Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Still here.

Who would have thought being allergic to sulfa drugs would bring on such reactions? Still delerious at night, even with prednisone and Benadryl. Still feeling under the weather and very drugged, but other than that, I'm doing great.

So, I've been thinking quite a lot about England lately, probably because I'm headed there with a friend in the fall for a week. We're set to spend time mostly in Notting Hill and Soho, and will definitely waste a day in Harrod's (I am so excited!).

It's a dream come true for me to go (for my friend too) and I'm pleased our schedules are finally aligned so that it can happen. Todd is a bit bummed he doesn't get to go, but once he figured it he could call it a scouting trip for the "big trip" he and I will take later on, he was okay. Plus, I think he's relieved to not having to shop with two girls (shopping with just me is enough for him!).

I've been ruminating on sense of place in fiction. Where a book is set often sets the mood, tone, theme, and ultimately believability of a story. I mean, had Daphne du Maurier not set her book at Manderley, would we really believe that a mere housekeeper could frighten the second Mrs. de Winter quite so terribly? Or the setting for the new very "Rebecca"-esque "Thirteenth Tale" that came out in 2006. It is a delicious setting: another fine house, where the story of a crumbling old house is told. I get goosebumps even now and my sisters have borrowed the book from me. I may have to get another copy soon! in Elizabeth Kostova's "The Historian," her descriptions of Europe seen first through the eyes of a young girl and than her father years before just melt off the page and into your senses. You feel that you are there. I knew I could smell the dirt in the climactic scene when they climb down below the church, creepy and delicious as it was. Often, writers don't spend enough time luxuriating in a place so that their readers are drawn to spend time there. Even Janet Evanovich makes you feel the New Jersey heat rising from the asphalt roads, and you feel as if you too see the tired 1950s homes in her parents' neighborhood rising from your own imagination.

A good writer gives her readers just enough to dream for themselves. Thus, movies will never replace books. They'll just be a perfect complement for us book lovers who want to discover if what we dreamt matches what others imagined.

Keep Moving Forward.

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