My Beautiful Wickedness

Any day…
May 28, 2008, 8:10 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

that starts with the internal radio (the one that plays songs constantly, yes constantly…part of my non-neurologically typical way of being in the world) blaring The Who’s “You Better, You Bet” is going to be a good day.

The downstairs hallway looks so much better without the big dark brown (three-handled moss-covered) credenza (sorry, skipped into the animated version of Cat in the Hat for a minute). It was a booger to get to the curb, but within half an hour of getting it out there, some kids in a pickup truck jumped out and loaded it. I’m hoping they come back for the final drawer that they left, but I think maybe it was going to be the housing for something else. (With a little work, it could have been a great snake cage.) Anyhow, the area is now clear for painting, so it looks like we’ll finally be getting the last of the battleship grey out of the house in the next month.

With my summer vacation set to start on Friday, I’m doing some preliminary compiling of books. My daughter and I like to do shared reading, so I’m also looking at some of my own “greatest hits” to see if they’d be resonant with her. In doing so, I discovered the “Fine Lines” series — where the blogger reviews the books of her childhood. Ah, so much fun for readers who grew up in the 70s! Some of those books I had completely forgotten about.

I also plan to take a little time to comfort myself. It’s been a long (super-long) semester and there were setbacks that I just had to absorb and move on. In general, that’s probably healthier than sitting around brooding or picking scabs, but I think I could probably use a little indirect emotional self-healing. While making my usual blog-round, I discovered this new meme by Meansomething (via New Kid on the Hallway):

Books of Consolation

Name five books you read (either present or past tense read ) when in need of consolation. They can be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or other. Tell why. Also please note if any of them is a book you would recommend sending to a sad friend. Tap five people to respond.

I love the concept of “comfort reading.” My top 5 —

1. The Works of Jane Austen. She had a way of making a world in her words that I find preoccupying and I like the satisfaction of clever wordplay and romance. (I still get on jags where I’ll avidly consume romance novels.)

2. Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter. I had very few books as a child, but we did have all the Little House books. This one was, by far, my favorite. (Something to do with going through our own Long Winter in 1978-79, maybe.) There’s something very reassuring about that book, where the characters are taxed to the limit but keep figuring out ways to respond to the crisis they find themselves in…and at the end, there’s spring and one can breathe out again.

3. John Milton, Paradise Lost. I first read this in college with a wonderful tutor — we’d eat butter cookies and tea in her livingroom and work through the intricate (almost, to modern readers, impenetrably dense) allusions. It opened for me then a way of understanding Milton’s century and its preoccupations that I hadn’t gotten in my history classes. I love the drama of the narrative, the anguished badness of Satan, the recondite passages that demand your full attention. It also reminds me of being young and filled with energy and ideas when I’m feeling droopy. I don’t think this would work as a pick-me-up for everyone, but it works for me.

4. Stuart Little by E. B. White. Who can read that ending and not cry? It’s a book full of brave things, youth, yearnings…just the right thing for getting someone up and moving. In fact, pretty much any of his children’s books are good.

I’ll have to give the fifth one some thought. How about you? You can either reply in the comments or take it back to your own place if you need something to write about.


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