Sunday, March 16, 2008
It’s wild wet and windy outside, so I’ve decided today is a day for reading, not gardening. I’ve started to read Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables and so far it’s looking good, although I’ve not got very far into it. I really like Monseigneur Bienvenue and this quote seems apt after my gardening post yesterday:
“ … he dug his garden or read or wrote, and for him both kinds of work bore the same name; both he called gardening. 'The spirit is a garden,’ he said.”
Danielle at A Work in Progress is reading this too, aiming to finish it in about two months. This means reading about 200 pages a week. I’ll have to see if I can manage that.
I think I’m going to give up on reading Edith Wharton’s The House of Mirth, even though I’ve read nearly half the book. It’s wordy and I’m getting bored with Lily Bart and her liking for luxury and her mixed up life, trying to find a husband who can afford to keep her in the custom she longs for. It’s not often I abandon a book and I may give it another go, but not today. I’m not in the mood for it; I think that’s my problem with it rather than the writing.
I’ve got some good books to look forward to; at least I hope they are. I had a trip to the library on Friday and picked up The Shipping News, by Annie Proulx (a Pulitzer Prize winner), Consequences by Penelope Lively (I’ve yet to read a book by her that I haven’t liked) and Giving Up the Ghost: A Memoir by Hilary Mantel, which I read about on Table Talk’s blog. I’ve dipped into this and it looks intriguing. I like the openness and candour in her writing:
“So now I come to write a memoir I argue with myself over every word. Is my writing clear: or is it deceptively clear? I tell myself, just say how you came to sell a house with a ghost in it. But this story can only be told once and I need to get it right. Why does the act of writing generate so much anxiety? Margaret Atwood says, “The written word is so much like evidence – like something that can be used against you.” I used to think that autobiography was a form of weakness, and perhaps I still do. But I also think that, if you’re weak, it’s childish to pretend to be strong.”
I’ll be settling down this afternoon to a session with Les Miserables.