It’s been the holidays (back to work in the morning!), so it would make sense that I’d do more crocheting, reading, and, um, blogging, than otherwise. Right?
Apparently not. Actually, I have been reading, just not whole books. I’ve been reading/proofing/formatting pages of books, stories and other works over at Distributed Proofreaders, still. I am Smooth Reading one whole book, which I’ll let you know about shortly, when I finish it. It’s another of those somewhat-silly-but-fun light romances that come up on Librivox regularly, although it’ll be awhile before this one gets there.
Anyway, the tablecloth has slowed down, but will probably become my commuting piece, at least until I decide it really is too bulky, which will get it going again. And I do have four books for you:
240. The Beasts of Tarzan by Edgar Rice Burroughs
So I seem to be in a phase of really silly old stories, and I think I’ll be working my way through all of the Tarzan books on Project Gutenberg. This may or may not be the most ridiculous yet. It’s certainly the one where I began noticing that Jane doesn’t have a defined character or personality for Burroughs – she simply plays whatever female role he wants in the particular story. In the first she was beautiful, and the first woman Tarzan had been attracted to, and so he falls in love with her, but she feels honour-bound to another. (Just the first of her bizarre senses of the honourable course.) She’s mostly passive. In the second she can’t speak her mind until the very last moment, and so makes everyone involved unhappy for months on end. In the third – this one – she suddenly goes all mother-bear, active and willing to do whatever. I’m currently reading the fourth, and in the beginning, at least, she’s spent years forcing her husband and son into the restricted role in society she thinks she wants for them. Instead of her being a growing, important protagonist, she’s a foil to make Tarzan do stupid things.
241. The Illustrated Guide to Massage and Aromatherapy edited by Catherine Stuart
Yes, I’ve read it right through, and I’ve also tried out some of the suggestions for massaging one’s own feet, hands, neck and back. There’s lots more than that in the book, of course, and it is very well illustrated with clear photographs and captions. It is good for explaining what is likely to happen in a professional session of Indian and other head massage, ‘general’ body massage, Shiatsu, pedicures, manicures, aromatherapy, reflexology, Reiki, and more, as well as explaining how an amateur can try many of them out at home. It also talks about how each of them should and should not be used by people of different ages and medical situations. I especially like the foot massage before going to sleep, which has you squirt whatever light cream or whatever on, and then have the feet massage each other, so you don’t have to get up again to wash your hands.
242. Understood Betsy by Dorothy Canfield Fisher
I have to wonder just how many orphaned girls really did get passed around between relatives and others (many of whom didn’t want them), considering how much of a staple of classic children’s (especially girls’) literature it is. (I’m thinking of Pollyanna, Anne of Green Gables, Eight Cousins, The Secret Garden, A Little Princess off the top of my head, but there are plenty of others. Note that most of these have sequels.)
Anyway, this is not so well known an example of the genre as those others, but it certainly has its merits (this reading not the least of them! – There is apparently another on Librivox, which I haven’t heard and so cannot comment on.) In this case, Elizabeth Ann, later known as Betsy, thankfully does have at least two sets of relatives who do want her, so that when sickness in the family she has grown up with until age nine means she must live elsewhere for a time, she can go to the Putneys, where she has a very different life from the very sheltered city existence she had experienced so far. She grows to enjoy living on the farm, and eventually must decide where she will stay.
243. Moby Dick by Herman Melville
I finally finished it, and although I do appreciate it a little more than I did before, I amn’t convinced it will be often reread by me. The reading is very good, but I just amn’t clear what Melville was trying to do, and therefore amn’t enthralled by it. A lot of the dialogue sounded to me like a play script. It’s late, and I amn’t really doing this justice. Most of what I said before stands.