The Movie: Gone With the Wind, 1939 (Sidney Howard, screenwriter, from the novel by Margaret Mitchell; Victor Fleming, dir.)
Who says it: Vivien Leigh as Southern belle Scarlett O’Hara
The context: Scarlett makes it out of the burning siege of Atlanta only to find her own home in ruins, and the crops destroyed. Starving, she pulls a radish out of the ground and eats it, and resolves not to be beaten. This is the last line before the movie’s intermission.
How to use it: As a statement of resolve, in any context.
This is the quotation from Gone With the Wind that my father likes; he says it with some regularity.
"Do you really live in Maine?" my aunt Kit asked the other day. She was referring to the fact that I haven't spent much time at home lately. In fact, I'm leaving again today, driving south to Washington, DC, for a couple of birthday parties this weekend and a conference next week. The idea of it is a little daunting at the moment. I'm very tired. Time to make some coffee.
This quotation is actually appropriate for at least one of The Books I Read This Week.
Jørgen De May, The Action Hero Body. My friend Gary gave me this book, and I'd take it personally, except that the author is Gary's own trainer, and whatever Gary's doing works for him. I've already said I want to lose 20 pounds before Bouchercon, anyway. This book might help... De May doesn't believe in fads, and he lays out a practical, common-sense plan for reducing fat and building muscle that even I might be able to follow. You'll have to come to Chicago over Labor Day weekend to see whether it works.
Dean Sluyter, Cinema Nirvana: Enlightenment Lessons from the Movies. And this book was a gift from my friend Ann Marie (my friends seem to think that I need some self-improvement, but I know it's just because they love me). Actually, this book is brilliant -- a look at the major lessons of Buddhism through the prism of 15 movies, ranging from Snow White to The Godfather. Don't sneer; I was skeptical too, but this book is both entertaining and insightful, and I learned a good bit about Buddhism along the way.
Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, The Dance of Death. Doug Preston and Lincoln Child have been my favorite adventure-thriller writers for some time, even though -- as a friend who also likes the books recently pointed out -- they seem to have trouble with endings. This book finds their eccentric protagonist, FBI Agent Aloysius Pendergast, scrambling to foil his insane brother Diogenes' plot to kill everyone Pendergast loves, and frame Pendergast for the crimes. It's great fun, but my friend was right; the book doesn't really end as much as call a time out. Hurry up with the next installment, guys.