'How pleasant it is to spend an evening in this way! I declare that after all there is no enjoyment like reading! How much sooner one tires of any thing than of a book! — When I have a house of my own, I shall be miserable if I have not an excellent library.' No one made any reply. She then yawned again, threw aside her book, and cast her eyes round the room in quest of some amusement. — from Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen (1775-1817)
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September 5, 2010

Sunday Reading: Rooms of Their Own


Vanessa Bell, The Lesson (1917)

After Hurricane Earl, who wasn't anymore (thankfully), we've had a dramatic turn into perfect reading weather:  breezy, and cool enough for a cup of tea and a serious book.  I'm about three-quarters of the way through Lives Like Loaded Guns, Lyndall Gordon's new book about Emily Dickinson and her family, and in different ways, the poet, her brother, her brother's wife, her brother's mistress, and her brother's mistress's husband are people who needed rooms of their own.  ('On 16th Mabel's diary...mentions two assignations on the same Tuesday at the Homestead:  a 'call' at twelve at Vinnie's, and 'one at five, up stairs').

Although I've been enjoying Ms. Gordon's book (especially the later chapters), I've found it a little hard to follow, in places. Not something I can read when distracted, so I set it aside for a few days till I could read again with concentration. My 'palate cleanser' (as someone called it) or my 'guilty pleasure' (great article in today's Boston Globe) -- or simply the book I can pick up and read for a few minutes here and there -- is The Black Ship, Carola Dunn's 15th (?) mystery featuring Daisy Dalrymple, the independent-minded Honorable in the 1920s who pursues a career (gasp!) as a journalist and marries (shockingly!) a Scotland Yard detective. I'm only a few chapters in, but the plot seems to center on a new house of their own, some mysterious goings-on at the neighbors, and a ship lurking off coastal waters in the middle of the night. {Speaking of the Boston Globe, my recipe blog was highlighted over the weekend on boston.com! Can I just say how tickled I was?}

Because it came up somewhere, as I was reading The White Garden, I looked at the library for A Room of Their Own:  The Bloomsbury Artists in American Collections, the catalog from a traveling exhibition that has just ended. I was so disappointed to find out, much too late, that the exhibition had been at the Smith College Museum of Art (less than two hours away!) this past spring. Timing! I would have gone, probably more than once. In all my reading about the Bloomsbury Group I've never really been familiar with their art. I want to read this cover to cover, but that might have to wait... (The colors in The Lesson are more September-like, much deeper and more golden, than they seem above.)

On a day like this, I'll be torn all day between reading and doing something outside, so I'll try to do a little of both.  (Reading outside, with a thermos of tea, would be perfect.) I hope you enjoy your reading, and other relaxing things, today.


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1 comment:

Frances said...

Great weather has returned to us here in DC also, and it is a wonderful relief from that unrelenting heat here this summer. Love your other blog that I just clicked through and will be returning there soon. Envying you that exhibit catalog too. Wish I could have seen it. Happy tea-fueled reading!

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