And no, the title is not meant in reference to prostitution or lavatory facilities. Rather, John Dryden and John Milton have somehow become the focus of one of my research projects. I have only a fuzzy idea of how this happened, as poetry is not my form of choice (don’t get me wrong, I like it just fine, love it even, but the novel is really my bag). But these are two rather wily coyotes of the 17th century, and I find that my future is soon to be full of such delightful treats as Absalom and Achitophel and Paradise Lost. Wish me luck! (gulp).
In other fun news, I changed the look of the blog yet again! Given the overcrowded state of my brain lately, I figured I would go with the minimalist look this time around. I think it’s really just wishful thinking and a subconscious reminder to myself that clean and sparse is actually nice and might be something I would like to apply to my apartment (then again, is it subconscious if I consciously recognize it?).
I’ve also been a terrible blogger lately. I’ve been sitting around telling myself how busy I am and that I don’t feel like blogging, but in the middle of my daily blog reading (you didn’t think I’d given up my favorite form of procrastination completely, did you?) I discovered that Emily, at Telecommuter Talk, wrote some very nice things about me and included me in a list of bloggers who make her day! Seriously, I think I even blushed when I read what she had to say. So I realized that I just needed to stop feeling sorry for myself and to sit my arse down in my chair and write something! As you have most likely noticed already, I cannot guarantee that what I write will have any sense of flow, but hey, it’s something.
So, the school front is busy, busy, busy, and the reading front is not necessarily progressing as quickly as I would like, but I have three books that I’m in the process of starting/finishing/dipping into when I get a chance.
- The first is Fanny, Herself by Edna Ferber. I loved this book. Written in 1917 (or so), it is the most autobiographical of her novels, and it features a young Jewish girl growing up in a small town in the midwest (in fact, it’s set in Appleton, Wisconsin–my hometown–although it’s renamed Winnebago in the book). Part coming-of-age story, part description of a changing social/urban landscape, it’s a great read. I found myself really caring about the main characters, and it even spurred me into trying to write a personal essay. It also, however, had a rather deleterious effect on my bank account, as I was somehow then forced to order three more volumes of her short stories and her autobiography, A Peculiar Treasure. (I have no idea how these things happen!)
- The second book I’m starting was a gift from my mother-in-law. She bought me The Beekeeper’s Apprentice by Laurie King, which I’m sure many of you have heard of before. It’s about Mary Russell, a young woman who becomes Sherlock Holmes’s assistant after he retires from Baker Street. It’s really rather shameful that I haven’t read this series before as I used to be in charge of shelving the mystery section of the bookstore I worked in while I was living in the San Francisco Bay area. But no time like the present to remedy that situation. It’s quite fun so far, and the perfect thing to read before I fall asleep at night.
- The third book that attacked me today was Philip Roth’s Operation Shylock. I’ve only read one Roth novel to date, and that was The Plot Against America. I loved it, but I’ve always been hesitant about starting another of his novels. But how could I resist this description?:
In this fiendishly imaginative book (which may or may not be fiction), Philip Roth meets a man who may or may not be Philip Roth. Because someone with that name has been touring Israel, promoting a bizarre reverse exodus of the Jews. Roth is intent on stopping him, even if that means impersonating his own impersonator.
The blurb on the back cover goes on to describe a cast of characters that includes “Israeli intelligence agents, Palestinian exiles, an accused war criminal, and an enticing charter member of an organization called Anti-Semites Anonymous.” In other words–I really want to read this novel. And if this goes well, I Married a Communist and American Pastoral are up next.
Ok, time to get my nose back to the grindstone and my knee back to the heating pad (I also decided to get my arse on the treadmill again while I was in the mood to accomplish stuff). And thanks to Emily, who really, really made my day. But a word of warning: if you don’t hear from me in a while, it could be because I’ve been knocked unconscious by Dryden and Milton…