really quite a writer! The House of Mirth is really a wonderful
      book — very sad, but the heroine, Lily Bart is so real and in some ways
      so modern. I hope you pick it up and enjoy it. Please let me know how you
      like it. Hope you’ll keep visiting my blog.

      Write on,

  2. ClaireMcA says:

    Thanks Karin, I loved ‘Ethan Frome’ and I’m looking forward to reading more and happy to have discovered a chateau near here she used to holiday in, it’s going to be a wonderful year to commemorate her writing and her life I am sure.

    Thank you for the recommendation, I will include ‘The House of Mirth’ in my reading for 2012 for sure. I have posted my review for ‘Ethan Frome’ now, feel free to visit and comment if you like and share your favourite there also.

    • Hi Claire,

      Thanks so much for your note — I’d love to hear what you think about The House of Mirth! I just visited your site — and enjoyed browsing so much. I left a comment for you on your Ethan Frome post. I never knew Edith had a Chateau — how wonderful!

      Write on, Karin

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