Well, I haven’t done a pooterish, list-y, rambling kind of post in a while, and since I’m feeling fatigued after getting practically no sleep last night and don’t want to think too hard, this evening seems like a good time for one. I’d like to post on Seneca again, and also on Dale Spender, but those posts will have to wait. I suffer insomnia only occasionally, but when I do, it really knocks me down hard. I desperately need my sleep! And hours and hours and hours of it!
So, I’m going away this weekend. I’ll be heading to Albuquerque to attend a conference. This should be fun, right? It’s a literary conference, and I’ll be presenting a paper of my own and listening to other people read theirs; we’ll all be talking about books and learning new things and generally having fun.
Except I hate conferences. I can’t tell you how much I’d prefer to stay home. I don’t like presenting papers of my own — the whole process makes me nervous. I don’t like listening to other people’s papers because I don’t listen well, being an extremely visual person. And I don’t like the feeling that I should be mingling, meeting people, making connections, and generally impressing people with my brilliance, instead of skulking about in my hotel room watching television, which is what I generally do.
So I’ll cheer myself up by thinking about what books I might possibly bring with me. I should be ready to begin a new novel or two, and maybe a new nonfiction book. So what sounds good?
- I just mooched Margaret Forster’s novel Lady’s Maid, which Litlove recently wrote about; it’s about Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s maid Elizabeth Wilson and their vexed relationship. It’s long and looks fun — perfect for airports, maybe?
- I’ve been in the mood for another long 18C or 19C novel, especially after reading about so many interesting authors from Dale Spender’s book, so perhaps Sophia Lee’s The Recess, subtitled “A Tale of Other Times”? Here’s what Amazon says: “First published in an era when most novels about young women concentrated on courtship and ended with marriage, The Recess (1783-1785) daringly portrays women involved in political intrigues, overseas journeys, and even warfare. The novel is set during the reign of Elizabeth I and features twin narrators, who are daughters of Mary, Queen of Scots, by a secret marriage. One of the earliest novels to convey the plot from multiple points of view, it was wildly popular in its day.” Sounds good, doesn’t it?
- But I need to make sure I have some comfort reading with me; I might need to be cheered up if my paper presentation doesn’t go well. I’ve got an Alison Lurie novel on my shelves, The Last Resort; she’s always good for a smart, entertaining read.
- And for nonfiction? I have a couple short things that would work, books I could possibly finish during the long plane ride, such as Gabriel Zaid’s So Many Books or Elizabeth Hardwick’s collection of essays Seduction and Betrayal. Long nonfiction books probably wouldn’t work, as I might tire of them, but these would be perfect.
- Oh, and I have to bring the book I’m presenting on, of course, just in case I want to remind myself of some of the details; it’s this one, Sarah Fielding’s The Adventures of David Simple.