STONER by John Williams

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Circling back to Winter Reading, I learned of this book from Joan Frank’s Late Work. Wondering if y’all enjoyed that read– I recall some of you picking it up, too.

This book was satisfying and a delight to read. The story moves through the life of William Stoner, a dude who grew up on a farm and then ended up professor. His parents sent him to university in Columbia, Missouri to study agriculture but he fell in love with literature and pivoted away from the family farm. He becomes a professor at the same institution and hangs there for the rest of his lifetime. Two wars take place during the novel — WWI and WWII, which gives a rich historical context to reflect upon. Fuck war. In the words of my late friend Francis, war is insanity.

W.S. gets married to a pretty rich girl from St Louis who keeps her distance emotionally from him for the entirety of their marriage. I was left wondering why she married him in the first place. They have one child, Grace, who grows into the product of a dysfunctional marriage. Much of the outcomes seem predictable as you read along.

This read is timeless– reading it today I can see so many parallels between my experiences in academia and many of the anecdotes that build the narrative.

I know many of you have already read this, so I am just catching up. Thanks for your patience šŸ˜‰

How’s Spring springin’ for y’all?

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