Bookworm

I think I can actually see it now!

The light at the end of the tunnel, that is.

I've been away from my blog for more than week. During that time I was a single mom for a weekend while my husband went away for some much-needed and well-deserved relaxation with the guys in a rustic little cabin up north. And I finished a couple of desktop publishing projects and got hired for a couple more -- hurray! I might be able to put Daniel in daycare next year after all! -- which pleases me no end, but of course cuts into my blogging time. And novel-reading time.

The light at the end of the tunnel. It's very far off, but unmistakeably there:

1. Joey and Lena walk themselves home from school now. They've been walking themselves to school all along, but coming home is new. I thought I would miss seeing the other parents. I don't. It's great!

2. And even better, Daniel is potty training! That is to say, I've discovered that when he's naked he does not wet the floor. So we're spending a lot of time at home. Naked.

3. His language is getting more complex too. Now he sometimes uses the pronoun "I," as in "I want!" Speech is still not very clear, though. Yesterday he was excitedly pointing out the window and saying (we thought) "Monkey diaper! Monkey diaper!" Then we saw the motorcycle.

4. And when I ask him to do something, instead of grinning devilishly and doing the opposite, he says "Okay, Mama" and does it. About a quarter of the time.

Anyway. As I said, I haven't read anything much lately. Of course I have to read a few pages of something -- anything! -- before falling asleep, so I picked up What's Bred in the Bone. I love Robertson Davies very dearly, but the tenth reread is just not as good as the first time. Especially if you've read all his other novels about ten times as well. Davies only has one voice. Read a random paragraph from any book, and you wouldn't know which book, or which character, except by the plot. His one voice is delightful, of course. And wise, and fascinating. And that's fine in Fifth Business, where the middle-aged first-person narrator is telling his own life story. But the delightfully wise and fascinating voice doesn't work so well for the twenty-ish hero of Bone. If he's so delightfully wise and fascinating why did he fall in love with that dorky Ismay?

Or is it my fault for reading the same book so many times? Is it wrong to expect a book to "last" forever?

12 Comments:

  • First, congratulations on the potty training! Good luck with naked time...

    I've found that some of the books I've read over and over again do lose their luster with time. I sometimes pick up nuances that I'd overlooked the first one (or three) times, but then it becomes too familiar. And then there are the books that I read many times when I was younger; upon picking those books up again I wonder what I found so appealing in the first place.

    posted by Blogger Suzanne on 11:49 AM  

  • We've been trying to potty train Alison (our almost 2 YO) for a while now; she was interested, or so we thought. We weren't getting anywhere until yesterday, when something clicked in her little brain. YAY! NO MORE STINKY DIAPERS!!

    It's amazing what makes me happy these days.

    I don't think it's wrong to expect a book to last, that's why some are called classics, right? I just think that some have more staying power than others.

    That, and our perspective changes as we get older, and so we bring different things to a book. Sometimes that's a good thing; other times it's not.

    posted by Blogger Melissa on 2:34 PM  

  • Congrats on the family milestones. Those kids are just growing right up on you!

    posted by Blogger Running2Ks on 5:38 PM  

  • Hmmm. So I'm now wondering if I should continue with Robertson Davies or not . . .

    Our English Dept. is going to read Salvaged Pages, a collection of Holocaust Diaries. I don't know if I have the fortitude for that right now. So I'm reading kids' books again.

    posted by Anonymous Laura on 12:57 AM  

  • yay, nudie boys. Best way to toilet train 'em they say (the first phase can be easier with boys 'cos they can see exactly where the wee comes from).

    "Monkey diaper" is a great non-english term for motorcycle - I'll have to remember it... a small child once said within my hearing to her mum "drobbis, mummy, drobbis" "Kate, what is 'drobbis'" I asked the mum. "Strawberries" came the reply, so now when I see them I think of this little voice..."drobbis"

    Books that last...well, if they're good enough...I was reflecting the other day on the books I read for comfort (the rice pudding of literature) and this was the thought: you don't read them 'cos they're good for you, or even especially _good_ but 'cos they're comfy somehow...

    posted by Blogger Mummy/Crit on 7:05 AM  

  • I think the problem is, a book will never change, but you do. So every time you read it, you're older and wiser yourself, so you start to question it more.

    posted by Blogger Jay on 12:59 PM  

  • Ah the day of potty training and naked kids. I remember them well!

    I don't think it's wrong to wish that a book could last forever. I've read and reread a few of my favorites more time than I care to count. I love doing that.

    posted by Blogger Adrienne on 7:08 PM  

  • Hi, I'm new to the blog here, so how old is Daniel? My Eden is 2.5, and I've been trying to potty train for a long time to no avail. I think maybe I started too early, although she was interested. I've tried the naked thing, but then she won't stop, uh, touching. ALL THE TIME. Maybe I just need to deal with it as the lesser of two evils.

    I've not read Robertson Davies, but I'll have to give it a try. I know that when I find an author I really love, I can read them over and over. Although I guess I understand the sentiments, as I had a similar burn out on OSC's not-quite-Ender-series. I read all the Ender books, then I started reading the complimentary books from Bean's perspective, and finally couldn't take it anymore (even though he's my favorite). Still haven't finished that particular series. Here's hoping that you continue to enjoy RD!

    posted by Anonymous Ahavah on 9:01 PM  

  • Be careful with the potty training, lest you breed another anal-retentive person. :)

    I know how you feel about certain books. I'm happy to donate many of the ones I've read, except for a core of about 10 books that I pick up over and over.

    You're normal.

    posted by Blogger Fred on 10:24 PM  

  • Congrads on your many recent accomplisments! :)I rarely re-read books more than twice. I enjoy doing so if there are folks to discuss the book with, as opposed to teaching the book to my English students. Then the experience is far more enriching. HOwever, I'm someone who thrives on stimulation and change in many areas. I derive comfort from other solid unchangeable "things" in my life, like a cozy reading chair, a soft well-worn, almost threadbare shirt, etc.

    I'm not so sure how "normal" you are ... JOKING! That's because you are a very interesting person who seems to approach life with adventure, too... ;)

    posted by Anonymous silvermoon on 11:39 PM  

  • I heard that Israeli parents don't start potty-training during the winter months because the kids can't be naked when it's cold. That works because there are only 2 winter months (usually)(except Jerusalem)!

    posted by Blogger Savtadotty on 11:08 AM  

  • The person whom you know and love as Julie Bookworm is too modest to admit spontaneously that she served as the prime expert informant regarding the phenomenon of rereading books while her progenitor was preparing a learned paper on the psychology of rereading.

    We had the tape recorder switched on over breakfast at a restaurant and discussed this phenomenon thoroughly and profitably -- one of the most pleasurable research expeditions ever undertaken by

    Yrs truly,

    Fatherworm.

    posted by Anonymous Anonymous on 9:31 AM