There is nothing I like better than a long book these days. Don\’t you? I am currently immersed in Robertson Davies\’s The Deptford Trilogy. Davies is (was–alas, he died in 1995) witty, cultured, ironic, tender and smart, and, bless him, he wrote in trilogies (Salterton, Deptford ,Cornish, and Toronto), which ensures for me many hours in his company. Elizabeth\’s loan of the Salterton got me through the third-snowiest-recorded winter in these parts. Now Deptford is getting me through those hours when I am too weary to pull another weed, but it\’s still light outside and I cannot go to bed.
When I find a book I like, I immediately look for more from that author. Often, as I wander in a daze through the stacks of a local library (nothing puts me in a daze like wandering through library stacks–I can never think of a writer or a title to look for) I use as a criterion, in addition to New Yorker reviews, whether there is more than one book by that author on the shelf. My hermit-like existence prompts me to look for sustained company wherever I find it.
In my long-ago grad studies in French Lit, there were only a couple of women on the reading lists. Since then, I have read lots and lots of women writers. Unfortunately, in sheer output they do not compare to the men. Why didn\’t Jane Austen write sixty novels, instead of six? Because she was busy making blancmange puddings for her father, which I hope he enjoyed.
As I await for the female equivalent of Dickens (whom I can\’t stand–such namby-pamby women characters), I revel in the likes of Trollope, Proust, P.G. Wodehouse, Robertson Davies. And now that I\’m grown up, I intend to give Balzac another try.
This need for a long-term immersion in another mind means that, try as I might, I cannot really get into contemporary media. I hate magazines that make you hunt pages ahead for the ending to the (inevitably short) article you\’re reading. I miss the almost-book-length essays in the old black-and-white New Yorker. I detest \”side bars,\” and advertisements that take up text space. I\’ll leave you to imagine how I feel about web pages with pop-up adds, not to mention Facebook, even-less-to-mention Twitter (though I have accounts in both).
Fortunately, books–big, fat, full-of-print ones with no advertisements–remain. I\’m due for another trip to the library soon. What do you recommend?