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Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Am I Playing Turtle?


I haven’t been inspired about blogging lately. Has it showed? Life has been full of serious matters that I didn’t feel like blogging about but couldn’t put out of my mind. The Scarlet Letter got me through two posts, the story taking me elsewhere for a while and bringing interesting literary questions to mind. Literary questions can be a nice change from personal concerns.


Looking at my list and bedside stack I see that re-reading has become a theme of the season for me. Anna Karenina and The Scarlet Letter were both novels I’d read before. I’ve read Ellen Airgood’s new novel, South of Superior (which will soon be available to the rest of you nonbooksellers), twice since receiving my advance reader’s copy. I’ve been dipping into de Toqueville’s Democracy in America and underlining sentences, something I never do unless, as in this case, it’s an old, falling-apart pocket paperback copy. A new friend in Australia—we are friends although we have not met in person—sent me Three Came Home, by Agnes Newton Keith, so I’m reading again for the first time in several years the author’s account of her three and half years in a Japanese prison camp in Borneo, and I have a stack of modern classic American fiction lined up to re-read: Catch-22; The Sun Also Rises; and Call of the Wild.

David tells me that all my re-reading isn’t doing much for the publishing industry. Well, I’m impatient for Elizabeth Buzzelli’s new mystery novel, Dead Dogs and Englishmen, coming out in July, and Bonnie Jo Campbell also has a July release scheduled, a new novel called Once Upon a River. We all have to wait until September for The Windward Shore, by Jerry Dennis, and even longer for a couple of new Jim Harrison titles, but there’s a new Jack Driscoll coming, The World of a Few Minutes Ago. I need to check the release date on that one....

["Grownups don't use ellipses," Jim Harrison said once. Uh....]


What is my point? Maybe I have two. The first is that re-reading is like visiting old friends, and I’ll never give it up. It can be a great comfort and not altogether undemanding, either, as old friends always bring new questions to us as we go through life. My second point is that there are going to be plenty of new, exciting books coming out in the months ahead, and I’ll be diving into those, too. With relish. You can bet on it.


Elvis has left the building.

8 comments:

Anonymous said...

Priceless...

P. J. Grath said...

Aw, shucks.

Kathy said...

I feel strangely comforted that you have been feeling a similar way. Perhaps it's simply a time for re-reading and re-absorbing old books from a different vantage point in life? As for Jim Harrison and his ellipses quote: Shame on him... :)

P. J. Grath said...

Kathy, I was so struck by reading your post after I had been working on mine. You, too! Here's to blogging when we feel like it!

Gerry said...

I love the turtle images just because.

You can write (and read) what you want when you want. You're grown. (Unlike Jim Harrison, who is just a big kid, although admittedly one who writes pretty well. OK, really well. Huh. Maybe if I gave up ellipses . . . nah. I'll do that when he gives up "otiose." Every writer has pet words, but "otiose"???)

You have my copy of SoS, right? And the birches are still there, right? So that's all right then.

P. J. Grath said...

No fair! I wanna be a kid, too! Sigh....

Go over to http://shotinlight.blogspot.com/2011/05/here-up-north-morning-in-dunes.html
and see more of the birches. As for SOUTH OF SUPERIOR, I will be getting my copies as soon as the publisher and distributor let loose of them. Did I tell you it's an Indie Next pick?

Dawn said...

I thought it was interesting that you and Kathy were both having moments of blog-less-ness (not a word but you know what I mean)at the same time. I think things are supposed to go in cycles and it takes some insight to recognize when we're in a cycle of rest. And to appreciate it at the time.

P. J. Grath said...

Yes, I think you're right, Dawn. Sometimes going for a walk in the woods feels like the most "productive" thing I can do. But now I feel challenged to come up with a new word. Something like 'amnesia,' maybe? But not exactly....