Sunday, January 31, 2010
The Sunday Salon: Reading for Renewal and Childhood Obsessions Revisited
For the past few weeks I've been waking up early. By early I mean between 4 and 5 in the morning. I've actually been enjoying my early days. It gives me a chance to prepare for work with no harried rush and I have a chance to start my day doing things I love. I've baked, written, stitched and blogged, but my favorite activity, reading, is by far the most wonderful way to start the day.
I've had a really tough time at work lately. The tension in the air is palpable and we are dealing with impossible deadlines. For some reason waking up at 4 in the morning, creeping downstairs, brewing some coffee, and reading Villette has been my salvation. When my reading time is up, I feel cleansed, renewed.
This is my second time reading Villette, I read the novel in college when I was supposed to be reading post-modern theory (bleh). I did that quite a bit in college, I read what I wanted and ignored assignments! I remembered that I loved Villette, but I didn't recall much of the plot. This reading is far more rich and engaging.
The other book I'm reading at the moment is Frost in May by Antonia White. Frost in May is about Nanda Grey, a convert to Catholicism experiencing Catholic boarding school for the first time. She is at the Convent of the Five Wounds, the nuns range from the sympathetic to harsh, and Nanda is both comically and pitifully pious. This book recalls one of my childhood obsessions with Catholicism. I grew up in Northeast Georgia as a Southern Baptist and Catholics always seems so exotic! I spent a portion of my girlhood wishing I could be Catholic, partly because it would give me a chance to learn Latin and partly because I was equally obsessed with Mary Queen of Scots. Now that I'm all grown up and solidly against organized religion, I find that I still have a soft spot for Catholic novels. These same memories occurred when I read Brideshead Revisited. In fact, I would consider Frost in May a young girl's Brideshead Revisited.
My goal for this week is to finish Frost in May and at least get through half of Villette. I need to start and finish a library book with a fast approaching due date -- Mrs. Palfrey at the Claremont -- and start on A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book.