19 April 2002

I love essays that display their author’s mystification with what real people read and write, particularly when it is further made clear that the writer hasn’t ventured into the depths of her local libraries in a number of years. Ms Adams calls them “nobody memoirs” and thinks they’re on the rise for whatever reason, but any patron of a slightly outdated library knows that these were wildly popular decades ago, in the early and middle portions of the twentieth century — war tales from foot soldiers, travelogues from minor diplomats’ wives, childhood memories from those who grew up as first-generation ingredients in the American melting pot, and any number of other examples of observations from the sidelines. I absolutely adore these books, whatever their literary quality, and would suggest to Ms Adams that nobodies, precisely because their lives are less visible and less known to us, make on the whole much more intriguing subjects of the casual memoir. (Which connects thematically to the previous blog item — see below.)

19 April 2002

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