May 14, 2007

About Oranges in 1967

On my reading list for this fall is a book entitled, Oranges by John McPhee. The syllabus says "an excerpt", but I requested the entire book from the library, so I'm reading all of it, and loving it.

Though my mind sometimes gets boggled by the word "orange" written over 30 times on one page, I am compelled by the fruit these days.

Much of the book was printed in The New Yorker, but since I haven't read the the archives of that beloved publication this was all, strangely, new--old material.

I suppose, while reading, that my professor will ask the class to pull stylistic elements of the piece, rather than just content. And, in the stylistic realm, I was a bit overwhelmed by the first chapter, as the author intended.

Oranges, McPhee seems to say, are not simple fruits that just show up in the grocery store; they should not be imitated or concentrated; they should be revered and protected all around the world as a food resource, political and social force and, surprisingly enough, a cleaning agent.

Of course, I am paraphrasing, but McPhee's statements range similarly in one paragraph. It's all too much to take in, and then I finally reached the first chapter's end.

I've started the second chapter and it seems a bit more cohesive, but the chapter's title, "Orange Men" doesn't really fit yet. Perhaps as I read, the orange men will emerge and I will find the link. The author begins with an anecdote about his undergrad life. Maybe he is saying that his is, and always will be, an "orange man" himself. The piece seems to find itself as it goes along, rather than be itself from the very beginning. I'm sure that is some kind of fancy schmancy journalistic term that I learned and have forgotten or will learn and then forget, but I like it, nevertheless. That's the kind of technique I want to work on: long form journalism with undercurrents of exploration for the reader through the writer's guiding hand.

Oranges has me guessing. I never would have thought that a fruit could be such enriching material.

Pardon...that was awful, wasn't it? ;)

Posted by Amanda Cochran at May 14, 2007 8:38 PM | TrackBack

The book sounds appealing. But for now, it's back to the old rind.

Posted by: Dennis G. Jerz at May 15, 2007 9:00 PM

Wow. :D

Posted by: Amanda at May 15, 2007 9:34 PM

Read A Clockwork Orange, it is wonderful. Of course, it isn't about oranges, but what book is about it's title?

I do believe this comment is a couple months short.

Posted by: J. at July 24, 2007 11:51 PM

Pretty interesting but what about the link...?

Posted by: Alex at September 18, 2007 9:46 PM

Why don't you opt for something enticing??

Posted by: Angella at December 5, 2007 12:30 AM
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