Steve and I took Dylan and Maggie out on Father’s Day. We had dinner and went to the local Barnes and Noble to peruse the shelves. I noticed in the summer reading section that three William Faulkner volumes were enclosed in a slipcase with the title “A Summer of Faulkner” across it. Wow, I thought. That’s pretty interesting. Not many people feel up to taking on Faulkner during what is supposed to be beach book season. I didn’t really look over the slipcase, because there were some people blocking my way to it, and later I forgot as Dylan and Maggie became increasingly restless.
I also haven’t watched Oprah in, oh, forever, so I didn’t realize that she was connected with “A Summer of Faulkner.” I think it is wonderful that Oprah tackled Faulkner, but I wonder what her book club fans will think. He’s not exactly light reading. I’m reading Absalom, Absalom! right now, and it’s hard. I have to keep putting it down to clear my head, then come back. I didn’t say I didn’t like it. I do. I love Faulkner. It just taxes my brain to read him.
The reading selections for “A Summer of Faulkner” include As I Lay Dying for June, The Sound and the Fury for July, and Light in August for August. The Sound and the Fury is unquestionably a masterpiece, but it is really hard. I didn’t understand what in the hell was going on the whole time Benjy narrated. Maybe I need to re-read that one and see if that is still the case. I actually haven’t read Light in August, yet.
I think it is odd that I told my students I was going to tackle Faulkner again this summer, and wouldn’t you know so did Oprah. Okay, not that odd. A small bit of synchronicity.
Anyway, serious students of Faulkner may be helped by Oprah’s site, which includes a biographical section, a Faulkner 101 section, and sections for each book. There are even videos of professors discussing the works. I hope she leaves it up so I can use it next year when I teach Faulkner.