Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Driving Home

I'm working hard at a lot of books right now. The Vagabond, by Colette, for book club. It's not a hard read, actually--it's very good, though I wouldn't have picked it up. It's slim, and poses a lot of interesting questions, though I don't know that it answers them very well. What's the difference between love and lust? How does a truly broken heart affect later love? What does "lasting love" look like, and what is the price of tying yourself to one person? Would being rich and having no responsibility really make you happy? As someone who's getting married soon, a lot of these questions touch quite close to home (maybe not the last one). And the book gives you a lot of room to think about them, without really answering them, which makes for very interesting thinking, but also makes me somewhat dissatisfied with the author. And then you get to filter it through the fact that it was written about 50 years ago--are the answers to these questions different now?

Envy, by Kathryn Harrison. Ugh. This is such a study in psychoanalysis. This is an author reading about analysis (not just "therapy," but analysis--constant, overbearing overanalysis). This book is the friend who won't break up with her boyfriend but really kind of hates him and can't figure out why he's such a jerk and yet is surprised every time he does something jerky. Almost nothing even happens for the first 200 of the total 300 pages. The main character is an analyst. His son died a couple of years ago. He and his twin brother are estranged. He may have fathered a child when he was in college. He's recently become overwhelmed by his sexual fantasies. And for 200 pages he thinks about sex, and his brother, and then thinks about why he's thinking about them and tries to figure out why his wife is so low key, and talks to his analyst. And he's clearly pretty wrong about his brother, and his wife is supposed to be cool and annoyed with his hyperanalysis, but I'm just frustrated with both of them that they can't have a conversation that involves one person saying "I'm upset" and then trying to fix the problem. It's just a hot mess, this book. And I have a great deal of respect for the woman who wrote Poison. Read that book. Please don't read this one; my only reward for finishing it will be sparing you the trouble.

Also finished listening to The Code of the Woosters: Jeeves to the Rescue today, which involved ever so many delightful romantic misunderstandings, and also blackmail and a policeman's helmet. There's no point in talking about a Jeeves & Wooster book. Unless Bertie Wooster is actually speaking, there's no point in the thing at all.

I'm starting to focus on what to bring on the honeymoon. No library books--I don't want to risk losing them. Also, this is a great opportunity for a PLR. So: The Remains of the Day, which I've been saving for this occasion. A Wizard of Earthsea, which why haven't I read this book yet? March, because I bought it, didn't I? Into Thin Air, because I'm never going to sit down to it, otherwise.

This almost covers the range of lengths and tones I need to have with me. Maybe something else. What kind of reading do you bring on your honeymoon? It seems to trivial to bring light beachy fare, but I like to think I'm going to be concentrating on You Know Who more than on my books, so no tomes. What does that leave us? Picture books? It's a really complicated question.

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