Who is the Narrator of Our Lives?: William Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying

5 Dec

Narration is a big thing not only in books, but also in life. Our actions are ways to which we narrate and navigate our way through our story. But what about inaction and silence? Aren’t those a form of narration as well?

Narration is not only used as a tool within the novel to develop the plot, as well as each separate narrator, but it also exposes the true narrator through the concealment that words put on language. Addie Bundren’s presence in As I Lay Dying, or lack thereof, seems to distract the reader from discovering her side of the story. The irony of the words in the title is though it is in first person narrative, we almost never hear from her point of view. But let me not give out too many spoilers.

The irony of this novel being about a woman who is “dying” but told by those around her who are “alive” is the exact distinction that calls to question the very narration that we are given within the title. As I Lay Dying – first person narrative – seems to reveal a secret hidden within the narrative. This secret would appear to be a story from the perspective of someone who is dying – as per the title – but, in fact, we are almost never introduced to this true first person narrator.

This intrigued me.

One thing to note is that I – the reader – often fall in love with the ironic. Recent blogs I have written were about novels – such as Pamuk’s My Name is Red – allude to this sense of irony within and surrounding that novel, the irony of title’s foreshadowing, and multiple narrators with their own story that still hold the same meaning – rather than different “sides to the story.” It’s ironic, and it’s beautiful to me.

I love this book because it sheds light not only on the fact that the title is strictly about what’s going on as she lays dying, but it also follows this remarkable truth of how what’s going on around us narrates just as much as we do in our own story. As she lays dying is calling to the beauty that even though the title is clearly in first person – which should mean that it’s about her perspective – it’s not. Her perspective is that of what’s around her. It’s what’s happening as she lays dying that’s important, that’s narrating her story.

And isn’t that how it seems – life?

Aren’t we all just lying there as the world just continues to go round, as our story continues on without us, but in reality with us still there?

You can borrow As I Lay Dying in print, as an ebook from eBCCLS or eLibraryNJ, a digital audiobook, and view a movie adaptation on DVD.

Written By:
Sherissa Hernandez
Adult Programming Assistant

Bake Offs: Tasty Books and Prize Winning Recipes for You to Try at Home

28 Nov

My son and I love to bake together; the weekend I wrote this post we made cookies for a class party.  But one thing we love almost as much as baking itself is to watch baking competitions together on TV.  Here are a few suggestions that you might enjoy if you too love the sweet taste of victory.

Great British Baking Show

I was curious to first checkout the Great British Baking Show because I was a fan of one of the hosts, Sue Perkins from the funny historical foodie show Supersizers Go…  I found this show just as delightful with contestants who are sweetly kind to one another rather than being cut throat like many reality competitions. They compete in three rounds: the first, a signature bake puts their unique spin on a classic, the second round where they must recreate one of the judge’s tricky bakes with minimal instructions, and a final show stopper round where the baked good frequently almost look too beautiful to eat. Even when disaster occurs and a contestant has a dreaded “soggy bottom” on one of their tarts the judges always have at least a kind word or two for the bakers. You’ll be rooting for your favorite baker and wishing you could taste the delicious looking treats they prepare.  Besides two of the seasons, Hoopla also has available Master Classes with Judges Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood who show you how to make their special treats.

Plus you can get the behind the scenes scoop with The Story Of The Great British Bake Off by Anita Singh.  You can borrow seasons 1-5 on DVD and try out the recipes yourselves with The Great British Bake Off: Big Book of Baking and The Great British Bake Off: Perfect Cakes and Bakes to Make at Home by Linda Collister from BCCLS libraries.  Learn more about judge, Paul Hollywood, in his memoir/cookbook A Baker’s Life: From Childhood Bakes to Five-Star Excellence.

The Pillsbury Best of the Bake-Off Series


Image from Hoopla

The Great British Baking Show is titled The Great British Bake Off in the UK, but changed its name because of Pillsbury’s copyright on the phrase in the US .  The Bake Off sponsored by Pillsbury is one of the most legendary in this country.  You can borrow a variety of cook books from Hoopla divided into different dishes including one on desserts which covers yummy goodies from over 50 years of competition from 1957’s now classic French Silk Chocolate Pie to more modern winners.  The book also looks back at the history of the competition and how desserts have evolved.  Each recipe includes the contestant’s name, home town, and year they competed.  You can also borrow bake off books on casseroles and specifically on making my family’s favorites: cookies and bars.

The Bake-Off
by Beth Kendrick
bake off
The Bake-Off by Beth Kendrick use a national bake-off as the setting that brings together two very different estranged sisters. Their grandmother thinks a top-secret family pie recipe will not just have them winning the competition but also find common ground. Of course, neither one is a baker, and if you’ve ever tried to bake one you might be questioning the phrase “easy as pie.”

If you are a fan of foodie fiction you can also check out All’s Fair in Love and Cupcakes by Betsy St. Amant where aspiring baker Kat’s best friend Lucas Brannen signs her up for TV baking competition called Cupcake Combat; it seems like Kat may achieve her dreams, but Lucas is afraid he might lose Kat to the big city.

Written by:
Aimee Harris
Head of Reference

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