Friday ramblings

This is going to be a rambling, pointless post because I’m feeling rather like Danielle is today, without the headache (although that may be on the way). I spent all afternoon in an intense meeting on testing procedures to place students into the proper English class, which was, as you can imagine, not so incredibly thrilling. I like my job, except for all the meetings. (Isn’t that true for tons of people? How many of you agree with me?)

I do, however, have the pleasure of picking up Penelope Lively’s novel Moon Tiger this evening. I began it last night and after only a few pages I could tell it’s something I will like. It’s got an older narrator, a woman in a hospital with cancer, who is looking back at her life. She’s an historian, and so she’s thinking about her life as history and about history itself; it sort of flows through her head and out onto the page in a random, rambling way. But themes are emerging, especially having to do with archeological metaphors and rock strata — the idea of digging through the layers of history, one’s own history and world history.

I’m determined to finish Waverley this weekend; one good push should do it, as I have fewer than 50 pages left. Believe it or not, I’m not entirely opposed to reading another Scott novel at some point in my life. I guess you could call me hopelessly optimistic, but I just might like Ivanhoe or some of the other ones. I’d kind of like to find out.

I’m working my way slowly through Dale Spender’s Mothers of the Novel and am finding it fascinating; look for a post on Aphra Behn and/or Delariviere Manly and/or Eliza Haywood sometime soon. These are the “fair triumvirate of wits,” three writers often mocked by other, mostly male, writers of the day for their hugely popular, often scandalous writing. They all seem to be very prolific, energetic, courageous writers determined to make their living from writing in a time when it was very hard for a woman to do so.

Okay, off to the books!


Filed under Books, Life

9 responses to “Friday ramblings

  1. What is it with academia and meetings (well, no doubt corporate America is just as bad or maybe worse). I’m not even a faculty member and I have never gone to as many worthless meetings in one week in my life. But oh well, they pay me, so I shouldn’t complain! 🙂 My headache disappeared after work when I stopped in at a local used bookstore (amazing how all the tension just drains away when I am surrounded by books), and I’ve spent tonight getting caught up on my blog reading. I just about bought an Aphra Behn book at the bookstore tonight, but I already had several other books in hand and as they had multiple copies I will save it for next time. I am looking forward to hearing more about the Spender book–as well as the Lively–I’ve never read her, but she sounds good.


  2. Oh I hate the meetings. I always sneak in late at the back and try to have an excuse to leave early! I’m so glad you’re enjoying Moon Tiger so far! And I like Dale Spender so must get hold of that book – it sounds fascinating.


  3. I agree. Meetings are grim. To me, they are usually a chance for posturing and time wasting. I’ve heard of managers who hold meetings while everybody stands, and if I were ever a boss, that’s the way I’d do it.

    Enjoy a lovely weekend of reading and hope you feel better soon.


  4. Edd

    This comment may or may not get through – according to all my diagnostics, the hard drive is going bad. But Dorothy and Danielle, the continual phenomenon of “The Meeting” is not just an academia annoyance. The proverbial meeting takes place in every profession large or small.


  5. I sympathize with you about meetings. I also spent my Friday afternoon in a long, intense one. But, like Danielle, I banished it from my mind with a trip to the bookstore en route home. On a whim, I bought a book I’d never heard anything about before and it has turned out to be wonderful (“Dora Bruder” by Patrick Modiano, about which you will hear more on my blog anon).

    I’ve never read any Lively and I have been meaning to, so I’m keen to hear more as you work your way through “Moon Tiger.” And I admire your staying power with Sir Walter! I haven’t yet got beyond the introduction to “The Heart of Midlothian”…


  6. Danielle — I do think you’d like Lively! I listened to her novel The Photograph not too long ago and really liked it. And yes, I think meetings are the bane of people’s working lives everywhere …

    Now that’s a good strategy Litlove! Spender is a fabulous source of information — the book is from the 1980s, and so a bit dated, but still useful.

    Thank you Charlotte — I’m all recovered! Meetings where everyone stands would certainly be shorter, wouldn’t they? At least, I’d hope so.

    Edd — I believe you’re right. Really, we can’t do without them completely, but cutting back would be nice, wouldn’t it?

    Kate, now a trip to the bookstore would work wonders I would think! I’ll look forward to your post. And I finished Waverley today! Yay!


  7. Oh, the dreaded meetings! 🙂 I lost several minutes of my life last week to a discussion (during our weekly ‘forum’) about whose responsibility it was to remove a tub of old cream cheese from our staff fridge. No one was admiting responsibility and it was starting to smell, so… Can you believe there was talk of calling in a health and safety rep? I actually wanted to cry. It amazes me that such serious and seriously educated people can bring themselves to discuss such things…


  8. I’m with you on the meetings. Very seldom is anything actually accomplished in them. I always try to position myself so I can stare out a window.


  9. Victoria — oh, that’s a good story. I mean, a terrible one. It reminded me of the last union meeting I went to where we spent a good bit of time talking about whether we should spend union money on pizza for our meetings. Ugh.

    Stefanie — yes, you have to have some kind of outlet, don’t you?!


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