Saturday, 23 August 2014

Books, socks and all that

'The Faraway Nearby' by Rebecca Solnit was requested on the strength of 'A Field Guide to Getting Lost' that I read last year. I guess this is an example of how your own mood affects how you react to a book. This one was a similarly meandering mix of stories and reminiscences but I found myself irritated by it. Partly in a process of reflecting about our adventure in Costa Rica I have been thinking about what is adventure and why have we become so obsessed with it. It is as if the whole 'living life to the full' and 'YOLO' culture has become so pervasive; that if you don't go out and travel and do exciting things then you are not really living, that you are wasting your life. This really could be the subject of a whole blog post ... but I fear becoming too hectoring so I will just say that some days it makes me want to crawl under a stone and stay there and be glad of my quiet, predictable, un-spontaneous life, it has a lot to recommend it. And why is it that people who write these kind of books invariably have poor relationships with their parents. Is there something the matter with have a nice secure childhood and getting on well with your mum and dad as adults. Maybe it means I have nothing to run away from or 'search for' but I think I am happy without the existential angst to be honest.


The lovely socks that I started knitting for mum when we went to Costa Rica have finally been completed, it's only taken a mere three and a bit months. They were knitted to the Jigsaw socks pattern on Pink monkey Knits, but someone at knitting club pointed out that the design looks like waves so I decided to call them 'Pacific Ocean Socks'. So now I can give some serious attention to a fair isle sweater that I started equally long ago.

'Where Love Lies' by Julie Cohen was a bit of a strange acquisition, I picked it up from the library and had no memory of why I requested it, the cover image told me that it was not the kind of book I usually borrow. Having said that I spent the entire of my day off this week reading it, and didn't consider the day wasted. The plot was utterly predictable, I saw from the first chapter that she was going to have a brain tumour or something and that the whole thing was not going to be real. The relationship with the husband was very suspect, they were completely unsuited, he claimed to be trying  to make her happy but had changed nothing about his life to be with her and expected her to fit in with a life that he had prearranged; it was creepy even though his family all seemed so nice. But I was entertained by her rather erratic behaviour and decision making, and the rather wild and reckless upbringing she had did go some way to explaining her approach to life. I think Julie Cohen was trying to do something cleverer than she was capable of with the story: the idea that can you be 'in love' because your brain is triggering old memories, and are they 'real' feelings, and as such are any emotions real since they are all just a product of chemical reactions in the brain. The trouble was that this rather more profound idea was only dwelt on briefly in passing as she considers the life saving surgery that will probably take the feelings away again. So, sorry, I've spoilt the story completely for anyone who likes her, but a pleasant enough way to pass the time, well written and engaging. Now back to Middlemarch and the trials of Dorothea (who started off very pious and irritating but is growing on me).

3 comments:

  1. I agree, our moods effect how we view the books we're reading. I had to take a break from the last book I read because I realized I was too grumpy to actually read the story for the story. I wasn't enjoying any of it because of my mood.

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  2. Terrific socks. I liked your conjecture that the author was trying to write something more clever than she was able to produce. And after the last couple of years I've had, boredom and monotony would be so welcome! The little everyday moments help you grow as much as the big adventures.

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