I love retirement!! As a teacher, even in the summer, I found I didn’t have enough time to do everything I wanted to do, let alone read everything I wanted to read. I have to admit that I’m still not reading as much as I’d like, commitments call (the lawn, the garden, still cleaning out school things, downsizing, etc.), but the blog is helping keep me to my task more than I might otherwise do. There are lots of great, classical books I’ve never read, especially if they weren’t appropriate for the grade 5/6 level which I taught most of my 25 years in teaching.
I’m reading magazines more now as well. There is a very interesting profile by Ian Parker in the June 2nd edition of The New Yorker about author Edward St. Aubyn. St. Aubyn has written what Parker calls “five highly autobiographical novels, in which extremes of familial cruelty and social snobbery are described with a tart precision that is [itself] not quite free of cruelty and snobbery.” Sometimes referred to as the “misery memoir” genre, these have become quite popular even in Britain where such fiction is pervasive. St. Aubyn’s fictional family, the Melroses, features a vicious, and arrogant upper crust father cruelly using his son as a pawn in his antagonistic attitude toward his younger heiress wife. The theme in this series is one of “trauma and imperfect recovery”. ST. Aubyn seems, however, to have come to an acceptance, if a somewhat uneasy one, with what his life has become. From the article, I’m left uncertain as to how much of his father’s cruelty and snobbery have become part of St. Aubyn’s own life. The article is certainly worth the read and perhaps better than reading the whole saga of the Melrose family which sounds too devastatingly tragic and depressing for me, at least right now.
But his latest work, Lost for Words: A Novel, is a departure from his autobiographical novels and more of an attempt at fun and I think I might truly enjoy it. The setting is a fictional literary prize awards event and relates anecdotes that take place during it — very light and witty. Parker says St. Aubyn speaks as he writes; or perhaps it’s the other way ’round. At any rate, I’m adding him to my list (which is growing quite long) and I can hardly wait to finish yard and house and spend most of my time reading and writing. Enjoy the article; maybe St. Aubyn’s works will interest you as well.