Wednesday, June 30, 2010


Freed from the mandatory assignments of the quarter, I am back to devouring novels at nearly pre-grad school rates. So. Freaking. Good. Because composing full sentences appears to be a challenge today and because the faster I stop blogging here the faster I get back to reading, a few random thoughts on what I've recently read.

*Pretty much everything I've picked up and read from the New York Review of Books' press has been amazing. Daphne du Maurier exquisite short stories, Mavis Gallant, and now Elaine Dundy's The Dud Avocado. I've ordered on Summit the second Dundy and Mitford's Madame de Pompadour.

*I am finally getting to reading David Copperfield and am in love. It's a strange read at times because I'm so familiar with Dickens' biography and can tell where he's drawn on his own history. That doesn't necessarily diminish the work, but means that I can sort of predict where portions of the story start to go. What I'm noticing in this read of a Dickens' novel is his incredibly strong sense of pacing. When he finishes a chapter/section, I find I'm torn between the drive to know more and the delicious sense of suspense or hesitation. Sometimes I close the book just for a bit to let it wash over me before pushing on. Bleak House was too long ago for me to remember and Pickwick doesn't start to feel like a novel until a fair bit of the way in, so I can't tell at what point he really honed this ability and when it started to fade (I do recall that he had trouble over/under writing Our Mutual Friend).

*I'm pretty sure I have a mental block against Middlemarch. I know it's beautiful and Important and changed the state of the novel and everything, but I just can't seem to commit to that much George Eliot. I'm sorry. I know I'm the worst Victorianist ever. Maybe I'll take it on a trip with me this summer as the only reading material and see what happens. Blargh.

*I have a million books on digitization and metadata sitting on my second desk at work. I still find it impossible to move forward in any major project without first ordering and/or consulting every book I can find in Summit. Smart or debilitating? We'll soon find out.

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