Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Snow and Books

So here we are, virtually snowed in for the fifth straight day and waiting for yet another storm.  (As a friend of mine said: "In December we had the Snowpocalypse. This weekend it was Snowmageddon. Coming our way tonight and tomorrow: Snoverkill.")

You'd think that I'd have plenty of time to blog, being house-bound with Adam at home to help with Sam and all the chores; but I can't seem to get anything done.  I'm falling behind on the laundry and dishes, I keep forgetting to cook dinner, and the "postpone" hotkey on my task list program is getting worn out.

I was heartened to see that the library was open today and that it was packed!  I guess people do read, after all.  I've been reading a lot too, so I guess I'll do a quick report on the last two books I've read, both for my book club.

First, I re-read Jane Austen's Sense and Sensibility.  I love Jane Austen more each time I read her.  This time around, I finally started understanding her ironic sense of humor.  I was fascinated with the portrayals of "sense" and "sensibility" in the novel, and surprisingly, I was much more sympathetic to the characters who displayed an overabundance of sensibility than I had been in previous readings!  I found that, because Austen accepts the ethics of her times, "sense" includes a heavy dose of altruism and duty.  The (sensible) character of Elinor, although hugely admirable in her strength and moral ambitiousness, is much too concerned about the feelings and fate of others.  She also represses (not just suppresses) her emotions.  I still love her dearly, but I didn't see her as the clearly better half of the sister-pair.  In fact, I ended up admiring the overly-emotional Marianne even more in the end, because she seemed to grow into a much more sensible person by learning from the trials of herself and of her sister.  The fact that I see these characters quite differently than I did 10 years ago showed me a lot about how I have changed in that time.  What a powerful psychological insight Jane Austen has, and no wonder this is a classic.

Next, I read The Butler Did It, by P.G. Wodehouse.  For the book club, we were supposed to read Jeeves and the Feudal Spirit, but I got the wrong book from the library (a compilation of 5 other novels) and decided to read this short one instead.  It was quite fun!  I loved the humor and the ridiculous ever-twisting plot, and I got quite a few of the literary references (although I'm sure I missed more than I caught).  The end was disappointing.  It had a little twist, but it wasn't something that made me think, "Of course!  That makes everything else make sense and of course it had to be that way."  It was more like, "Oh, that's cute."  I'd read more by Wodehouse, but I probably won't seek him out.

I have Getting Things Done reserved at the library but it hasn't come in yet.  Maybe by the time it does, the roads will be cleared and I'll be able to go pick it up.  Probably not.

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