I coming in just under the wire this year, this challenge must be completed today!! The Essay Challenge over at Books and Movies is the only one I joined this year, even so, I didn’t keep up with it the way I have the past two years. Not that I haven’t read essays all year long, I just haven’t kept track or written about them. Here I am an hour before the challenge ends trying to figure out what I read this year!
Most of my essay reading, in fact these days almost all of my reading, was art based. My favorite art essay collection was in The Steins Collect catalogue for the SFMOMA. Combined the essays gave a picture of the family and their experience with and impact on modern art. The collection was organized by family member: Leo Stein, Sarah and Michael Stein, and the most famous of all, Gertrude Stein. By happenstance, I was reading the collection when Woody Allen released “Midnight in Paris.” The essays provided a scholarship background to many of the Owen Wilson Paris scenes. I read 10 essays in this collection.
In response to an photography exhibit at the Getty Center about trees, I read an extended essay called The Tree by John Fowles. I wrote about it for Earth Day earlier this year. Whew! At least I wrote about one essay!
Although I read it and listed it for last year’s collection, once again I read “Here is New York” by E.B. White while sitting in a cafe in New York City. It is an essay worth reading every time I go to New York City, it adds a dimension to the visit that doesn’t diminish upon re-reading.
In preparation for the de Kooning exhibit at MOMA, I read two Clement Greenberg essays that discussed this artist: ”‘American Type’ Painting” and “The Late Thirties in New York.” Plus, the dense and long introductory essay in the exhibit catalogue “Space to Paint” by John Elderfield.
Last, but not least, is my companion in the car, the Mark Slouka collection Essays from the Nick of Time. Through carpools and quick lunches this book kept me company. I have notes and comments throughout each essay, I’ve loved them. I’ve read “Hitler’s Couch,” “Arrow and Wound,” “Listening for Silence,” and “Historical Vertigo.” Actually, I’ve read “Arrow and Wound” twice and will probably read it again tonight now that I’m thinking about it. This is a stellar collection.
That’s it for this year, 19 in total that I can document although I’m certain I read far more. Next year I’m going to be do better!! If nothing else, maybe I should buy fewer essays and read more of them.