Part of the magic--for me at least--of a summer vacation away from the house is the uninterrupted time in which I feel completely free to read. No laundry beckoning, long-postponed chores awaiting, phones ringing--just time to do what I wish. And I wish to read. In just the last few days, with a friend at her beach house, I've been working through one to-do list--the one I posted earlier.
I first finished my umpteenth re-read of Pride and Prejudice, this time keeping notes as I wrote: chapter summaries, character development, motifs running through the narrative--the kinds of things only my kind (English teachers) actually enjoy.
Next I read The Music Lesson by Victor Wooten, a Nashville bass player. The book is so different from anything I usually read, but it was fascinating. I'm not exactly sure how to classify it: It's a little like a cross between The Alchemist and The Shack--but not like either. The book describes the lessons learned from a very nontraditional man who appears at the narrators home--out of nowhere--and teaches him lessons about Music--or Life. He enlists a smaller faculty to help him--an eleven-year-old boy, a homeless man, and a fortune teller/gift wrapper dressed in purple.
Now I'm almost through Sheila Kay Adams' My Old True Love, set in "Bloody Madison" County North Carolina around the time of the Civil War. The book is written in Southern dialect so true, I can hear my grandmother talking through it. Although I am not reading this book for the same
educational purposes as I read Pride and Prejudice, I am again reading with pen in hand, making notes to myself.
What has happened, as it always does, is that the three vastly different books have common threads. Both Pride and Prejudice and My Old True Love explore the success of "playing hard to get. My Old True Love discussion of the sounds of empty space, building on a concept in The Music Lesson.
In the meantime, I have broken up the fiction with Southern Living--deciding how we'll use the okra, homegrown tomatoes, and fresh seafood in the beachhouse kitchen. No symbolism there--and the only empty space--our stomachs--only temporary.