sunday salon || A Resurgence of Richard Yates

On 01 November 2009, I put up a rambling post of my impression of Richard Yates’s Revolutionary Road. The post itself ended quite abruptly, no doubt a result of posting it too soon after such an earth’s-axis-bumping read. I don’t think it did the book justice, it didn’t properly express how rattled I felt after that book. I’m sure I made it seem like I hated Richard Yates, and his so-called misogyny—a comment from a reader confirmed this. Never mind that I felt as though Revolutionary Road was the start of something new, something jarring, something so significant I couldn’t possibly know how to say so back then (note that, months later, I couldn’t fully appreciate Tom Perrotta’s Little Children, because it wasn’t Revolutionary Road.)

But even aware of all that, I posted it—I suppose I just wanted to say something. I promised I would follow up on that, but I’m only doing this now (and even this post has to be brief—introductory at best. I promise to have my “real” thoughts on the book follow soon).

This return to Yates has been the result of two major things: 1)I just can’t get it out of my head. And 2) I’ve been compelled, of course, by posts from Teresa of Shelf Love, and Rachel of Book Snob. I am thrilled for this resurgence of Yates lovers—hell, I’m thrilled that people are aware of Yates, know of him, read him.

Late last year, I put up a Richard Yates Reading Challenge [see inset for a sample button (I even made three kinds!)]—basically just a year-long challenge to read one Richard Yates book a month, and talk about these reads—but it didn’t go over so well. Maybe it was poor advertising, maybe it wasn’t Richard Yates’ time yet. Maybe I wasn’t the right person to introduce Yates? Let’s be blunt here: I am a new blogger, one who still has to learn how to be comfortable reading in front of an internetful of people who have an internetful of other places to go to.

But never mind that. Reading all the posts on Yates—and beyond Revolutionary Road too!—isn’t that the point of challenges like these in the first place? To open new horizons? To get people to read this? [Ignore me if it seemed like I was bitter, harhar.] It makes me giddy, though, seeing all this Yates-reading. It’s fantastic. I have loved the man ever since I read that novel of his, and I went on loving him through his short stories. The more people who read him, the better. And it might not be under the heading of failed venture on my part, but that means diddly on the larger scale.

I recognize though, my own problems with this. One is, well, resources. As much as I would like to devour Yates, he’s not the easiest author to come across here in this country. The university library only has RR and a book of his short stories, and I suppose I should be happy with that, but of course I’m not. I have one other novel of his, Young Hearts Crying—and it was freaking expensive so it doesn’t seem like I’ll have another Yates coming way soon. I’ve scoured old bookstores and discount sites, nada. Either no one seems to have heard of Yates, or no one wants to let him go.

[Note: If you are one of those blessed creatures who would like to let Yates go, let him go in my direction. Email me! Please! See my exclamation points!]

Well. That’s it for now. Rambing, rambling, rambling.

*

Richard Yates book I have blabbed about here:

  • Revolutionary Road. (That ill-written post and I swear I will follow this up with the rest of 4.5 Moleskine pages soon. Also, the only Yates book I own.)
  • Eleven Kinds of Loneliness. (A short story collection that took my breath away. Borrowed from the library.)
  • Liars in Love. (Another short story collection, and this one just knocked me senseless. Borrowed from the library.)
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8 comments

  1. Darn I saw a Yates book at Booksale last month and remembered you! I was supposed to text you (which is what I do when I see books my friends might like) but I don’t have your number, then I think I forgot to leave you a message here, unfortunately :(

    1. GAH DARN IT. Hahaha, that broke my heart a little. :p

  2. Your obsession with Revolutionary Road has me seriously considering it. Like, breaking my book buying ban and reading it. Immediately.

    1. Goodness, I am obsessed with Revolutionary Road, aren’t I? Richard Yates too. :p

      And I’m tempted to say, “Don’t break that ban because you might not like the book and you might not like me anymore.” But I won’t say that, because it is creeptastic. Hah!

  3. LOL I loved your idea for a Yates challenge, except… 1 A MONTH?! Man, that’s a lot! I’m lucky if I get two books read in such a time period. So that’s why I didn’t jump in ;)

    1. I guess it’s because I read fast? Haha, I didn’t realize I had an “off” standard. :[ Oh well! ;p

  4. PS “Man,” should really be “Grrl,” of course but it was just figure of speach ;)

  5. Am sorry! Will promise to remember to message you next time :)

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