Monday, December 19, 2011

Day #433 Bleak House

I generally read four books at a time. One is the red room book. Just so you’ll know what I’m talking about, I name the rooms in my house by the color of the floor. The red room book is the one I go to when I have a few minutes (or a bunch of minutes), usually in the evening, but occasionally as I’m munching lunch. My red room book today is The China Conspiracy, a suspense-thriller by p.m. terrell. (This is not a typo. It’s the way her name appears on her books, without capitalization.) I interviewed p.m. terrell on the radio show I hosted in 2009. At the time I read all her books (so I could conduct an intelligent one-hour interview), and it’s time to re-read them. I do that with books I truly enjoy.

My green room book was The Eighty Dollar Champion by Elizabeth Letts. I say my green room book was, because I finished it last night, crying through the last chapter. It’s the story of Snowman, the plow horse who was on his way to the slaughterhouse when he was bought by a man who taught at a riding school. Turns out the horse was a natural jumper – who then went on to win the 1958 National Horse Show and who inspired a nation.

My blue room book is the one I blogged about yesterday. The blue room book is usually an audio book, and I play it while I’m cooking, washing dishes (yes—washing them. The only dishwasher in this house isn’t a machine), knitting, or doing Killer Sudoku. Yes, I can multi-task.

But the book I’d really like to mention today is Bleak House by Charles Dickens. I’ve spent lots of years discounting Dickens. All he did, so most people think, was write lots of words – he was, or so we’ve all heard, paid by the word. Lots of description, lots of repetition. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I read A Christmas Carol years ago, but I’d rather watch George C. Scott.

But something changed my mind. Months ago, I heard a casual reference (by a total stranger) to Nicholas Nickleby. I read it and enjoyed it. So I’m on a streak, here. I decided to read through Dickens. So far, my favorite by far is Bleak House. It’s my car book. Audio book, that is. Bleak House is not a casual read by any means, even if it’s someone else doing the reading and I’m only doing to listening. There are 31 CDs in this set. THIRTY-ONE!!! I’ve had to renew it twice, which is the limit for renewals at the Gwinnett County Library.

It’s worth it, though. All those wonderful hours of listening—and the actor reading it, David Case, has a repertoire of voices that is astonishing.

I’d like to quote one little sentence, just to give you a taste. Dickens was describing a man whose “mouth was overstuffed with teeth, rather like a pianoforte with too many keys.” Don’t you just love it?

Now, what does my reading list – or this vivid description – have to do with bees?  Nothing, I guess. It’s just that on a cold December evening, I get to read, while bees have to cluster, keeping themselves warm.

On a long drive, I get to listen to the words of great writers. On a long journey to or from a nectar source, bees listen to the wind, or so I suppose.

As I walk from room to room in my house, a book graces each one of them, and I can stop to enjoy each one. When bees walk from comb to comb in their hive, they have to do the one job that is theirs to do, whether it be to feed the larvae, clean the cells, fan the nectar to evaporate the moisture, or guard the hive. They don’t get a choice.

Poor bees. Lucky me.

BEEattitude for Day #433:
       Blessed are those who love what they do, for they shall fly through life with a joyful purpose.

The teeny details:
my books: Please buy them from an independent bookstore or directly from my website.

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