Currently Reading: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen and Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
As I knew it would, the demands of schoolwork has affected my blogging. I obviously do not write and post as often as I would like, and though it sounds silly, not being able to blog on a regular basis makes me feel guilty- like I'm not a good blogger because I participate so infrequently. While I wonder how this affects my readership, I must remind myself that I write for myself, first and foremost.
About a week ago, I finished The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde, listening to it on audiobook as it accompanied me to and from school. The novel is set in the 1980s in an alternate reality, where the Crimean War is still being waged and literature is taken as seriously as religion is in this country. The story follows a Special Operative LiteraTec named Thursday Next, who must rescue Jane Eyre after she is abducted from the pages of her book. Yes, it is possible in this novel to go into other novels- Martin Chuzzlewit, a Wordsworth poem. It was a fun book- quirky and imaginative, a book one reads just for fun. I absolutely loved all of the literary references: a hotel called Finis; a reporter named Melinda Floss (say it quickly: it sounds like "Mill on the Floss"..hehe); people going door to door Jehovah-witness style to convert people into believing that Francis Bacon actually wrote Shakespeare's plays; people stepping into poems and wandering the corridors of Thornfield Hall. The scenes at Thornfield Hall were of course the highlight of the book- (I may have squealed a bit when Mr. Rochester came on the scene)- though perhaps it was a bit irreverent to a Jane Eyre lover- key plot points are different, and anything can happen in the margins (tourists come and go, villains escape into the environs of Millcote, a certain LiteraTec lives for months hidden inside the hall-all without Jane's knowledge, so as not to disrupt the story-line.) It all adds up to a purely delightful reading experience, one that kept me hooked from beginning to end.
Annnnnnnd...... it's autumn again!
My favorite season of them all. Fall is a time of remembrance and reflection for me, a time to look back on the year and look forward to the year ahead. I think there is something within me and probably within all of us- a genetic memory of sorts- that awakes at this time of year. Something that remembers the harvest, the preparation for winter, My soul leaps at the farm fields bathed in a chill autumn sunrise, a V of geese overhead, the smell of dead leaves, butternut squash soup, slipping my apron over my head, chilly air filling my lungs. As I wrote in my "Halloween Book List" last year, my book list often reflects the time of year as well. Falltime is when I pull out my history books on the Puritans, on colonial history, on the Salem Witch Trials. I have done it for so many years that fall seems like the only backdrop now against which I can read these books. While right now, I am finishing up Northanger Abbey, which I will talk about in my next post, and just started Brooklyn as an audiobook, I have already reserved a book that I am really looking forward to: Welcome Joy: Death in Puritan New England. Oh yeah, baby. It may sound morbid, but I have always been fascinated by the history of our perceptions and relationship with death. "History toward the Attitudes of Death" was my favorite class in college, and I just eat up books and documentaries about cemeteries, funeral rites, beliefs about death. I think my job has something to do with it- or perhaps I have my job because of this interest I have always harbored. Either way, it gives me so much to look forward to, to ponder over, to learn.
My reading and my blogging may have taken a bit of a backseat to this thing we call grad school, but I still have it here, waiting for me and for those moments when I can stop and take a breath. That's a nice reassurance. Have a great week! Go find a fun Halloween read!