I’m sick of my laptop, my work, this house, my days in general, and I’m some combination of disagreeable and bored, I suppose. I’m now taking this pandemic on by trying to think of it as just today, because the thought of this locked-down life dragging on for another month or three or six feels … untenable, honestly.
I’m rolling my eyes at myself, just typing that. Anyway. You know what I’ve been doing? Combing my bookshelves and re-reading actual books, all old favorites. I don’t want any surprises, or anything that seems remotely like real, modern life pre-COVID. And I’ve stuck with books I’ve read so many times I could probably quote bits of them from memory.
In the last couple of weeks I’ve re-read L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables and E. F. Benson’s Mapp and Lucia, the series is a hoot, 1930s village life in England where nothing (much) happens, I’ll probably go back and read another one or two. I’ve re-read my favorite two books of Mary Stewart’s beloved Merlin trilogy, The Crystal Cave (Merlin’s boyhood) and The Hollow Hills (the birth of Arthur), a familiar tale re-told quite wonderfully from Merlin’s perspective. Now I’ve moved on (or, I guess, backward in history) to Alexander the Great’s boyhood in Mary Renault’s Fire from Heaven.
You know what’s on my bookshelf that I’m not re-reading right now? David Benioff’s City of Thieves, about the Siege of Leningrad, which I read years ago; I kept it because it’s so beautifully written, equal parts astonishing and appalling. Who knows, maybe a fresh read would remind me of how good I really have it, tucked up in my nice, warm house with plenty of food and bored out of my mind. Probably not, though. If I start feeling adventurous maybe I’ll crack open Joanna Rakoff’s My Salinger Year that’s still sitting here unread on my bedside table.
So, what are you up to? Did you get any fragrances for Valentine’s Day? What are you reading? Any old favorites, or something new?