It’s time for me to convince you to read The Shipping News by Annie Proulx. And that’s a little . . . weird this time since I’m thinking many of you have already read it. After all, the book was published 30 years ago.
So, let’s take a look back at what was happening in the world in 1993 . . .
Bill Clinton was inaugurated as the 42nd POTUS
Nelson Mandela was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize
A 7.8 magnitude earthquake in Japan lead to a devastating tsunami
Beanie Babies were introduced in the US
Popular movies included Jurassic Park, Mrs. Doubtfire Schindler’s List, and Sleepless in Seattle
The movie Gettysburg was also released . . . a significant event for my household but probably not many others
The New England Patriots had the worst record in the NFL, The Dallas Cowboys won the Super Bowl
River Phoenix died
The “Got Milk?” campaign was introduced
Dianne Feinstein and Barbara Boxer were elected as the first women to serve in the U.S. Senate
Billboard’s hot single was Whitney Houston’s I Will Always Love You
60 Minutes and Home Improvement were the most popular television shows
Also of note, I was 27 years old in 1993. I was a new mom, a full time Library Director, and a part time graduate student.
All of which is to say that I was a very different person and the world was a very different place.
So even though I read The Shipping News and adored it, I believe that reading it now will be a different experience because I have changed. And the world has changed. The books that we choose to re-read may contain the same words, but the way those words impact us, the way the characters feel to us, the way we identify with the story, can be an utter game changer.
And that’s why I’m so excited to be reading this again. Along with Bonny and Kym. And hopefully you, too.
Our Zoom discussion is set for Tuesday, March 21st, mark your calendars accordingly.
I’m anxious to see how I feel about Quoyle this time around!
To me, the best thing about re-reading a beloved book after a significant chunk of time has passed . . . is seeing whether the book actually passes “the test of time.” Meaning . . . do I still like it as much as I did the first time I read it? I’m hoping The Shipping News falls into the “yes” category here. It’ll be interesting to find out! Thanks for the look-back, Carole. (Time really does fly, doesn’t it?)
I remember reading the book (likely several years after it came out) but don’t remember much about it; I was likely in high school or college at the time. So I’m really looking forward to rereading it, and I have a feeling I will appreciate it more now that I’m older — and of course because I know we’ll have a great discussion about it!
I am in the midst of listening to it now (the first time I read it with my eyes) When this book was released I was in the “no time to read” phase of my life. Three active kids, full time job, juggling all.the.balls. So I read Shipping News for the first time in 2018 (and I did not write a review!) I don’t remember much of it, but I am enjoying it… the way that Proulx uses words is delightful. And Quoyle is a curious character! I think this is a very discussable book and I am very much looking forward it it!
Thanks for this reminder. I know I read it (can’t believe it came out 30 years ago!!) and liked it a lot, but I honestly don’t remember it. I’m not one to re-read books, but I will definitely re-read this one.
Very interested in this as I satarted it a few years ago and it didn’t grab me. (The same feeling I had with Ignatius J Reilly…am I close on the character comparison here?) Looking forward to giving it another shot!