Tag Archives: Classics
When I closed the book, it was as if I’d been cut adrift. Having been submerged so intensely in Charlotte Brontë—to have cared, again, and always so immensely, for Jane Eyre and Mr. Rochester—to have realized something about myself and about the small, still Janet—and then having to return to the real world. Returning to the real world and my mind realigning to look upon landscapes as stormy moors, to look upon clusterfucks as madwomen in my attic. To spy Blanche Ingrams and Mrs. Reeds and St. Johns and scolding my brain whenever it strays towards what Rochesters this world has to offer. And to look upon that book now closed and replaced on the bedside table, waiting for the next time I’ll read it again as though it were the first time, as though it was just another marker in this long-and-longest bibliophiliac constancy. [Continue reading.]
Apologies in advance for whatever craziness you may find in the post that follows. I’m feeling a little strange—I’m running on a cocktail of painkillers and antibiotics and the threat of ache and sleeplessness and worry. (Nothing strange about all that, though, except for the antibiotics.) (I need to go visit my grandfather in the hospital [he was rushed there this morning, pneumonia, goodness, our hearts can't take this anymore], and I need to let the haze pass, and so now I’m sitting in a café with too much sunlight and too much people, and I’m hoping the relevant parts of my brain align at the soonest.) [Continue reading.]
I’ve been—knock on wood—sailing calmer waters lately. Sure, my ever-lengthening list of gripes remains handy, but the clusterfucks are at a manageable, if not tolerable, level. I’m only able to articulate this now, actually—at the close of a day that’s oddly restful despite the terrible weather and the work that comes with it; at the close of a weekend that was fun and the happy kind of exhausting, give or take a few grumbles from my frail, mortal body. I’m in a good mood, if only because I’m not in a foul mood. Yeah, that’s cheery. Here’s another: The reading’s picking up, if only because the reading actually exists. [Continue reading.]
My love for Jane Eyre seems to me one of my constants. It’s up there with Madame Bovary being my spirit animal, with Barthes’ “extreme solitude” ringing true time and again, with the implacability of Hogwarts. I first read Jane Eyre when I was about nine—having stolen my mother’s Bantam paperback edition from her dresser—and promptly avowed that spunky Jane was my best friend; was as furious and indignant with the slights and injustices at the Reeds, at Lowood, at Thornfield Hall, and wherever goddamned moor she stayed in much later; and fell violently in love with the odd Edward Rochester. I’d return to the book over the years, never something set; Jane Eyre would accompany me from one house to another, editions growing in number, the marginalia growing more and more confident (even in sometimes-quiet). [Continue reading.]
Back in 2011—because despite some of my favorite books having been written by now-dead people—I realized I needed to read more of the classics, to have them become a more integral part of my reading life. And although the rigid 2011 plan kind of tapered off, there are more classics on my shelves; and it’s become easier for me to approach these books as, well, books, and not homework. (Not that most of those books of my shelves have been read.) Enter The Classics Club, which has been going around the internet being its awesome self. It took a while for me to jump in—that Iris joined recently was a pretty major nudge—but I figured I’ve been needing a stronger nudge to get cracking on those classics shelves. Anyway. Here’s is a list of fifty books, and I’ll be reading them up until 2016. Yikes. Challenge accepted, Internet. [Continue reading.]
Books are deceptively tidily-packaged keystones of great power—and, if you’re lucky (as I consider myself to be), years of reading will arm you with presentiments about what a protracted brush against that power might do [to] you. And I had that hunch with The Bell Jar. I’ve known everything there was to know about the novel before I read it, and every little thing was bad news for someone like me. Call it readerly superstition, call it a far-too-strong awareness of my own psychological climate: I stayed away from Plath’s novel because it was about me.
And once I closed the book, I went back to the little gauge in my soul. There was the usual hum that runs through you after a good and/or timely book. But beyond that: I felt strange—both superior and self-pitying; I looked at all the teenagers that swarmed that coffee shop, all those souls that would never ever need to be scared of a book like The Bell Jar—all for naught or otherwise. [Continue reading.]
Franzen, I’ve found, shies away from an indulgent narrative about families—about his family, here in particular. Snidely, I think: His essays need to have reach—they shouldn’t only be about the Franzens. And so: Family dynamics should naturally draw on Snoopy and its creator. An awkward adolescence—too enlightening, really: who knew Franzen was such a big dorkus?—dignified by an examination of the youth group he belonged to. Selling the house his mother had spent nearly a lifetime to build—a house full, no doubt, of his mother’s disappoints—should lead to a dissection of real estate in America. And, goddammit, troubles with his wife should veer into bird-watching in them good ol’ United States. [Continue reading.]
Currently reading: The Discomfort Zone by Jonathan Franzen; and Swann’s Way by Marcel Proust, translated from the French by Lydia Davis. • I’ve had a rather triumphant week: I’ve been (*holds breath*) blogging regularly—mostly driven by chants of “It’s the principle of the thing, Sasha!”—plus the very thought of the rest of 2013 continues to inspire in me a hope that it’ll get better, reading-wise. (Life insists that it will look up as well, but I’ve heard that before.) [Continue reading.]
I began reading both books right before the year ended—on top of promises to myself that I’d finally wrap up Rowan Moore [architecture] and Richard Dawkins [science]. Those promises fulfilled, I then leapt to Hornby [nerdiness], mostly because I couldn’t help it. Proust and Flynn—the latter I bought on the 31st because I was afraid I’d get bored during an lonesome late lunch—moldered in my overnight bag until I went back home in the new year.
Rest assured, I duly chastised myself: You are doing your shoulders no amount of good, Sasha. You can at least read something and make the pain worth it, please. We all have ways of motivating ourselves; my terrible posture happens to be among the most effective. [Continue reading.]
Fear is the tale’s lynchpin. Though preternatural hounds and a family curse form the foundations of Holmes’s new case, The Hound is a story of how fear kills—how the very idea of something monstrous in the shadows can be lethal, and how sly little villains can successfully seize on that facet of human nature. And, of course, it will take the straight-spined rationality of the Holmesian world—of Sherlock Holmes himself, and the as-vital-as-ever Watson—to reinstate order in the moors. [Continue reading.]