Friday, May 04, 2012

Comfort Reading

This time last year we were marvelling at the dryness of the field paths available to us for longer range walking.  Not this year.  Like everywhere else, Essex is sodden, with swollen rivers and incipient flooding.  Those poor souls down alonside the river, who have been through it before, have set their floodgates in place, though how effective they would be, who knows?

We are on higher ground in the ancient village centre, so not likely to flood.  Instead, as the rain falls I find myself drawn to the rereading of old favourites. 

First, "The Shipping News" by E. Annie Proulx.   The terse style of the opening of this book never fails to amaze me.  Then, the picture of that community in Newfoundland is so convincing, even while you know it is complete fiction.  But it is in the fate of the central character that it offers the kind of life affirmation which is a really good antidote if you have overdosed on Scandinavian crime fiction.

Then, "Cold Mountain" by Charles Frazier.

This has a different kind of scope and ambition, with the analogy of "The Odyssey" always somewhere in mind.  But it also has really distinctive characters, and a constant stream of adventures.
Yet the thing that engages me here, aside from the romantic storyline, is the whole idea of survival - of living off the land and managing on almost nothing.

Both of these novels have been made into films which we also really enjoy rewatching, but the films are not as fully rounded as the books, for some reason.

Knitting, in this rainy season, has taken an odd turn.  I discovered a new yarn shop in Lavenham, where they had this yarn dyed with woad.  I thought it might make a scarf, but the yarn turns out rather too scratchy, so I am making a bag.  I rather see this as being to contain a packed lunch, in its plastic box.  We'll see.


SmitoniusAndSonata said...

I do like the idea of your packing your lunch in a " kerchief dyed with woad " ( well OK , a beautifully knitted little bag) . It conjures up visions of you striding out with a crust of barley bread and a slab of cold pease pudding !

Raveller said...

Love the books and the kerchief. How about a napkin?