that having submitted the last of my fall semester grades about forty minutes ago has considerably lightened my spirits. Posting will be sporadic until I'm back on the 30th, but there may be a post now and again since I'm bringing my computer for a change--home comforts! In between spasms of concentrated grading I spent the weekend indulging in an impractically lavish holiday rereading binge.
I always undergo a kind of panic at the thought of the library closing for the holiday, so I found myself around 4 on Friday afternoon raiding the stacks for the things that had been lurking at the back of my mind but whose siren call I had resisted all week. So first I reread the seasonally highly appropriate Hogfather (the first Terry Pratchett novel I ever read, I believe, and one of my favorites--I was reminded of it by a bizarrely mean-spirited profile of Pratchett that Frank Wilson linked to last week), very enjoyable; then I plunged into the mesmerizing world of Susan Howatch's Church of England novels.
There is something about these books I absolutely love: they are totally different from Trollope's (though it is true I also ritually reread those Barchester ones over the holiday season when I was in graduate school--the nice thing is that the Church of England is so much like my familiar world of academia and yet so different, so that I will vividly think to myself now & again in life "oh, that person is exactly Archdeacon Grantly" and so forth...). Anyway, no time to write now about Howatch, my thoughts will have to wait for another day (in short, uniquely interesting approach to idea/problem of Christian fiction in which [a] psychological and spiritual crisis are interestingly foregrounded, also I like it that they are preoccupied with demonic possesson! and [b] ideas about God and knowledge are thoughtfully worked out in terms of narration, knowability etc.--I have been preoccupied this whole semester with forms of narration, these books do amazing things by setting different first-person narrators into a kind of elaborate pattern)--I raced through Glittering Images, Glamorous Powers (the weakest, I think, of the cycle, though still very enjoyable ), Ultimate Prizes, Scandalous Risks and the first half of Mystical Paths, the second half of which (plus the last volume in the series, Absolute Truths, possibly the best of the bunch--the narrator of the first and last volumes in the series is really by far the most sympathetic of all the narrators) will tide me over for another day or two.
(BTW I saw reason and am not bringing Thomas Pynchon's new novel for my light reading at the MLA; I've got something else good, though....)
On which note, I must now run and catch a train. All best wishes for the holidays!