Sunday, September 21, 2008
My favourite funny books:
~ A Walk in the Woods by Bill Bryson
~ Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott
~Plan B by Anne Lamott
~ Grace (Eventually) by Anne Lamott
~ The Years With Ross by James Thurber
~ Me Talk Pretty One Day by David Sedaris
Monday, September 15, 2008
Friday, September 5, 2008
Vita Sackville-West's novel All Passion Spent begins with the death of former British Prime Minister, Henry Holland, first Earl of Slane. This leaves the newly widowed Lady Slane free to retire from public life and, for the first time in her life, do whatever she wishes. Being eighty-eight years old, she is not able to do much but luckily she doesn't want to scale mountains, take up surfing or drive race cars. She simply want to live in a small house in Hampstead and pass the rest of her days quietly away from society, her children, grandchildren and great grandchildren. And so she does.
Very little happens in this book which is not a fault in this case. It is the story of an old woman taking stock of her life and attempting to make sense of it, as much as that is possible for anyone. It is a novel of ideas, rather than of action. And most of these ideas are about the roles of women.
As Lady Slane sifts through her memories, she contemplates all she sacrificed, and all she gained, by devoting herself to her husband, his career and their six children. She also thinks about her secret ambition, the one that remained unfulfilled all her life, to be an artist. This was actually the weakest bit of the story. Because Lady Slane never actually painted, ever, I had difficulty taking her ambition seriously. Otherwise I enjoyed the book and enjoyed thinking about the issues it raised and how they compare to the challenges women face today.
This is the only book by Vita Sackville-West I have read. I admit I was interested in her mainly because of her relationship with Virginia Woolf (they were lovers). Many of the ideas in this novel mirror those in Woolf's A Room of One's Own, a favourite of mine. I suspect it would have been wonderful to eavesdrop on the conversations between these two fascinating women.
First line of All Passion Spent by Vita Sackville-West: Henry Lyulph Holland, first Earl of Slane, had existed for so long that the public had begun to regard him as immortal.
Thursday, September 4, 2008
In other, non-book related news, tomorrow we are sanding the floors so if anyone has ever sanded floors before I'd love some tips.