Been a while since I blogged. That is because I was tied up. Tied up with family and work. The family part made me get behind in the work part. And the work part was a very detailed illustration job--the latest Bones book by David Adler. Don't get me wrong. I LOVED doing this book. I love doing all his books. But THIS one was very detailed and full of lots of things and people.
One thing I have managed to sneak in is my reading, so I thought I would share some of my thoughts about the wonderful books I have read lately. Click on the thumbnails for easier reading of the book covers.
To start with, the last book I mentioned was American Eve: Evelyn Nesbit, Stanford White: The Birth of the "It" Girl and the Crime of the Century by Paula Uruburu. This was a wonderfully told story of Evelyn Nesbit, her life and times, and her affair with Stanford White. Get it and read it. Not sure? To whet your appetite, check out book related postings over at YouTube. First there is a great podcast of an interview of the author by Bob Edwards, in three parts. Here is the first part. Then there are some nice book trailers to music that will entice you even more, like this one, this one, this one, and this one, my favorite. All of them are a little different with with reagrd to the music chosen. but they will all make you want to read the book. Make sure to watch the videos in high quality.
Here is also another nice interview with Paula Uruburu on the Leonard Lopate Show on WNYC.
For me, the story has also started a bit of an obsession, in that I now search for Evelyn Nesbit ephemera on eBay, and if it's one thing I do NOT need, it is yet another obsession to hunt obsessively for on Ebay.
It also made me want to rewatch the movie Ragtime, based on E.L. Doctorow's novel which I read in the 80's. That movie is an extremely pleasurable experience not only for it's success as a film, but for it's music, which was wonderfully written by Randy Newman. I just bought the soundtrack and it has inspired my husband to learn to play several of the numbers from the film on the piano. Now that wonderfully evocative Randy Newman music is being played over and over again by my other half, Phil Newman. The spirit of Evelyn and the era is taking over the house and our summer in many ways, and the notes are on my mind when I wake up in the morning and the postcards and images of Evelyn from all my eBay purchases arrive regularly in the mail. Here is a link to the movie trailer. And here is a link to some of the wonderful music by Randy Newman, although it is linked with a video about Edward Hopper.
In addition, a good part of that movie is shot in our old home town, Haverstraw, NY, with the back of my husband's family's old 19th century house and garage in plain view throughout most of the Willy Conklin scenes. So what am I buying on eBay now? Yup, you betcha. Old postcards of Haverstraw, NY.
But back to books. Of course, reading one book was not enough. I then turned to The Architect of Desire: Beauty and Danger in the Stanford White Family by Suzannah Lessard, who happens to be the great Granddaughter of Stanford White. It was a haunting memoir and it gave me an added perspective to the Nesbit/White saga. And so I lost myself in that.
But for some reason I next turned to a book about contemporaries of Evelyn Nesbit, but unrelated. And that was the story of Sara nnd Gerald Murphy. Everybody Was So Young: Gerald and Sara Murphy: A Lost Generation Love Story by Amanda Vaill, is the story oft two people who happened to find themselves in France at the center of the artistic universe in the 1920's. Surrounded by people like F. Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway and his wives, Pablo Picasso, Fernand Leger, Dorthy Parker, and Archibald MacLeish, just to mention a few.
In reading about the Murphy's and their wonderful years in France surrounded by creative people of all sorts, I found myself thinking about the fleeting nature of the moment, or the era. For Evelyn Nesbit it must have been standing at the top of the tower of Madison Square Garden, under the statue of Diana, holding the hand of Stanford White looking over the rooftops of the wonderfully exciting city of New York during a golden time. For the Murphy's it was the south of France in the 20's, before life turned tragic for them.
This is not the first time this has happened to me--where I have been obsessed with a period of time and the people who lived it. Thirty years ago I first became obsessed with the turn of the last century when I read Charmed Circle: Gertrude Stein and Company by James R. Mellow, followed by several biographies of Collette--the most recent not too long ago, Secrets of the Flesh: A Life of Colette by Judith Thurman.
I don't obsess about that period of time--1900-1930--in England. Nor any other countries or even cities. Just New York and France. And I like to read almost anything I can get my hands on about the time.
Now here is something. I just now discovered that an image of none other than Ms. Evelyn Nesbit was used on the cover of a collection of stories by Colette. Which is a fitting discovery to end this post. Now there is a connection between two people who have fascinated me and who lived the time, albeit a connection made today, quite by accident. Maybe. Or maybe not by accident. I could get a little flakey about this and say it has some cosmic meaning. A sign. A sign of what, I have no idea. I have had this obsession for close to 35 years. I like to look for things like that--signs, cosmic coincidences, connections.
Gee. Maybe I need to make an appointment with Dr. Brian Weiss, to revisit my stored memories of past lives.
Well, more about his books on my next installment.....