…is a virtue, one I value and must actively work on in my life. There’s so much falling-in-love, head-rushy fun in succumbing to impulse, and the pleasures of patience are an acquired taste.
Penelope Lively is doing her part to teaching me patience. I threw her book Judgment Day into my bag on the way out the door to PAX last Friday. A slim novel by an author of proven interest: perfect for a road trip where I didn’t expect much reading to get done (but one cannot leave the house for days without some sort of reading material in hand. One was raised properly.) A quick read, a quick post, et voila! Or so I thought. But, as with Moon Tiger, I can tell I’m going to have to let this one stew a while and then read it a second time to parse out all the signs and portents. For a graceful writer of swift prose, the woman does pack a frightful lot of symbolism in. All I can say for now is it was a good book, very moving, and did the classic Lively trick of giving us scenes from multiple viewpoints, so we understand how very little the characters are understanding of each other and the events around them. I’m hesitant to even put a stake in the sand about what I think the novel was ‘about’, given how the second read of Moon Tiger turned out. So, you’ll just have to stand by for Judgment Day. (Can I tell you how much I value an author with the ability to do this to me? To not only require a second read, but to reward it as richly as Lively does? She’s swoony, that’s what she is.)
Speaking of second reads, the Multnomah County Library finally coughed up a copy of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, after a 3-month wait, and I eagerly dove into it last night. Some 45 minutes later, I realized the book wasn’t going to put itself down, I would have to do it, if I expected any sleep at all. I was swept right back into the story, and I realized that even borrowing the book twice wouldn’t be enough: I will have to buy a copy of my own. Oh, perhaps I can practice this virtue of which I preach, and wait for it come around on Bookmooch…but even as I write that, I sense my patience isn’t great enough. It’s one for the ages, my dears; I might as well put some money into a good hardcover edition and be done with it. I can hardly wait to get a write-up of this one done for you, so I’m dashing through the second read much as I did the first (when I was up against an end-of-vacation deadline.) And then I’ll read it again, for myself alone, and I will savor it as carefully as I may. It will be my own copy, and I’ll notate the margins as does the heroine herself–a rare act of vandalism in my library, but this is a book that will never move on from my collection until I’m gone from the world, and why not leave my thoughts to my bookish heir, whomever that will be? Why not write my little bit of story in alongside Juliet’s and Elizabeth’s? It feels appropriate, somehow. But you will have to read the book yourselves, or at least wait until I get my review posted, to understand how.
Patience, dear reader.