Like much of the country, we’ve been in the midst of a heatwave. For days now I’ve avoided opening the door or even the curtains, saying frequent prayers to the gods of electricity and freon, that they might continue to bless my house with the gift of cool air, thinking with great pity of those who are not so graciously blessed and must find other ways to keep survive.
Truthfully, I’ve not been fit for much these days except lying on the sofa bolstered by books and magazines. I lapped up Anna Quindlen’s new book, Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake. Let me tell you, reading her thoughts on middle age was akin to sitting down with an old friend I hadn’t spoken with in 30 years. From there I took on Natalie Serber’s collection of short stories, Shout Her Lovely Name, which was in some ways a disturbing dissection of the relationship between mothers and daughters, but nevertheless I was appreciative of Serber’s ability to go right to the secret heart of her characters and lay it bear.
Now I’m reading the magnificent work of art that is Marilynne Robinson’s Housekeeping. Somehow I’ve managed to miss reading this book for all these years (it was first published in 1980!!) and came across a brand new copy hiding away in the basement bookstack. It is a heart-wrenching beauty of a book, every sentence a poetic masterpiece that traces the legacy of loss and insecurity and makes your heart cry out for comfort and protection. Not light summer reading, certainly, but the kind of book that feeds the soul.
Today I will venture out, happy that a cool breeze has blown through during the night, to meet with friends and see the musical Wicked (another cultural phenomenon I seem to have missed until now).
Happy reading, and stay cool!