Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone, by Tennesee Williams

This was a Bookcrossing book I picked up at Greenway recently. Of course we have all heard of Tennessee Williams famous plays (Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, A Streetcar Named Desire, , The Glass Menagerie, among others) but I personally was not familiar at all with his fiction.

This novel acquaints us with Mrs. Stone, a formerly famous stage actress who has moved to Rome to try to find some meaning in her days as a newly widowed, unemployed but very wealthy woman. She falls prey to various Roman vultures who are looking to get a share of her fortune by providing her with company and friendship. And while she is well aware of their intention, for some reason, she goes along with the scam, up until the end, that is, when she has a sudden change of heart, which Williams refers to as the "drift".

With only 117 pages, this book was a good, quick read, thought provoking and sad. I found some parallels to people's empty lives today, working so hard to achieve success and then finding at the end of the ride complete emptiness. I think the message of Mrs. Stone's life is to build meaning and introspection into our lives early on, or there will be no substance left when all our worldly pursuits fade away.

I'll be releasing this book back into the "wild" here in Leuven, unless there is someone who would like for me to pass it along to them to read (what the Bookcrossing website calls a "controlled release"!)

Monday, January 19, 2009

A Free Book

Scott Blum, one of the founders of one of my favorite websites, The Daily OM, will be publishing two books in 2009, and is offering the first one, Summer's Path, free at his website:

I downloaded it and just finished reading it. It is an intriguing exploration of what happens to us when we are about to die, when we are faced with a debilitating illness, where our souls reside, etc. all told as a parable which reminded me of The Shack in many ways. It follows Don, who has incurable cancer, and his struggle to decided what to do as he faces mounting medical bills and his worries about the burden he will leave behind for his wife. He finds assistance from an unexpected source, and the way he decides to handle his situation will surprise you. It certainly makes you think.