I have a weakness for books,

with colleges or universities as settings.

Ditto for,

all boys schools and all girl schools.

Goodbye Mr Chips, The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie,

A Separate Peace, Tea and Sympathy,

a total sucker for them.

I love teachers and academic types.

Perhaps in the heart of BB lies a dormant teacher?

We will never know:-)

So,

Stoner by John Williams,

a touching and inspiring book.

I don’t mean sappy or uplifting,

I mean touching.

William Stoner, is a Midwestern farmer’s son,

he goes to the University Of Missouri,

to study agriculture.

His father and the county agent,

think it’s a good idea,

the land isn’t what it used to be,

and perhaps these new scientific ways,

will help.

William is a dutiful son,

a quiet man,

if his father thinks he should,

he should.

William works hard on a cousin’s farm and,

 studies hard,

 soil chemistry and such.

In his second year,

something happens,

he falls in love with,

Literature.

He changes his course of study,

he is not tortured about it,

he just does it,

 he must.

He goes on to get his graduate degrees,

and becomes an assistant professor.

He marries a woman he loves,

 but,

 it is not a happy marriage,

his wife is deeply troubled.

He stays with her, she needs him.

He has a daughter who he adores.

He teaches for forty years,

without great success or fanfair.

He retires and soon after passes away.

I realise this makes it sound grim or even boring.

But, it’s not.

William, is an inspiring character.

He does nothing really out of the ordinary,

no heroics or Everest climbs,

but,

he follows his bliss.

Something we should all aspire to.

There is no rebellion or dramatics,

he just lives for his passion.

His is a quiet success,

 a personal success.

A life of the mind.

What is utterly fascinating about William,

is that on appearance,

 he is a square, conventional man.

He isn’t,

 he loves classical and medieval literature,

and spends his life exploring and teaching it.

A conventional man would have,

gotten a degree in agriculture,

returned to the family farm,

and married the neighbor’s daughter.

He has an imperfect life,

we all do,

there are glitches and jealousies and rivalries,

there is a passionate love affair that must end,

and yet he is happy,

he does what he loves.

Deeply moving and masterfully written.

NYRB Classics are right to include it in their series,

more people should read it.

Stoner is a tragic hero worthy of Willy Loman.

I don’t do it justice.

I am glad I read it.

Later girls

BB

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