Monday, 12 January 2009

Monday Musings

I am having trouble settling down to reading. I had the same difficulty in England, so maybe travelling does throw me off center more than I realized. I have picked up Middlemarch again and am hoping to finish it this week.

Middlemarch update
:This story is skilfully told, with such wisdom about people's natures. I love this section where Dorothea and Will meet, as he comes to say goodbye to her: 'Something which may be called an inward silent sob had gone on in Dorothea before she said with a pure voice, just trembling in the last words as if only from its liquid flexibility -
' 'Yes, it must be right for you to do as you say. I shall be very happy when I hear that you have made your value felt. But you must have patience. It will perhaps be a long while.' '
'Will never quite knew how long it was that he saved himself from falling down at her feet, when the 'long while' came forth with its gentle tremor.
' p 446
Aren't those lines a little like pure music? Who taught Eliot to write about people like that? People's thoughts are woven into the story line, so we know what Susan Garth thinks of her husband's inability to think or even want to know anything bad about anyone he has business dealings with. And I'm finally at the part where I discover that Mr Bulstrode hides a deep dark secret, that I hope will be his undoing, but I also see why he is so Christian oriented - he thinks he is living a blameless life, but it's really to make up for how he came into his money. And we find out through a secondary character who really is a scoundrel and creepy. There is so much about life that is in Middlemarch, that it really is one of the most enjoyable novels I've read in a very long time. And people change in this book due to their actions - or don't, depending on their natures. and that makes it like real life, and so very satisfying to read.

I took The Polysyllabic Spree with me to work today. I am enjoying Nick Hornby's comments about what he reads, though I have to admit that his reading tastes are very different from mine! I like how he's not allowed to comment negatively on anything he reads, either, for the journal he was writing for at the time.

I haven't made any resolutions about what I'm going to read yet this year, other than I am determined to read 100 books this time!! I am going through my shelves, cataloguing my books so I know what I have - my computer crashed two years ago and took the list I had then, which I haven't replaced until now. Sometimes I have to look at my books, touch them, so that I can remember I have them, until I find the time to read them!! Doing the cataloguing, I am finding I am pulling books out I want to read, so I think I'll see what I come up with that I already have, and then what challenges fit what I want to read! I have some Charles de Lint to read to start catching up on my Canadian Challenge, and a science fiction book or two for Carl's Sci Fi reading experience. And then - Oh, so many books to read! I love challenges, so it's more a matter of me finding my way to different blogs and see what's happening.

It was much harder to be without a computer than I expected, when we were in England. For me, it's taken about 6 years for the computer to change completely how I communicate with people. I think I realized on this trip, how much I have come to rely on the computer. I used to be a great letter writer, and sends so many things through the mail. Now, except for birthdays and Christmas, almost everything is sent through email/via computer now. It was very difficult to not be able to look up news from back home, to not be able to check in with my son on Facebook or via email, and our friends in England too looked for us on email. Since I had planned to connect with some bloggers in England to meet with them, all my plans were thrown out when the computer was suddenly not accessible! And I couldn't email or check blogs because I didn't know next when we would get to an internet cafe! It didn't change the quality of our trip at all, except that I missed out on meeting with some of you, my Gentle readers, and I regret that very much. Sometimes the telephone is still better! I do love the computer, I know it now!! It's a great way to find out about books, too, in so many ways!!

So, just some thoughts on a Monday evening as we prepare for Day 35 without buses - yes, that transit strike I mentioned way back in mid-December before we left for England, is still on-going, and our lives are a bit in upheaval while we try to get to and from work every day. My reading time is completely changed because I don't have that hour or so on the buses each day to read. I am lucky enough to have a really good friend and co-worker who lives near, and we carpool to work, along with a mutual good friend, and another co-worker who shares in the driving. So we have fun rides into work and back - we all are fairly sarcastic people when it comes to our jobs, having been at the office long enough! The good news is, it means I can't really get around the city outside work, so my evenings and weekends are freer for reading! At least the children's school buses aren't affected, although the teachers may go on strke in March.....

Happy reading on this quiet Monday night, everyone!


DesLily said...

you are so right about how we communicate via the computer now.. but I do remember going thru a roll (100) stamps a month.. so that helps shave the cost of high speed for the computer since stamps keep going up and up.

Since your computer ate your last books lists you should consier backing them up on cds! I back up every month so that I don't loose too much when the computer poops out.. and they all do eventually!

Nymeth said...

Nick Hornby's taste in books is different from mine too (though less on in more recent essays. He still doesn't read fantasy, but he reads YA. Should we kidnap him and change his mind), but the main reason why I love his essays is because his "reading philosophy" is one I totally identify with. Plus he gets me interested in things I'd never considered reading before. Like Freakonomics! Or author biographies. Lately I've been pondering reading biographies of Virginia Woolf, D.H. Lawrence, Elizabeth Barrett Browning. I bet I'd love them. And Nick Hornby was the one who first got me thinking about this.

Anyway! You're really making me want to read Middlemarch.

Susan said...

Delily: you're so right, we just put our cost of stamps up too! I was thinking more along the lines of, how much has changed and so very quickly about how we communicate in this world.

And I do back up my book lists now!! Thanks, I had to learn the hard way, of course :-)

Nymeth: Yes, Nick makes me want to read stuff I'd never otherwise consider! Which essays or book are his thoughts on biographies of authors in? In Polysyllabic Spree, he's mostly on poets. Which of course makes me wonder about them!

Because I didn't have time in each book store to meander as I would have liked, I didn't bring home a wide variety as I normally would do. Otherwise, there were biographies on my list - Alan Garner's for one - that I really want, and I did see Anne Sexton's, but I can get that here so I didn't get it then. I've read Keats, but I have to go back - I read it in university, and I've forgotten much of it now! I have the Bronte girls I've been trying to get to - Life of Charlotte Bronte especially, and I'd love to get my hands on a good one of Ted Hughes...there are so many good books out there to read, aren't there? :-)