Monthly Archives: June 2018

Burn of the week: Villette

Burn of the week is a segment in my favorite hit podcast, The Babysitters Club Club, which is totally worth checking out if you’re a fan of The Babysitters Club books, literary theory, or the 1990 fantasy-themed graphic adventure game Loom.

But my burn of the week today comes from Charlotte Brontë’s Villette, a book I’m reading for Book Riot’s Read Harder 2018 Challenge to fulfill the category “A book you hated or never finished.” I felt that hated was a strong word to use for this book, but I remembered only reading about half of it for a class a couple years back.

(I was wrong. I read maybe 20% of it before I stopped…and then wrote a short paper on something that happened in that first, like, 60 pages.)

So I’m getting through it now, thanks in large part to my new commute on Bart, which is letting me get through about 5% on each trip into or out of the city. Honestly this commute will be the only reason I get through any of the ebooks that I buy on sale because who can resist a book that costs only $1.99 and doesn’t take up any physical space in your home?

I’ve lost the thread. So without further ado, here’s my burn of the week, from Villette‘s first-person main character, Lucy Snowe, on the beautiful but selfish Ginevra Fanshawe:

Courtseying with mock respect, Ginevra said: “I would not be you for a kingdom.”

The remark was too naive to rouse anger; I merely said: “Very good.”

“And what would you give to be me?” she inquired.

“Not a bad sixpence—strange as it may sound,” I replied. “You are but a poor creature.”

“You don’t think so in your heart.”

“No; for in my heart you have not the outline of a place: I only occasionally turn you over in my brain.”

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So that’s what I’m up to these days. ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

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Bedtime? More like badtime, am I right?

Parents joke through their teeth about bedtimes, but it’s not really a joke. It’s a well-known fact that for parents, bedtime is the absolute worst time of the day. For our family specifically, it seems like everything can be going great, everyone is enjoying themselves, baths are silly, reading books is cuddly and sweet, they want to give a bunch of hugs and kisses, we leave their room smiling and happy…we sit down on the couch, take a deep breath, and before we can even release it, one kid is wandering out into the living room to ask if he can eat your dinner (food he wouldn’t deign to touch if it was served to him at 6pm), or the other kid is calling lustily from her crib, “I need a stuffed animal from the hammock! I need a new diaper! MOOOOOOMMMMMMYYYYYY! What do deers eat?”

A casualty of having children who get more mobile and aware has been relaxing evenings where Drew and I are able to have long conversations that traverse many topics and end with a satisfying conclusion. Whether kids are awake, asleep, or in that in-between period (which seems to last HOURS), we’re constantly being interrupted in sentence, thought, or bite of dinner we put off until 8pm.

I realized this Sunday that it makes me question everything I say. Because if I’m going to be interrupted, I don’t want to have to come back, going, “What was I saying?” and be reminded that it was something stupid or pointless. Which is unfortunate, because I think a lot of nighttime unwinding conversation is just little stories about your day or something you saw online or something weird someone said, stories that don’t necessarily have a lot of heft.

On Sunday, I was in the middle of trying to tell Drew about the Neil Patrick Harris / Rachel Bloom Tony Awards Twitter drama (I’m on Rachel Bloom’s side all the way here), and halfway through reading NPH’s tweet out loud, my eldest child comes marching out of his room to see…I don’t even know. I have no idea what he wanted. Because I leapt up off the couch and literally chased him back to his room, crying desperately, “I just want to tell a joke! I just want to get through a SINGLE STORY WITHOUT BEING INTERRUPTED!”

After that I couldn’t even finish the story. Like, what was even the point of what I was saying. It’s so embarrassing to be second-guessing what you’re saying – to have to come back and say, “Okay, settle back in while I read you the second half of the tweet – and then what Rachel said!” That’s just stupid.

To Drew’s credit, he waited about two hours, and then said kindly, “Can you please do me a favor? And finish your Neil Patrick Harris / Rachel Bloom story?” And I did. But I’m not gonna lie – it didn’t hold the same pleasure for me that it would have if I’d gotten through it in the moment. But I have faith that one day I’ll be free to read tweets out loud to Drew, and I’m sure he’s as eager as I am for that day to come. Because what could be more fun for him?

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