Lulamae Barnes

I was going to share a post with you yesterday, but something got in the way. It was one of those days. Truman Capote put it best in Breakfast at Tiffany’s:

“You know those days when you’ve got the mean reds? …the mean reds are horrible. You’re afraid and you sweat like hell, but you don’t know what you’re afraid of. Except something bad is going to happen, only you don’t know what it is.”

Yesterday was a mean reds kind of day. Unlike Holly Golightly, I don’t have any particular place that I go to make me feel better. So, I just rode it out.

Today is better. And you know what else? Today is World Book Day.

I didn’t actually realise today was the day until I saw a post by blueeggsandtea on Instagram. You might find that odd for a book lover, but it’s just because, for me, every day is book day.

Anyway, I thought I’d have a bit of waffle about books, in honour of their Great Day, and fittingly enough, I’d like to specifically talk about Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

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Have you read this classic? If not, do it now. You will thank me for it later.

I’ve said before what a babe Truman Capote is. His way with words is delicious and his characters are so captivating. Throughout this novella I was simultaneously falling in love with/infuriated by/utterly obsessed with Holly Golightly. She’s the kind of character you hate to love, who gets on your nerves and yet makes your soul sing. And one of the amazing things is that we all know people like that in real life, too. Capote puts a magnifying glass on the truth of life and makes you feel it so intensely that you can’t help but sit up and think “Oh yeah, that’s like so-and-so”. Genius.

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(Photo by Irving Penn, 1979)

“You can’t give your heart to a wild thing.”

And yet that’s exactly what Capote makes you do.

Have you seen the film adaptation? Yeah I thought you might have. It’s good, but it’s nowhere near as good as the book. Audrey Hepburn is her usual gorgeous, wonderful self, but she makes Holly so whimsical, so innocent, in a way that’s just not apparent in the book. Capote’s Holly knows exactly what she’s doing to the people around her; she embodies the wild thing while Audrey only plays at it. And Mickey Rooney as Mr Yunioshi? Good lord, so racist…

If I could have my way on this World Book Day I would be curled up on the sofa with an endless stream of tea, a huge box of chocolates and this glorious piece of literature. I wouldn’t get up until I’d read the whole thing in one sitting, and my life would be enriched for the experience.

Needless to say, I can’t have my way (damn work!) but if any of you could do it for me, I would be so grateful.

Until next time you beauts.

“If you let yourself love a wild thing. You’ll end up looking at the sky.”

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Literature Crush

Well hey there! I know, I know, where have I been? Well, the making hasn’t stopped, per se, it’s just not the kind I can talk about. Lots of gifts and plenty of things for work have been jumping off my needles and out of my sewing machine but I can’t show you any of them. Yet.

Instead, let’s talk about books, shall we?

For quite some time now I’ve regarded myself as a strange literature graduate and geek. There are a lot of writers and texts that I haven’t come into contact with that, considering my education and interest, I really should have. When I started university it was Chaucer and Marlowe. As an adult in charge of her own reading (I know right? What a rebel) I’m discovering it’s so much more than that.

My latest discovery is Truman Capote. Oh Truman, where have you been all my life? The recommendation for Capote came to me in a round-about way. I was trawling through a friend’s blog archives (it’s not stalking, honest) and she made a passing comment about how much she loves Capote’s work. This was right before my birthday so I thought, what the heck, and asked for his short stories as a gift. Once unwrapped, the book took up residence on my shelf and gathered dust for a while. Shinier books and good weather stole my attention. For shame.

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But then I read Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (I’m only slightly obsessed with this book) and Capote is mentioned as a background character (you’ve gotta love a bit of meta-literature!) It reminded me that the book was waiting and so when I finished Ruta’s masterpiece, I turned to Truman.

Oh Truman.

His writing is lyrical without being fussy. He evokes his era so effortlessly, you are instantly transported to 40s America. He’s honest without being brutal and he touches on things that you didn’t even realise were true until he showed you. I haven’t even finished the collection of short stories and I’m hooked, addicted, obsessed!

In the introduction to my edition, Capote is discussed in parallel to Hemingway. I’ve been a Hemingway Groupie for some time now. My dissertation was a short story in his style and so I’ve read a huge whacking proportion of his work. I love it. Yes, he’s a misogynist and I’m not condoning that. I get sick of his pathetic female characters. But by the same token, I get sick of pathetic male characters in other literature. When I want to wallow in the depressing, the dark and the gritty, I turn to Papa. But now, when I want a rosy hue to the difficult things, when I want to feel like there’s still good underneath all the crap, I have Capote.

Thanks Truman, you’re a babe.

P.S. My copy of the book has a photo of Capote on the cover. I find this a little unsettling. He has very probing eyes. A little too probing for my bedside table…