Sunday, February 06, 2005

Wandering Thoughts

I'm about to finish Howl's Moving Castle, which is a most excellent kids' fantasy book. It does, in fact, feature a moving castle, but I don't blame that for my wandering thoughts. I don't know why I've been thinking of Alias Grace lately, but for some reason it keeps crossing my mind.

It's a Margaret Atwood book that I listened to as a book-on-tape a few years ago. It was good--I liked it better than I've liked most of her other books. It's the story of a murder in the early 1900s, and of the servant girl who is accused of it. The book is divided into chapters that are told from the servant's point of view, and those that are told third person from the point of view of an investigating doctor who's trying to figure out if she's crazy. I think there's a strong possibility that the reader really made a difference in my enjoyment of this book--she was an actress who did a lovely Irish accent for Grace, and it was an auditory pleasure. I don't know if I feel like rereading it, especially now when I've got a lot of new stuff that I'm excited about, but it's been in my mind. Maybe I'll buy the book, to have on hand and reread at leisure.

I've also been thinking about She's Not There, which I think I just will buy. I want to lend that out--it's such an amazing story, and such a great telling of a true life in which there's no right answer, no way to make everything okay, but people manage to do their best. It reminds me of the This American Life episode that I caught part of on NPR yesterday, which had a long story about transsexual men--men who were born women.

I was listening to NPR (she segued casually) on the way home from Louisa May Alcott's house, where I learned a great deal--much from the tour guide, and some from the precocious little girl who had read the biography, knew a lot, and was very excited. That was pretty cool. Louisa May made $100,000 from Little Women over the course of her lifetime, and $250,000 total from her writing, while her father was earning $100 per year as the superintendant of schools. Also she wrote a book called Moods in which a character based on her was wood by characters based on Thoreau and Emerson (two of her neighbors and her father's friends). The character, according to the back of the book, "marries the wrong one." A few things occur to me here, among them what a great time that would have been to live in Concord, MA, and which of those two gentlemen was "the wrong one?"

I hope Lynne and Adrian had as much fun as I did yesterday. It was a gorgeous day and a great trip.

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