It’s still not cool to like Tarkington… but I’m very happy that adaptations of Beasley are opening up a new audience for Tarkington after a century has passed. And Collins is perfectly right: Beasley’s Christmas Party perfectly captures the simple joy of the season, in the same way that Tiny Tim was a crucial element of A Christmas Carol.
“Colonel Thomas C. Bean first wandered into this story during a research phase to verify Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist Booth Tarkington had actually written the epitaph on Harry Peyton Steger’s gravesite in Willow Wild Cemetery in Bonham. Sure enough, Tarkington’s words were there, etched in stone. But another phrase on a nearby stone also caught my eye that day. It said, ‘Born in Washington City, D.C., died in Bonham, Texas on July 24, 1887. Aged about 70 years.’” If that’s ain’t a hook, I don’t know what is.
The promotional copy for Indiana author Ray Boomhower’s Fighting for Equality reads thus: “Famed Indiana author Booth Tarkington once took on the task of naming three of Indianapolis’s most outstanding citizens. Two of the three he named—former president Benjamin Harrison and legendary poet James Whitcomb Riley—were well-known people. The third, however, was someone whose memorable accomplishments have become lost to history…”
The advent of eBooks has made Tarkington’s public domain works much more readily accessible… and readable. One website devoted to eBooks, “Read Kindle Books for Free,” has a very nice, insightful, concise review of a Kindle Book version of The Guest of Quesnay. “Dave_42″ has obviously read a good deal of Tarkington and done a little bit of homework about the author, too.