Books Magazine

Sunday Salon: Soothing a Stagnant Spirit

By Bellezza @bellezzamjs

Such a week it's been. From my son in the ER on Monday, which fortunately turned out to be too much Spring Break for just one boy; to report cards, comment cards, profiles of progress all due Wednesday, and a myriad of other appointments and pieces of bureaucracy in between, I woke up exhausted today. Exhausted and sad.

Sometimes life's obligations wear me out.

But it wasn't any easier being a child. I didn't like being a child very much because no matter how powerless I feel now, it is nothing compared to how I felt dictated to as a child. Teachers overshadowed my life eight hours a day and parents the other fourteen.

I've never liked being told what to do even though I am generally compliant.

I'd much rather chart my own course, which basically means sit in my chair and read. Admittedly, that's not a very dangerous course. But, it is filled with drama in its own way. Reading the books as I have for the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize at breakneck speed (although when compared to the other Jury members clocks in at a snail's pace), has been hugely rewarding. I feel I have been to Berlin, to Austria, to Colombia, to Korea and Japan. And I have been there with fellow bibliophiles by my side.

Just last night, I read half of Paula McLain's latest book, Circling The Sun. It is about Beryl Markham, of West With The Night fame, of her relationship with Karen and Denys of Out of Africa fame. I cannot put it down.

So these things cheer me up: books (most excellently written), adventures (albeit taken vicariously), love triangles (that aren't mine). They assuage the bitterness of my soul from weeks like this, and soothe a stagnant spirit.


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