Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A Beautiful Tragedy

Okay, so I guess I’m the first poster, eh? Well, let’s get some ice broken, shall we?

I’d seen the movie a very long time ago, and truthfully never thought much of it. Except for loving Audrey Hepburn. And hating Mickey Rooney.  Thankfully, the novella is much more captivating than the film. 

I got a very distinct picture of the time and setting of the story. Capote has an amazing way with words and really takes you right where he wants you without coming right out and giving the details. We have to infer that Holly is an upscale callgirl – never specifically mentioned, but definitely hinted at. We get only a sense that the narrator is gay, but in a way that helps. He can give us a clear picture of Holly that isn’t clouded by lust, like so many of her followers. I read somewhere that Holly’s character was loosely based on 3 or 4 of the most visible socialites and starlets of the day, with a dash of Capote’s mother thrown in. But what I find interesting, is that in a time period of buttoned-up femininity (it was set in the 40s), Holly is the lone bohemian soul, floating through life, doing as she pleases. It speaks of the time because she is so widely loved and despised at the same time. Likely, those detractors were jealous of her fly-by-night attitude and freedom. It was a world where that sort of lifestyle wasn’t very accepted – so unlike today’s society where people are almost expected at be selfish and go ‘find themselves’.  

Please, feel free to add your thoughts and/or contest my ideas. Such a difficult, multi-layered story to discuss in such a short post. I hope you all took something away from the sad but buoyant tragedy that is Holly Golightly.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Welcome to Pelicans and Penguins!

We'll inaugurate the read-along with Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote.  The novella explores the full range of human sexuality, drug addiction, child abuse, and the many kinds of unrequited love without offering a neat ending.  Capote's Breakfast at Tiffany's breathes and lives.  His Holly hides behind her ability to scandalize people around her, yet Capote himself doesn't seek to shock us.

Discussion for this book closes on the 2nd of February, when we'll pick another title and begin posting on the new book.  I hope this format will allow for flexibility and foster varied discussion.  Feel free to quote a passage that stood out to you, or an idea that popped into your mind as you read, or even a simple summary of the book.

The point of the read-along is to gain a more colorful understanding of the mid-century era and to encourage each other to read good books.

Posts may be as serious or silly as the author prefers.  Please remember that while criticism, sarcasm and disagreements are appreciated, personal attacks will not be tolerated.

Posts should be under 300 words, with a minimum of images.  Or no images.  

Please tag your posts with your name and the book title.

E-mail me: bellelass(at)yahoo(dot)com to be added as a blog author or leave a comment with your e-mail address.

Potential titles for the future:

Grapes of Wrath
Great Gatsby
Animal Farm
Atlas Shrugged
Brideshead Revisited
The Big Sleep
Goodbye, Berlin
Casino Royale
Catcher in the Rye
Lady Chatterley's Lover

Open to suggestions, of course!  The more authors, the merrier.