Sunday, May 30, 2010

Okay, then. Just finished Middlemarch, sitting here on the porch at the lake with the breeze and the sound of the waves. So lucky.

So I probably like Mill on the Floss a little better than this one, but it's close. There are some chapters in Middlemarch that affect me in ways I just don't know how to write about. The scene where Ladislaw walks to Dorothea's church and sits through the service simply hoping to make eye contact with her and fails even to get that, the resigned reconciliation of Lydgate and Rosamond, and all of the scenes depicting various species of provincial ignorance. It's all too much.

We were listening to the Wind in the Willows audiobook on the drive up here and I was taken at how much it reads like a George Eliot kids' book. Grumpy animals pottering about, grand authorial asides, and a diction that, though meant for children, sees no reason not to use words like "paroxysm" with regularity. These days, the kids section at any local Borders makes it look as though children's literature is full of options, but it's all so bad. I read what June brings home from book fairs and it seems like something designed so that the kids might one day aspire, if they keep reading all their Magic Treehouse books, maybe, to manage Harry Potter. I think I've decided to only read stuff with the kids that is over their heads and fun and serious. If you are not disoriented, your reading list is not challenging enough. That will be my motto.

But now I might leave the 19th century for my next books, but gently. Re-reading Wallace Stegner, for example. Angle of Repose or Crossing to Safety.

You finished your book, now throw me a stick.


Kristina said...

I need a summer reading recommendation. Something that will ease me into reading for pleasure again, but still good.

It's crazy -- ever since getting to college my attention span has been all out of whack. I can't remember the last time I sat and read something non-academic (or academic, really, for that matter) for more than an hour. Rather frustrating, really.

Having a good summer? Or are you even out of school, yet?

Mr. Hill said...

Well Kristina, for you and your situation I'd suggest Lucky Jim, by Kingsley Amis, or Our Man in Havana by Graham Greene.

Please report back.

And no, two more weeks of school left, if you can believe it. But my mental summer break started about a week ago, so things are good.

Dawn Potter said...

Reading Shakespeare with 12-year-old Paul has been wonderful. June's probably not ready for that yet, but maybe an audiobook of "Huck Finn" is not far off. Paul must have listened to that one 5 times, at least. And I agree about book-fair books. Scholastic is on my hot-hates list, right up there with the College Board.