Hello again (or just hello if this is the first entry you've seen!)
It's Friday afternoon and I'm sitting at my desk at home rather than contemplating leaving the office to join the horrible, heaving mass that is London Bridge station on a Friday afternoon. That's not to say there were some nice things about the journey - it was a good way to spend 30 or 40 minutes with a book or catching up on the internet but I have to say that this is much less stressful.
All that is, of course, by way of saying that Tuesday was my final day at work and it was a very strange experience. It was lovely to get the most gorgeous present off three friends and I got an amazing official leaving present which will be incredibly useful in buying all the books I need for my MA (hopefully). I had a wonderful speech from a friend who had remembered far more of the rubbish I had told him over the years than I'm sure is good for his health. It makes me ashamed to think of the waffle I have passed on. In the evening we had lovely drinks & thank you to all for you for your lovely words, your really kind presents and for coming to make sure I had really gone. Particular thanks to two of you for staying to the bitter end and for the lovely meal, especially as you both had work the next day.
So since then it has, I suppose, felt a bit like a three day weekend. I've been for walks in the sunshine (sorry to rub it in), done shopping and generally been able to prepare for going on holiday in a much less rushed way than normal. It does feel weird though, knowing that everyone is still in the office doing what they were doing whilst I was there and I do miss talking to so many of you. We've been through a lot together over these years.
We're discussing Northanger Abbey this week on my Jane Austen course (where else) - very interesting. Discussions around is she parodying Gothic or Gothic readers? I think a little of both and of course there is a lot of appeal to the vanity of the reader so perhaps she is mocking us too. Northanger Abbey is very concerned with the issue of the danger of reading novels which was extremely topical around the turn of the nineteenth century. Critics felt that young girls would be poorly influenced by the books they read. This is a debate well and truly settled of course - only it isn't. I had a look on the Guardian book pages today & was amused to see this which is about the dangers of reading romantic novels for women. Good to know the world moves on isn't it!
We also continue with Ceremony on the Modern American Novel course. It hasn't really been much of a favourite (although I really like it) so discussions are reasonably limited on this one. We've been looking at the way Silko interweaves poetry and prose. I think her prose writing is very poetic: there's a lot of repetition, imagery and a real rhythm to it. We also had to vote whether she should have revealed some of the tribal ceremonies in the novel - it is very evenly balanced. I had to think long and hard about this one. I know many Native American critics are unhappy she has talked about something they hold sacred but I do think it adds to the novel and to our understanding of Native American practices and surely than can only be a good thing?
I will be taking Pride and Prejudice, Beloved and Mansfield Park on holiday so will updated you on those when I return. P&P is a re-read (who can read it too often) but the others are new to me so ... If you have read any of these books or want to say anything about any other book please feel free to comment. I'd like to hear from you.
I'll be back after my holiday to bore you to death with pictures and tales from my adventures. Any burglars reading this - please be aware there will be someone at home the whole time I'm gone so sorry!
Look forward to seeing you soon & thanks again for everything.