Sunday, September 21, 2008

Make Me Laugh

Because life is a wee bit stressful at the moment, with this move and everything, I've been searching for escape. Escape for me is, of course, reading. And what I would really like to read right now is something funny. Anyone care to save my sanity and make a suggestion?

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

What Was My Crime?

This moving stuff is killing me! I feel like I've been sentenced to hard labour but I'm not sure what my crime was. We finished sanding and varnishing the floors, did I tell you? They're shiny, shiny, shiny. Now we are painting. Painting is always harder than I think it is going to be, but since everything looks better with a fresh coat of paint I keep slapping the stuff on the walls. When that is done I get to pack up all my belongings and shift them from here to there. Needless to say (but I'll say it anyway) I haven't had much time to read. I have managed to squeeze in Anne Enright's The Gathering and Margaret Drabble's The Sea Lady, both of which I plan to write more about as soon as I have the time and energy. Will I ever have time and energy again?

Friday, September 5, 2008

All Passion Spent

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.

Letter Writers Alliance

If you, like me, consider a handwritten letter a rare and wonderous thing you might enjoy this.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Busy, busy

It's been busy, busy around here lately. We're moving into our new condo at the end of this month and there seems to be a million things to do. But I found out yesterday when I was given a welcome package from the condo that there is a library! How cool is that? I haven't checked it out yet but it seems to be a place you can donate your old, unwanted books to and people who live in the building can "check" them out, read and return them. The best part may be I now have a convenient place to donate my old books to without lugging them across town on the subway.

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.

Monday, September 1, 2008

Woof Woof

The front view.

The side view.

Every time I notice this book on my shelf I chuckle to myself. Woof, woof Rumi.