I did not intend to take an unannounced break but I was able to fly out to California for my grandma’s funeral. The services were exactly right and though we were all sad, I feel like it was also a celebration of her life. Thank you all once again for the numerous kind thoughts and comments. You are all so very wonderful.
Since it wasn’t a vacation, airplane reading was a bit weird. I wanted to read but nothing really appealed so I ended up reading a London Review of Books on the way out and another on the way home. Which means, for the moment, I am caught up on my LRBs.
Monday was a holiday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. and I had the day home from work. I watched President Obama’s inauguration with special anticipation for the poem by Richard Blanco. I liked it! It is a very American poem I think. Some chatter around the interwebs has noted echoes of Walt Whitman. Yes, I can hear those too, the celebration of the common, the everyday and the urgency that pervades the poem and propels it forward. I like how Blanco uses the light, sky, ground and moon to gather together all the individual pieces into one country. There is a definite feeling of e pluribus unum, out of many one, which is what the United States at its best is all about. What do you think of the poem?
I had hoped to be able to read more yesterday but I caught a cold while I was away and felt generally blah. I was able to focus for an hour or so and start reading Doctor Glas. So far I am liking this little book very much. It is written as a diary, a device that when well done I am always a sucker for. Oh, and how could I forget, I also read the introduction to Ben Yagoda’s How to Not Write Bad. He made some good jokes, but he always does. He says that there are plenty of books out there to tell you how to write well but not many that tell you how to not write bad(ly). He’s been teaching and grading for years and the book is going to focus on the mistakes he finds people make most often. It is intended for students but he also has non-students in mind he says, like bloggers and people who just want to improve their writing. I look forward to delving into the nitty-gritty shortly.
Last week I finished the third part of Margaret Atwood’s serial e-novel Positron. I liked parts one and two quite a bit but part three felt short and rushed. I suppose that is one of the dangers of serial novels.
In progress on my Kindle at the moment is The Wind in the Willows. I was in the mood for something easy and comforting. Except I never read the book when I was a kid. I had a picture book of a Frog and Toad story but I never read Wind in the Willows. Reading it for the first time as an adult, I am enjoying it, but there are also some weird things about it. Like the animals seem to keep changing size. First they are small like a water rat or mole would be but then they are riding in a coach with Toad being pulled by a horse. Wha??? And I find it rather disturbing that they eat bacon for breakfast and lobster is a dinner option. It is not magical like it would be for a child, but it is fun nonetheless.
Also in progress is Wolf Hall. I am enjoying it very much. I am reading it with Litlove and she is waiting patiently for me to finish since she has run along merrily to the end already. I’m about two-thirds of the way through.
Maybe Wolf Hall would be going along faster if I didn’t have so many other books on the go? Because in addition to all those above, I am also reading Stag’s Leap by Sharon Olds, Botany for Gardeners by Brian Capon (excellent book!), How We Became Posthuman by N. Katherine Hayles, and Why This World: A Biography of Clarice Lispector by Benjamin Moser. At the same time I am reading all of those, I am looking forward to when I can slip in Testing the Current by William McPherson and The Canon by Natalie Angier.
Yesterday I spent the book gift card that was burning a hole in my pocket on The Prague Cemetery by Umberto Eco and The Vet’s Daughter by Barbara Comyns. I have no intention of jumping into either of them when they arrive. I must get my in progress books under control. But I am looking forward to reading both of them. I just don’t know when that will be!
I could go nattering on all night but Waldo is giving me the look that says I have been at my computer too long already and I had better stop now before he takes matters into his own paws. So off I go to make a cup of tea to soothe my sore throat and I should probably read something too.