The Friends of the Georgetown Public Library’s Hill Country Authors Series:The Hill Country Authors Series will feature Air National Guard major MJ Hegar on at the library. She is author of Shoot Like a Girl and we will be discussing her novel at the event. Please help us publicize this fund raising event and plan to join us at the Georgetown Public Library, 402 W 8th St. The doors will open at for a delicious dessert from the Red Poppy Cafe, with the talk beginning at Tickets will be available for $15 beginning at Second-Hand Prose bookstore on the second floor of the library and online at www.folgeorgetown.org/calen
Thursday, September 23, 2010
Keep Talkin' Happy Talk
This book didn't have the feel of a first novel, but it was Michener's first and, as Patty told us, probably his most important novel, because it bought him the opportunity to be a writer for the rest of his life. Although James Michener was a Quaker and thus was not obligated to fight the war, Michener enlisted because he wanted to fight against Hitler. He landed in the South Pacific islands as a Naval Supply Officer. He worked during the days and at night typed notes about his days, his colleagues, and adventures real and maybe imaginary. Tales of the South Pacific was published in 1946. A fortuitous effort by Richard Rogers, Oscar Hammerstein, and Producer Leland Howard brought the play, South Pacific, to Broadway in 1949. Michener decided not to be greedy when he was offered a lump sum for the rights to his book, and he asked instead for a mere 1% of the profits. The play was made into a movie by director Josh Logan in 1958. Michener's 1% made him rich enough to quit his day job and dedicate as much time as he wanted to his writing.
Patty summarized some interesting aspects of Michener's memoir, The World Is My Home. She said if she had known about this interesting memoir before nominating, she would have chosen it instead of the Tales!
Jay told us that as a child Michener had a collection of postcards depicting many famous works of art, which led to his collection of postage stamps from around the world, and his lifelong love of art, starting with his collection of Japanese prints, and culminating with his donation of many 20th century works to what is now known as the Blanton Museum of Art at the University of Texas.
Patty asked us, "Was Tales of the South Pacific a novel, a book of short stories, or a travelogue?" I liked the answer Carla provided: all of the above!
Someone noticed a similarity between this book and the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society: the beauty of these faraway lands at war was appreciated by the soldiers who were stationed there.
There was a mixture of opinions about James Michener's books in general. Those of us who have read many of his books seemed to agree that some books were a lot better than others. There were complaints that Michener wrote too many words, too much detail, and too many ideas. But no one said they didn't enjoy reading Michener's first novel.