So aside from being a lovely weekend of good food and wine, this was also a heck of a weekend for finishing things. After being failed by two personal copies and two libraries, the BPL came through with Einstein's Dreams for Standard Book Club, which I whipped through in a morning. It's not so much literature as prose poetry, with the idea of relativity, both in the human and the physical senses, being central.
Finished The Speed of Dark, which I liked very much by the end. It did a very interesting job in dissecting the main character's predicament (do I cure this condition--autism--that is such a core part of who I am?), of shedding light on the various aspects and relevancies. For a while I felt kind of annoyed, as though the book was intending to reveal how "normals" are going about things all wrong, but as the narrator grows on you, it becomes clear where the gap between him and the world is. And the subplots--he's stalked; his department at work is being threatened with closure--are really a little nail-biting, even when you can guess how they'll end.
Let's see, what else? Regarding My Antonia, which I thought was a very sweet tale of atmosphere. I think it's kind of funny that the book is about Antonia, because really it's entirely about the narrator, Jim. Antonia doesn't appear in large chunks of the book. She's that person you never forget, but she is the focal point for him as he tells his own story, and often other girls in her position stand in for her. It's a good story, though, and really the only way to tell it, I think. The beauty and lonliness of the prairie is the main character, the main theme. Growing up at that time and in that place--I've heard that story before, but Willa Cather can indeed make you feel how it wouldn't be boring to watch the prairie dogs all afternoon and eat then melons till dark.
I started Gilead, which is slow and ruminative. It's very much about the nature of leading a godly life, and though it's told through the view of the one character, and his definitions of godly and challenges to that goal, it's definitely a broader theme, and definitely the author dealing with it. It is more of a contemplation than a novel (though it is that, too) and I hope I have not steered my fellow Renegaders wrong.