Monday, March 21, 2016
I'm reading: The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, Against Nature by J. K. Huysmans,
Pages read today: 70
Books finished: Against Nature
Non-reread reading progress: 59 pages of The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, various articles from 1890s periodicals
Snacks consumed: a Sainsbury's "spotty bean" cookie- basically a Smartie cookie! Rhubarb and custard sweets, wham bar, microwave popcorn
Today in six words: uni reading, but not much else
I'm off work today but have told myself I need to get some uni work done, as it's now week 2 of a four-week break and I haven't really done much so far. Fortunately this overlaps with the re-readathon quite nicely, as I'm reading J.K. Huysmans's Against Nature and The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde, both of which are re-reads for me! Finished Against Nature- I only had a few tedious pages left- and I'm hoping to get The Picture of Dorian Gray mostly read too. I've got various nineteenth-century periodicals and articles to read as well, which unfortunately won't count towards my page count...
As far as actual, 'leisure reading' goes: I did intend to have my current read, The Gracekeepers by Kirsty Logan, finished up before the re-readathon but that didn't happen, so today's plan is to get that finished and then make a start on the final section of The Crimson Petal and the White for Charlotte's readalong- which, conveniently, is a re-read!
I can thank my Master's course for making my page count look considerably better than it should be, as I really haven't done much actual 'reading for fun' today. I got a good bit of uni work done which was great and then I sort of faffed about this evening, spending quality time with the fam watching ITV's The Story of Cats (because if there's one thing that brings my family together, it's cats) and then I went upstairs to read and accidentally watched Blackadder instead. Oops.
And though technically according to my stats I finished a book today, it was only the last 8 pages of one. Albeit, it was JK Huysmans's Against Nature, so 8 pages is quite an achievement. If you're not familiar with this book, it's basically about a guy who retreats from the outside world and decorates his house. That's it. Only it's told in the most ridiculous lurid prose and the whole thing is just ridiculous- at one point he buys a tortoise to match his carpet and embeds jewels in its shell. IT IS RIDICULOUS. Fun fact: for my French undergrad last year, I spent an entire semester studying this book, including preparing weekly study questions, doing a group presentation and writing an essay on it. All in French. And when I thought it was finally out of my life for good, it goes and pops up on my Master's English Lit syllabus. Although, fortunately in English translation this time, which makes it somewhat better- it was painful looking up all those obscure and archaic words Huysmans uses that weren't in any dictionary. So, yeah. This book. I kind of hate it and don't at the same time?
The Picture of Dorian Gray is one of my all-time favourite books- I went through a huge Wilde phase a while back on the strength of it. I've read it many, many times, and what do I get out of re-reading it? Honestly, more and more gay subtext every time. I don't understand how anyone can talk about this book without talking about how very gay it is and how creepily prophetic it is with regard to Wilde's later scandal. But, I'm studying it for a class on Irish Gothic and I should be focussing on, you know, the Irish and the gothic, but instead I'm scribbling notes about blackmail and double lives and the closet in the 1890s and all that. Sigh.
Time to turn the laptop off and crawl into bed with The Gracekeepers for a bit before I go to sleep. With any luck I'll actually get to re-reading tomorrow!