There’s been a lot of light reading here lately. Barbara Pym, Daphne du Maurier, and many sallies at rereading Emma, my favorite book. There is an enormous pile of books by my bed. A little bit of Emma, followed by a little bit of Pym. Then a quick look at an SF book by Clifford D. Simak, which has very small print. Then parts of Mary Helen Stfaniak”s The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia. This system is very strange, but it seems to be working out.
Here’s what the day looks like.
1. Get up. Read Emma. Wouldn’t you rather be Emma than any other Jane Austen character? She has a busy life, many small talents, devoted friends, an imagination, and is less bitchy than Elizabeth Bennett, who is a money grubber where the wealthy Darcy’s estate is concerned. (All right, I like Elizabeth anyway, and if Colin Firth wanted to marry me and had a huge estate…) Emma’s boyfriend Knightley is handsome but controlling, and perhaps she doesn’t quite need him to complete the picture. Would one really like to be married to any of the control-freak men in Austen, and is that part of her message?
2. Get dressed and finish Barbara Pym’s No Fond Return of Love.
3. Go to work, stare at your crumbling textbook, and wonder if you can obtain a teacher’s copy of Wheelock. The front right-hand corner has just fallen off the cover and there’s an asymmetrical flapping that distracts you slightly. Will they believe you? You’re more or less a squatter here, the publishers insist on faxed requests and you don’t have a fax machine, and you don’t have any workplace stationery unless you forge it.
5. Go home and do yoga in negligee. After a few sun salutations abandon the exercises to drink a screwdriver (really just orange juice) like a woman on Mad Men and read The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia, your contemporary novel of the week.
6. Wonder why you’re totally unlike Miss Grace Spivey, the teacher in The Cailiffs of Baghdad, Georgia. Would she really have had one year-long teaching theme in 1938, The Arabian Nights in Baghdad? Much as you’re enjoying this book, it’s one of those frivolous book-club novels with completely unrealistic characters and a slightly sentimental tone. If you enjoyed The Sweet Potato Society (or whatever that book was called), you’ll like this. Actually this is better.