08 October 2011
Bits and Bobs
Do you have an ear for Austen?
My dad recently read his very first Austen (Pride and Prejudice) and Bronte (Jane Eyre). He enjoyed his experience (and has moved on to The Tenants of Wildfell Hall) but he had a question for me: "Did they really talk that way?" My first thought was "of course they did". But then I began to wonder if that was truly the case. Obviously I understand that verbal communication during the eras of Austen and Bronte would have sounded much different then our own today. But was it indeed as formal and convoluted as depicted in the works of the authors of those eras? I guess my real question is: Was there anything about the conventions of novel writing at the time that would have had authors writing narrative in a more formal style than the way they would have spoken in daily life? Thoughts anyone?
My reading life
It has been a while since I finished a book which would suggested that I am not reading much these days. The truth of the matter is that I have many things in progress and one of these days there will be an avalanche of books finished in close succession. (Lessing, Shute, du Maurier, Sarton and more all hovering near completion.)
Update on e-books
I have said many times that e-books are not the thing for me. Of course that was before I tried them. I decided to take my very expensive Scrabble machine (also known as an iPad) and try out an e-book. Not willing to pay for a test model I downloaded some free Trollope. It took me about 30 seconds to reach a verdict. No, e-books are still not for me. Blech. Fooey. Not interested. Glad you all like them, but I will die reading from dead trees. But speaking of trees...they are a renewable resource that can be managed responsibly and books are essentially biodegradable. E-books on the other hand are a pile of non-renewable metals and petroleum-based materials that are not only not biodegradable, but leave a pretty toxic trail at all points of their life cycle. Not to mention the fact that even in broad daylight one is using electricity to read a book. Think about that. "My book is powered by coal..." Of course I own the iPad (not to mention a computer and TV and TiVo and on and on) so my environmental footprint is no smaller than all of you reading e-books. So I guess it all gets back to my love for the look, feel, and smell of paper.
Dewey's Readathon coming up
The annual Dewey's 24-hour Readathon is coming up on 10/22 (I think) and I am not sure if I am going to participate. I kind of enjoyed myself last year, but there was something about it that felt a bit like a weekend killer. I don't mind devoting a weekend to reading but I really don't like trying to stay awake to cleave to the 24-hour format. I have never really liked staying up beyond about 1:30. I feel like it just turns the next day all topsy turvy. Plus I think the need to go online every few hours to blog about my progress is too disruptive to the cosiness of reading. Perhaps most importantly for me, I only really enjoy extended periods of reading if I have a book that has me so enthralled I can't put it down. I obviously read a lot of books but I tend to do it in short bursts and in stolen moments (commuting, before bed, etc.) And unless I have one of those page-turners, which even among wonderful books are pretty scarce, I just won't enjoy hours and hours of reading over a specific period. So I think the short answer is that I am going to allow myself the opportunity for lots of reading on the readathon weekend but I am not going to force it. If it happens it happens. (And I will go to bed at a normal time, and watch TV, and surf the web, and hang out with John and Lucy...)