In the High Peaks

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Reading A Little From Lots of Books

After Gone Girl, I've started S.J. Bolton's Dead Scared. Have you read any of her novels? I'm still in the beginning chapters, but I like the premise of the crime and the setting--Cambridge University. At least I can picture the action because I have visited the area twice in my life, once at age 19 and again at 32, on our honeymoon whirlwind tour of Ireland and Britain.

Do you at times feel overwhelmed by the volume of books being published all over the globe each season? I do, I do, I do! I feel it especially because I like to read nonfiction as well as fiction, and the buzz about the (supposedly) new acclaimed books amounts to a roar!

Last night I picked up Jane Fonda's memoir, which I bought at least six years ago. I wanted to read the chapter about the classic film On Golden Pond, in which she starred with Katherine Hepburn and her father, Henry Fonda. Jane produced the film, and did everything in her power to bring the cast together despite the heart disease assailing her father and the limitations of Hepburn. But what is most illuminating are her discussions about her relationship with her father and with Hepburn. Tom Hayden, the legendary radical activist, was her husband at the time, and he was ensconced in a "camp" nearby with legions of his colleagues, much to the disdain of Hepburn, and, I suppose, her father.

On Golden Pond is a movie I revisited while I was "down and out for the count" this year. Thank goodness for the television in my bedroom during that time. I was so moved by it this time, as I reminisced about the relationship of my Aunt Ruth and Uncle Will, twelve years' my parents' senior. This film was their story, and I'm so glad they were alive to see it and declared it "their film" for all of the younger members of the family.

But I also know, from seeing Jane Fonda interviewed about this film, that the daughter character she played was as close as can be to her real-life relationship with her father.  Distant, suffering from a lack of will on both sides to improve things, a long-standing stand-off, if you will. The movie broke some of the ice for them, but not all of it. I can't imagine how Henry managed to maintain such a stolid distance and silence about Jane's considerable theatrical accomplishments. But, like many men of his generation, he found it nearly impossible to express his feelings of love toward his family.

It was Henry Fonda's last film and won all kinds of awards, including the Oscar for Best Picture, I believe.

Now I'm searching for biographies of Woody Guthrie, who is experiencing a vast revival at the moment (very popular among folkies in Edinburgh, by the way!), undoubtedly a result of the Occupy Movement and The 99 Percent vs. The Richest One Percent Movement. I'm hoping to pick up Joe Klein's, supposedly definitive 1980 Guthrie biography tomorrow, but I really want to read Ramblin' Man. It's just harder to get. And Joe Klein, the Newsweek journalist? No one will ever forget that he penned Primary Colors as "Anonymous." Yet, according to reviews over a long period of time, he did a thorough, scholarly-type bio of Guthrie. So I'll check it out.  More later!

1 comment:

  1. AS I remember it, On Golden Pond the film stays very close to On Golden Pond the play, which it is based on. It would be fun to see what Jane Fonda has to say about making it.