Monday, January 17, 2011

Poignant Prose and Dog-Eared Pages

Wow. I just finished reading Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson. Housekeeping is a novel, often considered a modern classic, that’s been recommended to me by a number of people, and I’m so glad that I finally took the time to read it. It’s probably the furthest thing from a light, feel-good read, but I enjoyed it nonetheless. There is something beautiful and poignant about Robinson’s writing style, as each word, sentence, and phrase deserves it’s proper consideration. There is something beautiful, too, about the way she states the most inexplicable, innate truths of everyday human life. So often as I read I had to go back and read over those sentences again, turning over the corner of the page so I could go back and read them once more. Here’s a beautiful little section I dog-eared, where the narrator talks about her thoughts and dreams:
“And here we find our great affinity with water, for like reflections on water our thoughts will suffer no changing shock, no permanent displacement. They mock us with their seeming slightness. If they were more substantial -- if they had weight and took up space -- they would sink or be carried away in the general flux. But they persist, outside the brisk and ruinous energies of the world.”
I’m not here to give a review of the book or a spark-notes summary, but I do want to say that if you’re someone who not only eats up a good story but likes taking time to savor a book, this one’s for you. Perhaps give it more than a week, because I wished I had more time to digest :) 
Next week I’ll be reading The Mother Tongue by Bill Bryson. I absolutely love Bill Bryson because he’s just hysterical, so I’m excited to read one of his earlier books. This is all about the English language and how it came to be, and as a French/Communications language nerd, I’m looking forward to it! I’m scheduling in some designated reading time next week, because the natural procrastinator in me got so caught up this past week in the busyness going back to school and normal life that the bulk of my reading was done over the weekend. Hopefully that goes better and becomes a natural part of my daily rhythm instead of a weight on my shoulders at the end of the week. And if you think of it, ask me how my reading is going when you see me or send a text or email, I’m sure it will keep me much more accountable! Thanks :)

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