I am not recommending this book, because I have not read it yet, and Alice Munro stories are not everyone's taste. But I am recommending her spirit. Alice Munro has just been suggested for a major literary prize in Canada, her home country, for a book of short stories called, Too Much Happiness. She has declined to be considered because she says she has won several times and she wants younger authors to have their day in the sun...and obviously to get support from the rather generous prize.
Bravo, Alice Munro! It is a gracious gesture, and a very wise one.
When I started this blog, I made a pact with myself that I would not deal in negatives--or try to settle old scores. I hope this recounting doesn't fall into either category. But it just might and I may have to beat myself with a wet noodle. (At Victoria, "the wet noodle award" meant one had done something not-so-hot and maybe this would be an appropriate punishment for a bit of foolishness.) But Alice Munro's recent decision brought to mind the awards given by ASME--the American Society of Magazine Editors.
Victoria put in for awards--and we never won one. Fair enough. However, as a screener for several years, I became disenchanted with the repeat winners. There are wonderful magazines who deserve their awards, that's for sure. But I always thought that magazines such as The New Yorker and National Geographic were in a category by themselves. To no avail, I suggested a Hall of Fame: Magazines who had won many times could be placed there and perhaps ineligible for yearly awards for a period of time. I didn't have this plan well thought out--it was just a suggestion I thought might be considered. Of course, it wasn't. But I did try. Alice Munro brings to mind that maybe this wasn't such a bad idea after all. Other magazines, even new and young ones, do win ASME awards, but just maybe a gesture like this, like Alice Munro's, would make way for deserving entries. Enough said. And yes, I think Toshi Otsuki should have won awards for his stories on Colette, toile, and many others. (Look for installment one on Toshi soon...)
And now, Old Souls, sit down. Dame Vera Lynn, in her 90's, is the English vocalist who sang such World War II favorites as, The White Cliffs of Dover has had a re-release of an album of her memorable music called Till We Meet Again. It is a number one hit in Britain, outselling all the top rock bands. It was September 1939 when World War II began in Europe--and the Brits are remembering with the inimitable sounds of Vera Lynn. It is currently sold out on Amazon. (I'm pretty smug because I have had Vera Lynn CD's for some years.) These were songs of love of country, love of one another, and hope. Thanks, Vera Lynn, for edging out the noise even for just a little while. (Not that I'm against rock music...)
Hope you enjoyed my heartening news. Do you have some to share? As always, we'd love to hear about it. And by the way, the best award that Victoria ever received was the devoted support of its readers. You can't put that on the wall or bookshelf, but it fits nicely in the heart.