Friday, February 10, 2006

Moving On

Why do they close at 5 today? Why? I was going to go at lunch but I got distracted and then was working and then it's too late and when I get out of work the library will be closed and I can't go to the library. It makes me so sad.

I finished The Tiger in the Well, which I really enjoyed by the end, but I have to say, Philip Pullman has ruined it for himself with His Dark Materials. He can't top that. What's he going to do? His only choice is to go on hiatus for ten years and then have his next novel come out in fifteen. By then everyone will be salivating and no one will care if it's good.

I'm reading The Age of Innocense now, which I might have to set aside for more pressing tasks and unpublished works, but which will carry me through the commute nicely. I'm really enjoying it--Wharton is very funny, and she does a good job of critiquing the upper class and their propriety subtly while writing from the point of view of someone who completely buys the whole worldview completely, and yet without being derisive. I think it might run into trouble with a modern reader, though, because her aloof criticism, mild as it is, might not seem scathing enough for a modern reader.

I remember reading Emma with Book Club Incarnation 1. It was one of the first ones we read. A lot of people didn't like it--not because of the old fashioned writing, but because of the ideas about class. The idea that there is someone who is beneath someone else--that Emma's friend (I can't remember the names in the real book, so we'll use Clueless)--that Ty acutally isn't good enough for Josh. It's funny, and I should have brought this up at book club, darn it!--because when you translate it into modern times, you see that Ty isn't clever enough or deep enough for Josh--even though she's a lovely person. They don't have common interests. That's exactly how it was back then, only they had this shorthand called class. And yes, that would have been used to keep a clever Ty down, but face it, that girl (Harriet, I think was her name) was not clever.

I think it's interesting how hard it can be to read a novel from another era through the lens of that era, and combine that with your own views, and still enjoy it on all levels. That's what makes classics "classic" I guess.

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