Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Continuing Quindlen

Reading about Justice Harry Blackmun's overall impact on Roe v. Wade in Becoming Justice Blackmun: Harry Blackmun's Supreme Court Journey by Linda Greenhouse, a sentence in the first paragraph of Chapter 9, "Improbable Icon", struck me with a reminder:

"On Harry Blackmun's improbably journey, becoming a feminist icon was perhaps the most improbable destination of all."

Once again, reading one book led me to think about another author, being that Anna Quindlen, in her collection of columns entitled Thinking Out Loud, had written a touching tribute to Blackmun upon his retirement from the Supreme Court. Quindlen, a feminist, thanked Blackmun for all that he had done for women with that one opinion. And just then, I thought about how Quindlen matched the kind of writer I like to be, with it being ok to have a big heart, following your convictions with firm certainity while agreeably learning about all that's going on around you, open to other opinions.

After I finished reading Thinking Out Loud a week ago, I went to Amazon and spotted an interesting-looking cover for Quindlen's novel, Every Last One, two red flowers next to a framed photo of what looks like a woman in a willowy white slip. I read only the first page of the provided sample, and went to abebooks.com and ordered it. I didn't need to know what it's about. I wanted to see what Quindlen is like as a novelist.

I'm still waiting for Every Last One to arrive, and I may also partake of Quindlen's other novels, but now I also want to read Living Out Loud and Loud and Clear, two other collections of Quindlen's columns. And though I read How Reading Changed My Life in January of last year, I feel like I read it without really knowing who Quindlen was. I want to try again.

Before starting Thinking Out Loud, I read all of Celia Rivenbark's books from the end of September (Bless Your Heart, Tramp and We're Just Like You, Only Prettier), through four days toward the middle of this month (Stop Dressing Your Six-Year-Old Like a Skank, Belle Weather, You Can't Drink All Day If You Don't Start in the Morning, and You Don't Sweat Much for a Fat Girl). I liked her very funny observations, but thinking about those books, I don't remember an overall great deal of them beyond the life which I also lived in part as a resident of South and then Central and then South Florida again.

But I feel a kinship with Quindlen, observing everyday life, always wondering, always appreciative of the days given to live, with a big heart to match. I want to see what else she offers in her other columns, and now's the time.


  1. Every Last One is extremely well written, but it's a heart breaker. Her novels generally are.


  2. Noted and anticipated. I'm hoping that what I find wonderful in her columns carries over to her novels.