Well, it's definitely not a cool April evening - it is a muggy, warm evening that threatens thunderstorms (I love a thunderstorm at night - it's perfect weather to read a gothic novel!) As I sit with my cup of tea, I am once again reviewing my reading experiences over the past week.
On Tuesday morning as we were getting ready for work, my husband commented that it was May 1st already, and I said "Oh, it's May Day - do you know what that is?" He didn't, and so I tried to recall what it was... I thought some sort of holiday or celebration of workers, sort of like our Labour Day. Upon looking it up just now, though, I see that it's actually a spring festival in some cultures. I recalled looking into the significance of May Day when my book group was discussing Margaret Atwood's A Handmaid's Tale, as the term May Day figures prominently in this novel as a signal that a handmaid is part of the "underground network". What a great book that is! It's one of my "favourites", if you can call a book about total repression and subjection of women to be a "favourite". I recently listened to her early novel, The Edible Woman, which I read many, many years ago, and I must say, she's definitely come a loooong way as a writer, although she's remained faithful to many of her themes, male dominance in society, repression of women, etc. I'll admit that I haven't read everything by Atwood, and some of the novels I've read haven't been great, in my opinion, but she's a gifted writer and a Canadian icon of which we can be proud.
I finished To Kill a Mockingbird last night, and I have to say, it did not change my life. It was certainly well-written and had some poignant scenes, but it did not have the kind of impact on this reader that I have been lead to expect, and I'm not sure why. As I was making this comment to my husband tonight, I compared it to Steinbeck's The Winter of Our Discontent. Both novels were published within a year of each other, 1960 and 1961, and both were set in a small American town. They both deal with loss of innocence for children, and maybe a move from innocence to experience for adults, for lack of a better way to describe this "fall from grace" that occurs even into adulthood, although in a different way than in childhood and with different consequences. Steinbeck's novel changed my life, and I reread it almost annually, whereas I will probably never read Lee's novel again. It must be the narrator's perspective and age - I can't imagine what else it could be. The writing styles are similar, the settings, the characters, even the plots, are similar. Hmmm... I'll have to think about this more, and of course I'll write about our book club discussion next week.
I'm now searching for another book to read - I hope I don't have to waste too much valuable reading time between books. I could read another Ruth Rendell, as I borrowed two paperbacks from the library last week, but I feel like I should read a book with some "substance", a book that deals with serious issues, whatever those might be. I tried the first few pages of four different library books last night, but none of them grabbed me at all. I read the first few pages of another library book, Chai Tea Sunday by Heather Clark - I thought the title suited me perfectly, and the author is from Guelph, Ontario, so very nearby. I'm not sure if it's going to keep me interested - it wasn't really grabbing me, but it also didn't make me want to add it to the stack of books for library return, either, at least not yet. It's a dilemma... I'm really being pulled towards Ruth Rendell, but that seems like taking the easy way out, like eating a microwave dinner when you really want a homemade casserole, except that you can't find the recipe and don't know what ingredients to use. I think I'm going to take the easy road and read the mystery, because I hate wasting even another day of quality reading time. Since I've started my new job, I find I do less reading, perhaps because I no longer have weekday mornings to myself, and my husband is home in the evenings when I'm home, and it's just not the same, reading when someone else is in the room with you. I also no longer work alternate weekends, so I don't have every other Friday off, and Saturdays are usually busy with errands or outings - reading tends to fall lower in the priority list of things to do. Maybe I'll try a few more pages of Chai Tea Sunday and if it doesn't pull me in, I'll read a Rendell novel.
With that decision made, I better go and start reading.
Bye for now!