Sunday, 26 October 2008

Distraction technique

I am SO sick of applying for jobs, so instead I will entertain myself (and hopefully others as well) by distracting myself with books.

I suddenly realised this week that I've been reading an awful lot of fiction over the past months, and my non fiction rate has slipped dramatically. This needs to be remedied, and so biography will be the theme for the next few weeks.

Accordingly, I have raided my shelves and also the library and have a stack that I intend to make my way through over the next weeks, coupled with some Edith Wharton fiction.

First up is 'The Real Mrs Miniver'. I have just finished 'Mrs Miniver', loved it in an entirely different way from loving the film, and find that Jan Stuther must be an interesting person to know about.
Similarly so is Dodie Smith, and so I've snatched the chance to read her biography, and might have to delve back into 'I Capture the Castle', which inspired me so much when I first read it.

Sneaking it's way to the top of the pile is 'Becoming Queen' by Kate Williams. I read 'England's Mistress' in one sitting in early February this year, and was captivated by the spirit that was Emma Hamilton - so different from the person played by Vivien Leigh in 'That Hamilton Woman'. I even found two coloured prints of Romney portraits in Oxford's print shop, which I really need to get framed! Anyway, bloggers like Random Jottings are waxing lyrical about it, and I have always been fascinated by the Victorian period and what led up to it, so am sure it will be a wonderful read.

Dovegreyreader's post on wartime literature, in the build up to the ninetieth anniversary of the ending of the great war, has persuaded me that I really ought to read 'Testament of Youth' by Vera Brittain.

Meanwhile, back in the fiction department, I have been inspired to read more of Edith Wharton's collection. It's been over two years since I finished my undergraduate disseration on Wharton and Henry James (entitled 'Transatlantic Contrasts: James, Wharton and the writing of displacement') and I think that it's now time to take these two up again. As an interesting side note, it was mentioned recently that Edith Wharton's very wealthy father had a most impressive library of seven to eight hundred books .... it goes to show how times have changed, doesn't it? How difficult to make distinctions between wealth, when nowadays a not very wealthy person (i.e. me) can have over 700 books before their 24th birthday.

Now though I'm going to write a letter. Seeing as how I'm such an advocate of this form of communication, I've been hopelessly lax in the last few months!

5 comments:

Peta said...

Applying for jobs does take such an awfully long time (which can be very dispiriting) but it is worth putting in the time to get your application just right. Although with that TBR pile, it sounds like you have far more interesting things to do instead! Good luck with the job search.

oxford-reader said...

My main problems are that I apply for things that are beyond me, because they sound so fantastic, and also that I leave them too late. I was attempting one this morning for Literature Specialist in the British Council, due for tomorrow, and just didn't think I could do it justice.
Anyway - books are my comfort and are very good for taking my mind off things!
Thanks for the good luck wishes :-) something will turn up, as a certain literary gent is wont to say!

brooksideelaine said...

Being a Legal PA I am lucky enough to be in a position where I can always find work. In the last couple of years, after working for the Boss from Hell for ages and finally breaking free, I have been doing contract work and now have the ideal job for the next six months, part time and near Liverpool Street station so lots more time at home and lots more time to read.

Have just finished Becoming Queen and loved every minute of it. Queen V fascinates me, always has done and I pounce on any new book about here.

I am a huge Wharton fan and can always pick up and read any of her books anywhere at any time - I don't think she ever wrote one that was not spot on

Pink Lady Bug said...

I am currently reading a Jan Struther's "Try Anything Twice" and loving it.

oxford-reader said...

Good luck with the new job Elaine! I'm just about to curl up (with the snow flurrying outside) with Becoming Queen before Spooks at 9pm!