Sunday, May 30, 2010

A Word Drenched Saturday

I tend to collect books that end up on the remaindered tables. I buy them not knowing exactly when I'll read them, but having heard about them and unable to pass up a book for a couple of bucks. Sure, I could get them from the library, but some part of me thinks about the time the library won't be available, and so I hoard a bit.

Yesterday, I thought I would kick off this holiday week-end by going to the library, but I discovered that our county library system is completely shut down for almost a week so that they can install a new computer system. When I buy books from the remainder table, I must admit that I'm thinking of a storm or some other natural disaster that might make me glad to have an old-fashioned book, printed on paper. But a library closure qualifies too.

I spent yesterday absorbed by Lionel Shriver's The Post-Birthday World, which I bought in hardback for just a few dollars, but which I've hesitated to take with me when I travel because it is so heavy. It's a fascinating piece of storytelling, with two narratives unspooling in alternating chapters. I'm only halfway through the book, but I suspect that the ending will show that either choice that the protagonist made will land her in the same ending place. I'm enjoying the ride (and I also won't be surprised if I'm in for a shock). I love seeing how an element in one narrative, like an argument over who should have packed what, or a trip out of town, is repeated in the other narrative, but with changes.

It's a fascinating exploration of relationships and how our romantic/marriage relationships relate to our work. It's an interesting depiction of class structures too. And it's set in London, so my Brit Lit English major self loves it. The protagonist is an illustrator so there's a bit of discussion about art and creativity: what feeds us and what destroys us. I imagine Virginia Woolf reading this book and saying, "You see, that's exactly what I was trying to say. A room of one's own! An independent income!"

Yesterday was one of those soul restoring days: a good book, doing some writing of my own, making a few submissions, taking a break or two to shop for wine, a perfect nap. Sure, the house still needs vacuuming. But the house will always need vacuuming. Some days, I just need to lose myself in words, so that I don't forget who I really am. I am not a woman who wastes her talents creating meaningless reports that very few people will read and even fewer people will care about. I am not a woman who is paid very good money to do lots and lots of photocopying to create documentation for said reports. Well, I am that woman, in part, in my day job, the work that I do to bring in the money that pays for the rooms that are my own. But I'm also a different woman, a woman with a rich, inner life, a woman who glimpses magnificent metaphors and takes time to capture them in poems.


Karen J. Weyant said...

Yes, I am a reminder/cheap/low priced book buyer myself. Last year, our public library was closed for six months due to renovations. Six months! Boy was I glad for all those extra books.

Karen J. Weyant said...

...or should I say "remainder" books. *Sigh* I'm still recovering from a long semester.