Tuesday, March 01, 2005

March

Geraldine Brooks' Year of Wonders, a novel about the plague of 1666 as experienced in an isolated village in England, was a book I just had to buy in hardback. My reading of it, however, was then plagued with a series of distractions—a weekend trip to DC to see friends and attend Laura Bush's first annual book festival and see Dwight Yoakam at Wolf Trap during which time I was the last car hit in a four-car accident (man, did that ever eat up a lot of time) and I got Kinky Friedman's autograph and I found out I'd won an almost complete set of Alias Smith and Jones videos for a much higher price than anyone sensible (i.e., L.) could have imagined in an ebay auction due to my having set my reserve in the stratosphere prior to leaving for DC. . . Well, surely I'd be able to concentrate on the book once I was back home.

But the day after I returned was Sept. 11. It was a feat of sheer endurance to complete Year of Wonders much later that month, and Uncle Tom's Cabin, which I read immediately afterwards, did nothing to dispel the the drudgery of reading. I had to resort to rereading the screenplay to Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and the script to the pilot of Alias Smith and Jones for the nth time before the joy of reading returned to me.

Anyway, that's all background for why I want to give Geraldine Brooks another chance to totally engage me. Her new novel, March, told from the perspective of the father of the March sisters in Little Women, who served as a stand-in for Bronson Alcott, Louisa May's own father, seems a good place to start. The novel is reviewed today in the Christian Science Monitor. The cover is lovely. This is one I'll get around to, but definitely won't buy in hardback. And I want to read more about Alcott, probably via Carlos Baker's Emerson Among the Eccentrics, before I do.

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