Sitting in the lecture hall crying…

25 04 2007

Well, nearly crying.

Was it because I’m two days away from my program being finished and there isn’t a job in sight?

Was it because once again I find myself disappointed in people and situations (even though I try my best to avoid these at all costs)?

No, none of those things.  I found myself at noon hour in a big, empty lecture hall nearly crying because of the sheer simplistic beauty of The Book Thief.

What particularly struck me – and I’m only about a quarter of the way in – was the moment between Liesel and the mayor’s wife about the name of a boy in one of the picture books Liesel is looking at and “The Files of Recollection” that “interrupt” that moment.

There is such a sense of history and progress in that moment.  There is the history of what has occurred and what that has meant for the people involved – and there is also all the knowledge the contemporary reader brings and connects with references to barbed wire and 1918.  There is also a sense of progress in terms of time progressing and moving on, and how those who have been injured or have suffered contend with that.

All of that is in that little moment and throughout the rest of the novel that I’ve read so far.  There is that constant reminder of what is going to occur – what, in fact, has already occurred and which the narrator is privileged to know and which the narrator is continually reminding us of.  A kind of merging of past, present and future, which suggests at times an almost unbearable inevitability.  The kind that makes you want to stop, to look away, but which you can’t, but which you must not turn away from.

All of that built in me, but in the end it is the simplicity – such as when the mayor’s wife says, “He is nothing now in this world” – that has proved most heartbreaking for me.





How my eight year love of Jamie Oliver came to end in two hours…

22 04 2007

Well, not really.

I do still love Jamie and all his works.

But he has caused me hours of back-breaking labour and there’s still many more hours to come.*

You see, I’ve decided to become a gardener. Yes, thanks to Jamie Oliver, I’ve decided to plant my first vegetable garden. Nevermind that my last forary into the horticulture realm could not be counted as a success. I watched one episode of Jamie at Home and I was convinced that I too could grow beautiful potatoes and other assorted veggies.

So the past few days have been spent clearing a spot in the backyard. Right, who knew that clearing grass was such a difficult thing to do? It’s cleared – thanks in large part to the Handy Papa – and now I’ve been told I actually need to turn the dirt over. And then rake it. And then do something to stop the dirt from running every which way when I water it. And apparently I need to be worried about squirrels and some devious plots they intend to hatch in my veggie patch.

I had no idea. Too many books. Too much school. Not enough time spent digging around in the garden.

But I’m making up for that now.

Hopefully.

If I can contend with those blasted squirrels and their devious plans.

Footnotes:

1. Some (such as the Handy Papa) might say I brought this back-breaking labour upon myself. Six of one, half a dozen of another, I say.





Success!

21 04 2007

It only took me a few months, but I’ve finally managed to make my way through The Corrections.  Once I put my mind to finishing the book, it really only took me about four days, even though I was determined at least a dozen times to put it down for good (like that Norrell and Strange tome).

There is something (as I believe I mentioned before – I’m too lazy to go back and look) that I don’t like about this book.  Something that disturbs me.  I thought perhaps it was something akin to my initial reaction to The Stone Angel in its portrait of old age.  I also considered that it was an almost crudeness similar to how I sometimes find sections of Pat Barker’s fiction.  Perhaps it’s a mix of those two things or something altogether different.  Perhaps it is too familar in some respects and the nerves – two in particular – it touches too fragile and raw at the moment.

And there are some beautiful passages – primarily at the end of sections, and those for me were the saving graces.  It is those that are keeping me from putting it into the “To the Library Donation” pile, which is where until 10 pages from the end of it I was still determined it would go.

Next on the agenda?  A return to The Blue Castle.





Required Reading #3: What is the What

16 04 2007

Because it is brillant. Because it took me far too long. Because it made me cry. Because you must.