I miss my college English courses, listening to the professor dissect minutia in the text that I hadn’t noticed before, all while keeping an eye on Mr. Fox one row over and wondering, When will he finally ask me on a date?
Alas, those college years are finished. Now I am not enrolled in a single college course, I have Mr. Fox firmly in my grasp, and that leaves you and only you, dear friends, to humor me and read my thoughts on the novels I complete. Mr. Fox nods his head and tries to engage as I read him lines from the books I'm reading, but I can really only subject the poor man to that so many times. So now I'm subjecting you to it.
So… Over the summer I didn’t write about books because I only read one. ONE book took me three months. Charles Dickens’ Oliver Twist. It took me every bit of that summer vacation to finish because I didn’t enjoy reading it but was determined to do so. Cuz it’s a classic, you know? And that one phrase is such a part of our culture’s vernacular: “Please, sir, can I have some more?”
I wanted to have a better understanding of it than that one line. But it is a tough one, friends. Here is a small list of people who should not read it:
Those who want to adopt;
Those who are pregnant or nursing.
Reading how an innocent orphan child endures abuse from those charged to take care of him is difficult. Know that before you pick up the book. And also know that the happy pay-off at the end is weak compared to what you read over the first third of the book.
I’ve moved on to Anna Karenina. Why so many classics, you say? Because I have my Monday night Bible study that just picked back up, I prepare for Sunday school every other week, and so my spare reading time is limited. If I’m going to devote the precious few minutes of my evenings to a book then it needs to be interesting and well-written. Classics tend to fill those criteria nicely. AND authors from yore steered clear of base language. They got their point across without vulgarities and I appreciate that. Vulgarity is the lazy man’s way of speaking.
So anyway, I picked up Anna Karenina because the movie version is coming out soon and I could get the book for free via Project Gutenberg. But I had no idea what the book was about, other than it was a classic written by Tolstoy. About 150 pages in I peeked at Wikipedia and SPOILER: You guys, it’s about Anna’s life crumbling after her affair. Can I read 823 pages of sadness? I’m not sure. But I’m this far in and I feel like I have to finish what I’ve started, otherwise those characters are out there, hanging in limbo. I need closure for them and for myself.
Page 2 of 2 - That is where I am at night and in a few stolen moments during the day, reading about a once-admired woman who dealt with the effects of her terrible choices. And if you’ve read the book then stop me at the grocery store or at Dairy Queen and tell me. We can quickly dissect the minutia together.
Erin Fox is a weekly columnist for the Augusta Gazette and a busy mother and wife. Her popular blog - erin’s little corner can also be found on our webpage,augustagazette.com.