Crossing to Safety

The Crandall Public Library Monday Evening Book Group assembled on September 17, 2012 to rap about Wallace Stegner’s novel Crossing to Safety.   Although the number of attendees was small, the discussion was the best in ages.  It produced what I’d like to dub the synergy of sharing, with each proffered perception contributing to our greater understanding of this well-written domestic drama.

In particular, the group’s analysis of the psychological elements and literary artifice of the work was enlightening.  I was quite taken with the notion that fiction operates as an engine of self-reflection, and is thus an important catalyst for self-actualization.  Our exploration of the novel’s literary craftsmanship also served up some serious food for thought: we found the absense of traditional elements of conflict most intriguing.  This is the sort of nuanced and insightful discussion that I hoped for when I first took the helm of this venerable group, so hats off to my fellow attendees–you really made this librarian’s evening.


Wikipedia: Wallace Stegner

The New York Times: Obituary

A Recollection of Wallace Stegner

Day at Night: TV Interview

NPR: Review

Timothy Egan Offers Tribute

Tasty Quote

“Youth hasn’t got anything to do with chronological age. It’s times of hope and happiness.”

Must Read Wallace Stegner

1)  Angle of Repose  (Pulitzer Prize 1972)

“Masterful…Reading it is an experience to be treasured.”
–The Boston Globe

2)  The Spectator Bird (National Book Award 1977)

“Elegant and entertaining . . . Every scene [is] adroitly staged and each effect precisely acomplished.”
–The Atlantic

3)  The Wilderness Letter

In 1960, Wallace Earle Stegner offered-up what is arguably his most important literary effort.  Known as The Wilderness Letter, it encompasses an eloquent and persuasive plea for government, as agent for the preservation of wilderness.  According to numerous sources, it served as a forerunner of and catalyst for the passage of the Federal Wilderness Act of 1964.

Parting Thought…

First, many thanks to Anne “Always Awesome” Nelson – her editorial efforts made this a much better post.  Second, I am seriously psyched about our next gathering, which is slated for October 15, 2012, and will focus on Laura Hillenbrand’s Unbroken. You can check out the trailer below to get a sense of the power of this superb survival narrative. And finally, I hope to see you there.

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