Since closing The Count of Monte Cristo with a satisfied readerly sigh on February 21, I’ve read eleven books, for a year-to-date total of forty-eight.
■ Macbeth (William Shakespeare; 1606. Drama.)
■ Macbeth: A Dagger of the Mind (Harold Bloom; 2019. Non-fiction.)
■ The Merry Wives of Windsor (William Shakespeare; 1597. Drama.)
As I’ve mentioned, I am rereading all of the plays this year.
■ My Man Jeeves (P.G. Wodehouse; 1919. Fiction.)
A delight-filled reread.
From “Jeeves and the Unbidden Guest”:
I’m not absolutely certain of my facts, but I rather fancy it’s Shakespeare — or, if not, it’s some equally brainy lad — who says that it’s always just when a chappie is feeling particularly top-hole, and more than usually braced with things in general that Fate sneaks up behind him with a bit of lead piping. There’s no doubt the man’s right. It’s absolutely the way with me.
From “The Aunt and the Sluggard”:
As I stood my lonely bedroom at the hotel, trying to tie my white tie myself, it struck me for the first time that there must be whole squads of chappies in the world who had to get along without a man to look after them. I’ve always thought of Jeeves as a kind of natural phenomenon; but, by Jove! of course, when you come to think of it, there must be quite a lot of fellows who have to press their own clothes themselves and haven’t got anybody to bring them tea in the morning, and so on. It was rather a solemn thought, don’t you know. I mean to say, ever since then I’ve been able to appreciate the frightful privations the poor have to stick.
■ Hope Rides Again (Andrew Schaffer; 2019. Fiction.)
■ Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea (Jules Verne; 1871. Fiction.)
Two more rereads.
■ Kindred (Octavia Butler; 1979. Fiction.)
Read for this month’s Cardiff BookTalk. I was late to the Octavia Butler fan club but am glad to have received my membership card.
■ Wintering: The Power of Rest and Retreat in Difficult Times (Katherine May; 2020. Fiction.)
Reviews here and here.
■ We Run the Tides (Vendela Vida; 2021. Fiction.)
Heard about this on NPR; borrowed it from the library; read it in two sittings.
I pass the bushes where butterflies like to flutter and feed. Sometimes we catch them in jars for a minute before releasing them. Sometimes we wait too long to release them and find them dead. We know the names of the girls who keep the butterflies too long, and we have no idea what to do with this information.
■ Olive Kitteridge (Elizabeth Strout; 2008. Fiction.)
Reread in anticipation of Olive, Again (2019). The title of today’s post occurs on page 162 of my edition, as does the following:
There were days — she could remember this — when Henry would hold her hand as they walked home, middle-aged people, in their prime. Had they known at these moments to be quietly joyful? Most likely not. People mostly did not know enough when they were living life that they were living it. But she had that memory now, of something healthy and pure.
■ Ice (Anna Kavan; 1967. Fiction.)
An essay in my edition of Kindred likened Butler’s novel to Franz Kafka’s The Metamorphosis, which I reread last year, and Kavan’s Ice, which was already on my shelves — genre-defying. Naturally, I had to move Ice up the TBR list. Related article here.
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