On the Southern Literary Trail discussion

55 views
Group Reads: Pre-1980 > The Ponder Heart: Initial Impressions-July 2013

Comments Showing 1-37 of 37 (37 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Here's the discussion topic to begin recording your initial impressions. Please hide spoilers.


message 2: by Franky (last edited Jul 05, 2013 03:29PM) (new)

Franky | 314 comments I really liked Edna Earle's narrative voice. She adds the right amount of Southern tone to this book, and gives it a nice comical touch.

Wow, what a job keeping up with Uncle Daniel. Such a generous guy. I really enjoyed the courtroom antics too, and Edna's play by play of the proceedings and the two families. Nice touch.


message 3: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
I loved Edna Earle. She sounds just like some older women I grew up with, aunts and cousins. Underneath her words were some poignant things alluded to, but unspoken. All through this novelette, I was thinking what a shame that people like Uncle Daniel are no longer tolerated or taken care of by relatives. But the humor on every page shines through.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments It was a light read, but made me laugh. I felt like I recognized some people in the pages!


message 5: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
The copy I bought from Abebooks also contained the novel, "Delta Wedding" and I am enjoying that very much. "Ponder Heart" was a wonderful read, but left me wanting more Eudora Welty.


message 6: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Diane wrote: "The copy I bought from Abebooks also contained the novel, "Delta Wedding" and I am enjoying that very much. "Ponder Heart" was a wonderful read, but left me wanting more Eudora Welty."

Have you read her short stories Diane? They are great.


message 7: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
I have a book of her short stories, a very old copy of "Selected Short Stories of Eudora Welty" that I found at a used book sale. I'll get around to them, maybe sooner than later.


message 8: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (last edited Jul 12, 2013 03:40PM) (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Can't get enough Eudora Welty? The Library of America has done a wonderful job publishing the following two volumes: Complete Novels: The Robber Bridegroom, Delta Wedding, The Ponder Heart, Losing Battles, The Optimist's Daughter and Stories, Essays, and Memoirs. You have the essential Welty library in two beautiful volumes.

My favorite Welty novel is Losing Battles

Mike S.
Lawyer Stevens


message 9: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Diane wrote: "I have a book of her short stories, a very old copy of "Selected Short Stories of Eudora Welty" that I found at a used book sale. I'll get around to them, maybe sooner than later."

I read The Collected Stories of Eudora Welty last year with some GR friends and it was a great experience.


message 10: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Finally started The Ponder Heart (which I have in a copy with Delta Wedding too). Love Edna Earle's narration and the incidents so far. Welty has a gift for characterization and dialog.

I'd also suggest One Writer's Beginnings which is inspiring, often funny, a great, small memoir.


message 11: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
I read "One Writer's Beginnings" a few years ago and loved it. I should do a reread. Wouldn't it be wonderful if a heaven existed for us bookaholics where we could spend eternity rereading all our favorite books?


message 12: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments lol :) That's a lovely vision.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments I made a cake from this book, I'll post it soon.


message 14: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
Jenny, don't forget to post a picture. I' m trying to imagine this cake!


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments Well it is like depression era so it is more about thrift than impressiveness, but I did take a photo. There was a lot of food mentioned in this short book!


message 16: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
Maybe that's one of the reasons I enjoyed it so much.


message 17: by Thing Two (new)

Thing Two (thingtwo) | 82 comments I just finished my copy and really enjoyed being taken back to the 50s -- and earlier -- but my favorite part has to be the dedication to William Maxwell.


message 18: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Thing Two wrote: "I just finished my copy and really enjoyed being taken back to the 50s -- and earlier -- but my favorite part has to be the dedication to William Maxwell."

Someday I'm hoping to read her book of letters.


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments I baked a Never Fail Devils Food Cake that Welty mentions in the pages.

I think I should also make the "fudge that anybody can make." (THAT statement made me laugh, what a judgmental thing!)


message 20: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Jenny wrote: "I baked a Never Fail Devils Food Cake that Welty mentions in the pages.

I think I should also make the "fudge that anybody can make." (THAT statement made me laugh, what a judgmental thing!)"


I used to make cooked fudge (cook to the stage where you make a ball form of just the right texture, not to soft or too hard) and everyone would exclaim that that was too difficult --- they made the kind that you just had to put in the refrigerator to harden up! So that comment I really could relate to from personal history.

How did the cake come out?


Jenny (Reading Envy) (readingenvy) | 178 comments Sue wrote: "Jenny wrote: "I baked a Never Fail Devils Food Cake that Welty mentions in the pages.

I think I should also make the "fudge that anybody can make." (THAT statement made me laugh, what a judgmenta..."


Me too Sue. I prefer my Grandma's recipe that relies on sugar stage and is easy to ruin but everyone else I know makes the fantasy fudge kind.

The cake was fine, not great. It would have been better with frosting but I just had whipped cream.


message 22: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl Sue wrote: "Diane wrote: "I have a book of her short stories, a very old copy of "Selected Short Stories of Eudora Welty" that I found at a used book sale. I'll get around to them, maybe sooner than later."

..."


One Writer's beginnings was a good one. I'm now reading her collected stories.


message 23: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Cheryl, I completely agree about One Writer's Beginnings. I enjoyed that.


message 24: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments I forgot to post when I finished---love this story. So much fun to read. I'm going to read Delta Wedding too, in fact I've already started it and the writing is wonderful, of the type that makes me stop and reread passages every few pages.


message 25: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
I, too, went right into reading "Delta Wedding" and loved it.


message 26: by Beverly (last edited Jul 20, 2013 11:57AM) (new)

Beverly | 190 comments Oh my! This book was just full of eccentric characters, but that is what made this book so much fun to read. This was my first book by Welty but I plan to read more.


message 27: by Marty (new)

Marty Elrod (martyelrod) | 22 comments I dont know why but I could not read this book. Maybe I can pick it up again later.


message 28: by Scott (new)

Scott | 2 comments I had a lot of trouble reading it as well. It took me longer to read this book than the other book for this month. I like the fact that the book was told from Edna's perspective on everything it was interesting to read a book told like someone was telling me a story but I also think that was why it was hard to read because I found her conversation to be annoying. If I were to meet such a person in real life I am sure I would ignore most of what she said as she just rambles on which is probably why I already don't remember most of this book. :)


message 29: by Franky (new)

Franky | 314 comments Scott, I do agree Edna tends to ramble. I think it is all a part of her persona. It took me a little bit to get into the read. I liked the court proceedings, although they did strain believability. But, then again, so did the entire book. :)


message 30: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments Franky wrote: "Scott, I do agree Edna tends to ramble. I think it is all a part of her persona. It took me a little bit to get into the read. I liked the court proceedings, although they did strain believability...."

Definitely. The whole story was outrageous which is why I enjoyed it.


message 31: by Diane, "Miss Scarlett" (new)

Diane Barnes | 3865 comments Mod
Here in the south, we all tend to ramble a bit. I suppose it can be confusing if you're not used to it. I found the story hilarious BECAUSE it was so familiar, not unbelievable at all.


message 32: by John (new)

John | 533 comments I considered it a waste of my time. even though I did finish it. That's 2 strike outs for Welty. Maybe just one more chance. So many ppl like her. I must be missing something


message 33: by Laura, "The Tall Woman" (new)

Laura | 1926 comments Mod
I thought it was just ok. It felt like one, big run on sentence with a narrator gasping for a breathe. I didn't even find the humor.


message 34: by Josh (new)

Josh | 185 comments I guess I was one of the few who liked this little book. Edna Earl perspective while admittedly tiresome to read left me in a position to question whether what I was learning about the other characters (uncle, wife 1, wife 2) was legit or just her take on them. No doubt Uncle Daniel was an interesting character, but was he as "different" as she thinks he was? My thoughts were he was more normal than she presented him because everyone seemed to like him. He obviously had quirks but I think most everyone saw him as more jovial and in step than she saw him.


message 35: by Sue (new)

Sue | 654 comments I didn't really look on this a a realistic story but more of a tall tale built on a whimsical reality. A group of eccentrics--or perhaps more correctly a family of eccentrics led by Edna Earl and Uncle Daniel. (I almost went into spoilers here but I'll leave it at that.)


message 36: by FrankH (new)

FrankH | 49 comments Sue wrote: "I didn't really look on this a a realistic story but more of a tall tale built on a whimsical reality. A group of eccentrics--or perhaps more correctly a family of eccentrics led by Edna Earl and U..."

Yes, I agree. Part of the delight in hearing or reading the story is understanding it all comes from a storytelling tradition which in turn is part of the make-up of the family and the community.

Question for Mike: For the monthly reading selections does it make sense to start the discussions with two threads -- one spoiler, one non-spoiler? The 'Initial Impressions' thread can function to encourage participation, but in my opinion, avoiding the spoilers often limits the depth of the discussion once the reading assignment is completed. Also, some of us like to cite the text to help convey our feelings or insights about a book, but since this can take us into spoiler territory, we often either post something that's vague or ambiguous or drop the post altogether.

I'm new to the group, so perhaps the protocol is for the club members themselves to open the spoiler thread -- when they are ready.

Here are my thoughts on Edna Earle:

http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/...


message 37: by Lawyer, "Moderator Emeritus" (new)

Lawyer (goodreadscommm_sullivan) | 2699 comments Mod
Frank you're abslutely right. I'll remedy that when I'm not on a bumpy SC road.

Mike S.


back to top