My Literary Week

I have been all over the place this month in terms of my reading and I’m finally getting over a cold that has lasted forever, so this will be a smorgasbord kind of a post:

March Madness and Fickleness

The weather isn’t the only thing that’s been fickle for me this March. Despite the fact that it’s National Reading Month – and I had wanted to join the various reading versions of March Madness – I’ve been making very little progress in any actual reading. I started the month with a number of goals: Start NPR’s The Grapes of Wrath read-along; start and finish The Zookeeper’s Wife for our next Literary Wives discussion; start and finish Howard’s End for The Classics Club’s April post. Well, I started and stopped all three. I kept flitting back and forth, not sure which book to prioritize. Finally a growing desire to get back into Victorian literature took over and I began re-reading Jane Eyre, something I hadn’t planned on doing this year. And so that’s all I’ve been reading over the last week and now I am positively hooked on Jane Eyre.

Which character in literature are you?

Speaking of Jane Eyre, I found this pretty fun literary/psychological (my favorite combination!) quiz at Book Week Scotland where you can find out who “your” literary figure is. And I mention Jane Eyre because Jane Eyre is who I got (introverted, loyal once you get to know me, and self-critical)! If you’ve been spending time taking all those BuzzFeed quizzes, then you will find this one to be of higher quality. It only takes a few minutes and it asks you various questions about how you approach problems and how you prefer to interact with people (kind of like a shortened Myers Briggs test). I gave this quiz to Max (hubby) and Fred (son) as well and they got, respectively, Atticus Finch of To Kill a Mockingbird and Jean Valijean of Les Misérables.

Victorian Men Montage

I’ve never understood the fascination with YouTube but this week I couldn’t keep my eyes off of these video montages of Victorian men in literature. I like the ones with fast music, and this one in particular, set to a remake of The Weather Girls’ It’s Raining Men. Some (like my recently-turned 10-year-old) may question my tastes but I actually find the video quite erotic. I can’t imagine the sexual tension that builds up in a society where emotions are so restrained and the people so heavily clothed. Note the subtle heaving of chests, lingering glances, and gently rocking pelvic motions (horse riding scenes).

Addiction Feeding

Bless my husband’s dear heart for driving me two towns away to visit yet another library used book sale and for not questioning or judging me when I walked out with another canvas bag full of books (contents: Pride and Prejudice, Wives and Daughters, Crime and Punishment, and more). The books now sit on the floor at the foot of our bed until they find a new bookcase.

Here’s the thing: every few months I get restless, like something critical from my life is missing. No doubt my body clock has aligned with our various local libraries’ quarterly book sale schedules. I feel such joy and security just being in a room full of books and browsing through them. I have no other vices in life – I’ve even given up Doritos and beer at 10 p.m. – and I figure there are worse ways in life to be happy.

And if you, too, are addicted to acquiring books, read this post Is Owning Books as Good as Reading Them over at Book Riot. The author has 850 (!) unread books in her apartment but it is the many reader comments that are most encouraging and supportive.

What’s up in your literary life of late?

26 thoughts on “My Literary Week

  1. Book Riot trumps me with my 746! That has made me feel a bit better this morning! I have always thought of my books as my collection, so I’ve never been too worried about having books that I haven’t read – hence my predicament. But having kids has reduced both my space and my finances so I really need to get reading what I already have!

    • I think you’ve been incredibly disciplined to restrain yourself from getting any more books! I also agree with you about the book collecting. People collect shells, stamps, model cars, etc. and no one blinks an eye.

  2. March Madness: Let me just say, that if you have picked up Jane Eyre to read instead of these other books, it is totally understandable that you are having a hard time getting back to them. Jane Eyre is so wonderful! 🙂

    Character in Literature: I am Mma Ramotswe from The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency.

    Victorian Men Montage: Love this! So many good movies I haven’t seen yet. Have you seen the Jane Eyre movie yet?

    Addiction Feeding: I am like you, except that, for me, it seems to happen more often. I have to feed my book-buying addiction, so I go down to the community workshop, which is a second-hand store for just about everything, and I browse the books. Sometimes I don’t find much, but sometimes I find some great treasures. Either way, just the act makes me feel better, and buying the books does not break the bank. As far as addictions go, it’s a good one to have (the best, in my opinion). We all have to have something. And I agree with the article – just to be surrounded by the books, even if they are unread, is enough.

    Fun post!

    • Hi Naomi, I love your comment here. I have not read any of the Ladies Detective Agency books. Have you? What do you think of your match? I am waiting to finish Jane Eyre the book before I see the movie, but I can’t wait (I had to put it aside to finish The Zookeeper’s Wife for Literary Wives). And I feel so much better after reading your comments on the book addiction. I agree that it feels good just to visit a store and to browse through books. I think it’s the treasure-hunting element that’s so fun!

      • I read one of the detective agency books a long time ago, and I remember liking it, but not enough to read another. I think it’s a pretty good match for me, though, because I am an observer, and feel like I can make good assessments about what people are like. And my friends have always liked to tell me their problems, whether I can fix them or not. I watch and listen. But, it’s probably the kind if thing that you could find several different characters that are similar to you in some way and call it a good match.

  3. Ha! I’m Scout, from To Kill a Mockingbird! I think I am just as bad about books as you are, which is probably why my husband takes me to Half Price Books all the time instead of to Book People, which I prefer but is not discounted.

  4. Your son is Jean Valjean – that’s adorable! This is a great post. 🙂 And I’m totally guilty of wanting to own all the books I read. It’s why I keep buying our Literary Wives books if we can’t get them from the publisher. I have over 50 unread books in my apartment!

  5. I just took the quiz and found that I am Caroline from Caroline (it didn’t state the author and I’m not familiar with this children’s book). It said Caroline wants to be taken seriously and wants to grow up like me to be “a person described as serious, task-driven and loyal by their friends and colleagues.” Interesting and apt for me, I think. I have been all over the map with reading this month, too. I just read the second book in a row that I will give a not-so-stellar review to. I feel so contrarian this month with my reviews! I did start reading The Goldfinch, but think I already need something lighter for the rainy, moody season. I like the montage! Is it bad that I recognized most of the characters and male leads? 🙂

    • I’m not familiar with Caroline either but she sounds admirable!

      I think it’s great that you recognized most of the male characters in the montage! I think I was only able to name one…so I need to start watching! How are you enjoying The Goldfinch? I have that in my home library and am eager to read it. Hope the weather has improved where you are!

      • Oh my gosh, I am really enjoying The Goldfinch! I thought it was a little too heavy at first and put it down, but once I picked it back up, I really got into it. It’s quite moving. I’m about a third of the way through, but the plot about the goldfinch painting is still a mystery to me right now.

        Weather’s wet here, but not unseasonably so. I hope you enjoy your vacation and time off!

  6. Thanks for the link to the quiz! I enjoyed it very much and you’re right, it is much better than most “which character are you?” quizzes on the internet. According to the quiz, I am Hermione Granger from the Harry Potter series which I think is very fitting for me: “unfailing loyalty”, “introverted” but with “sometimes prickly, know-it-all side”.

    I’ve seen the “It’s Raining Men” video before and it always makes me giggle although, being the pedantic person that I am, the video is a montage of Georgian and Victorian men. It’s really interesting to me to note the differences between Georgian society (e.g. in Jane Austen’s novels) and Victorian society (e.g. the Bronte sisters, Elizabeth Gaskell…).

    I hope you fully recover from your cold soon!

  7. I took the quiz and got Emma Morley from One Day. I’d never heard of the book before, so I read the synopsis on Wikipedia, and I have to say that Emma’s actions don’t match mine at all. I would never put up with a wishy-washy relationship, nor would I continue to write plays if each one was more unsuccessful than the last. Ha!

    Your comment about your body clock aligning with book sale schedules made me chuckle 🙂 I can always predict when another sale at my local public library is about to take place!

  8. Cecilia,

    I love that your hubby shuffles you to various library book sales – such a thoughtful gesture.
    Do you think you will return to the books that started and stopped? Do you have a page limit where you decide you don’t want to continue a book?

    Hope you are feeling better.

    • Hi Rudri, I have anxieties surrounding driving (I suppose I may write about that one day) and so I have to enlist my hubby to take me to any out of town book sales! 😉

      I do plan on returning to The Grapes of Wrath. I’m not sure about Howard’s End, as now I’ve gotten interested again in Victorian women writers and I will probably focus my energies there. I don’t usually have a page limit where I stop but I can tell after several nights of strong reluctance to pick up a book…when it begins to feel like a chore or obligation to read, then I start wondering if it is better to spend my time on a different book. How about you?

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