Brought to you by the letter N
The end of N is in sight, in my alphabetical readings. I’m abandoning E. Nesbit’s The Story of the Treasure Seekers, and just started Nabokov’s Speak, Memory. I’ve requested The Time-Traveler’s Wife on CD from the library, so I can listen to it when I run and walk at the track.
I feel bad about the Nesbit. She had a cool life and is one of the early giants of kidlit…but. The book is narrated by one of the children, and the whole time the author is sharing knowing winks with the audience. In the meantime, the kids are acting out tropes from the storybooks they know, in a tedious way that reminds me of the end of Huckleberry Finn. I don’t get who this stuff is for. Are actual children supposed to read this and understand all the things that the characters don’t, and laugh at them? Or are children supposed to read it innocently, on a level with the characters? I have this same problem with a lot of Milne. Do not get it.
Speak, Memory, on the other hand, is enchanting me. Nabokov’s childhood in pre-revolutionary Russia is so far from everything I know that it has that “everyday life long ago = fascinating” thing going on. And there’s something about the precise way he describes thought and emotional patterns that makes me feel like we know each other, like we’re sitting right next to each other. I’m only 20 pages in, but just got to the bit where he talks about his synesthesia and lists which letters in the English alphabet have which colors in his head. I want to do a color picture of his name, and perhaps below it the “word for rainbow, a primary, but decidedly muddy, rainbow…in my private language the hardly prounounceable: kzspygv.”
Early plans for O: Flannery O’Connor and some of the Sharon Olds poetry I haven’t kept up with in recent years.