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AUTUMN BEAUTY & A BOOK DILEMMA
Most years, autumn here in southern Sweden is an afterthought. A quick flash through gold to brown and ashes! ashes! all fall down! Autumn is usually rainy, sodden, darkening and the leaves don't stand a chance: they fall with the rain to lie in decaying circles beneath suddenly bare branches.

This year, O! we've been blessed by cold, clear days and a long stretch of solid blue sky and flame-tipped, flame-topped foliage. The birches are golden, the maples are red, and everything else is in between: orange, pumpkin, crimson, amber, saffron, carrot, coral, terracotta, rust, umber, copper, bronze.

Most of the trees are still green underneath, so it looks as if they are all slowly burning down, candled in autumn colors. Most of the fields are full of green; the sugar beets are still being harvested, though the factory across the highway has been smoking and lit already for some time. Nature loves a rainbow, obviously: blue sky, yellow, orange, red leaves, green grasses!

I've been walking most days since I started 2 weeks ago, at least 20 minutes per day, and usually more. Mostly it's been on the treadmill, but I've tried to get out and walk in the autumn air as well, if I get home early enough and on the weekends. Martin and I toured around the village yesterday but today he was sick and I felt the need to be a slug when I finally got home. Despite not having any scheduled obligations in the evenings this past week, it's been a really busy one and I'm still trailing the bedraggled edge of a head cold. I am not 100% sure I've managed to avoid pneumonia this time, but I'm optimistic.

I started back up approximately where I left off with the damn Lego project which will apparently take me the rest of my life, mostly because I didn't document very well what I had done before I went to Boston at the end of August and my steel-trap memory has rusted half-open. Still, if I keep at it, there is a (faint) light at the end of the tunnel. There are a lot of bags with missing pieces, which is a little disheartening. I don't think people want to buy Lego kits with missing pieces, though hopefully I'll be proved wrong.

Last night, I started reading the book for Book group, which is this coming Thursday, and I don't want to keep going. I'm only a few chapters in and I don't like the characters or the premise. One of my friends told me today that she read it years ago and hated it and when I said I was headed that way, too, I suddenly thought: do I really have to keep reading it? Do I have to finish it for the sake of the discussion? Life's too short to read bad books or ones I don't really like, right? The thing is, I DO like some of the writing, though it's rather uneven. You want to know what book it is now, don't you? It's Rabbit, Run by John Updike. Quite honestly, at this point, I can't believe he wrote FOUR books about this guy AND that they are his most popular books. Hrm.

I thought for sure I'd read some of his other books in my distant collegiate past, but when I looked at his bibliography, the only one I thought might be a possibility was Gertrude and Claudius and I once loved the movie The Witches of Eastwick even though it goes completely over the top by the end. I never actually read the book it's based on, however.

It's not like when we read Steinbeck for book group a few years back (another classic American author that I managed to escape reading during my academic years despite being an English major) and I fell in love with The Grapes of Wrath and serial-read everything else he ever wrote in the months following. But maybe I should plow on through it so I can at least be able to say I've read Updike. Maybe it's just because this is one of his first books; he obviously must have improved in order to have won the Pulitzer more than once, and both times for books about this same character who is leaving me completely cold at the moment.

I have such a huge stack of books to read, I hate to waste time on one I don't care for, even for the sake of book group, which I love. What to do, what to do...
 calm
mood: calm
music: Air—All I Need


Comments

Life's too short to read books you don't like when you don't have to for school, etc. Plus, I think saying you didn't finish it because of X, Y and Z is a perfectly legitimate thing to add to a book club discussion (should you choose to attend despite your lack of interest in the book).

Yep, I've come to that conclusion. Tried to read more at lunch today, and gave up.

(Anonymous)
From Megsie

I have never read Updike either. But I know that to read a bad book is HARD. I wouldn't do it if there wasn't a really good reason. I have given up on my share as well, even though I feel kind of funny doing that. I still have Cutting for Stone on my bed-side table. I started it in August, and then: Work Happened. I liked it, and I want to get back to it. I think it will be a while though.

I wish you would have taken a picture of your trees. "Most of the tress are still green underneath, so it looks as if they are all slowly burning down, candled in autumn colors." I love that image. and I love "...candled in autumn colors." Brilliant, you are.

Re: From Megsie

It's one thing to not have time to finish a book and another to deliberately choose to discard it. I have a hard time with both of those things, though I've been much harder about it in the last 5 years.

If I have time today I will try and get some photos but a lot of the prettiest trees/areas are when I'm driving to work :)

There are a lot of books by famous authors that I occasionally feel like I should read, just because it feels like a gap in my cultural knowledge. I think back to all those "Great Books" we had to read in high school and how few of them I actually liked. I can say I've read them but so what?

I know...that's usually my argument, too. Just because they are "classics" or considered great books doesn't actually mean I will think so, too. The vast majority of the books on the bestseller lists are ones I don't care for at all; why would the classics be any different?

Updike sucks at writing women, so no, the Witches of Eastwick isn't nearly as good as the film, and quite a bit different.

Good to know. I'll pass if I get the chance :)

(Anonymous)
bag it

Well if you want to go to your book club meeting, you read the cliffnotes! I'm sure you can find them online. I didn't get through Rabbit Run either and couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about. ~Sheryl

Re: bag it

It's not unusual to go to bookgroup without actually having read the book (though I've only done it a handful of times in 16 years)...and I DID read some of it. Usually when everyone hates the book it makes for a more interesting discussion anyway! :)

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