Wednesday, October 03, 2007

“Martyrs, my friend, have to choose between being forgotten, mocked or used. As for being understood -- never.” *

I was ready to ditch Mirabillis but when I started thinking of buying it, to get through the rest of the story and learn the fates of its complex characters, I realized I should just renew it. Some books are worth the work; this might be one of them.

Citizen Vince was an enjoyable read, and I will definitely read other Jess Walter books, but it didn’t knock my socks off. Nonetheless, it was a fun, well-written, and smart quick read.

My copy of Death Warmed Over: Funeral Food, Rituals, and Customs from Around the World arrived in the mail yesterday; I was spurred to buy this book after reading, and then discussing with Jess, the funeral food chapter in Michael Lee West’s wonderful cookbook/memoir Consuming Passions. I am looking forward to perusing the recipes. Although I can say with certainty I will never attempt the Etruscan grape bread. Yuck.

I have started Andrea Barrett’s newest novel, The Air We Breathe. Barrett’s novels are slow, enveloping, lovely books; reading one is like having a warm bath and then a cup of tea tucked up in bed – her prose is gorgeous and deliberate, the scientific research is impeccable yet fascinating, and her pacing is perfect. You can’t rush through a Barrett novel, any more than you should rush through the bath and the tea. Comfort reading for the intelligent and curious.

Richard Russo’s latest tome – the book is a good two and a half inches thick – is sitting on my nightstand. Russo is also not an author to rush through; this book may well sit there for several months while I await the perfect few days to read it in peace. It may even wait till February when the new baby comes; the two days I spent in the hospital after Terzo’s birth were the closest I have come to a real vacation in seven years. And everyone knows you need a decent book to read on vacation.

Today I must take Primo to the pediatrician, for some sort of weird bug bite which has caused his left ear to swell up to half again its normal size and turn beet-red; take the dog to the vet to see what’s up with his stinky ears; stop at the grocery store for, at the very least, dog food, bread, and diapers; edit a short paper I promised a client by Friday; find the meatloaf I froze last month, that is somewhere in the freezer, to thaw for dinner tonight; buy a rake (so I can clean the leaves up so we don’t have hidden dog poop in the yard anymore). In addition, I am seriously contemplating quitting my job; H is supportive but not pressuring. There is no doubt it would make life easier in many ways. But quitting a job is always a stressful thing, especially since, even though I don’t wish to burn any bridges and would quit professionally (written two weeks’ notice, etc.), the bridges at this place will self-immolate because that’s the kind of place it is. Self-immolation is pretty much the name of the game there. Martyrdom rules. Not so sure I want to be a martyr.


*Albert Camus


jenny said...

stinky ears are generally a sign of ear infection (especially with floppy eared dogs). So, good luck with that. Our dog's had it a few times and I can't stomach the ear cleaning out thing. Definitely a job for the husband.

Good luck with the job decision...

Gina said...

I have spent my adult life trying to balance my martyr tendencies with my need to, you know, not be such a damned martyr. It's no easy fight.

I wouldn't worry about the job if I were you. Even if you *do* burn the bridge, you don't necessarily like the place anyway. Right?

Iamthebookworm said...

Hope the errands went well! I've noticed that I have martyr tendencies.

Kathy said...

Not understanding the concept of martyrdom at the time, when I was a kid, I wanted to be a martyr. Now I no longer wish to be but sometimes find that I am.

Jess said...

I'm intrigued by Death Warmed Over - I might have to take a look at that. I'm looking forward to trying that sweet potato thingamabob this fall. Fall foods have to be one of my favorite things about fall.

On the dog vs cat sympathy thing, I can't say I would respond to either. Except, obviously, to say that I don't care. I'm not an animal person.