Books and Bays

I am incomprehensibly lazy.  It’s fast approaching noon, and I am just finishing my first cup of coffee.  Well, that’s what happens when you have a late night…reading.  It’s as if I’m trying to make up for all those lost semesters where all I got to read was dissertations on the Puritans or Deconstruction.  First I tearfully finished The Far Pavilionsdeclaring it an epic to stand next to my top 5 books; then, The Ordinary Princess because I couldn’t get enough M.M. Kaye; then, a book I bought on a whim because Amazonians (users of Amazon) reviewed it well – Kingkiller Chronicles is now my new favorite yet-unfinished series; and currently, I’m rereading one of my top 5,Jane Eyre.  I remember Jane Eyre keeping me up late at night last time I read it, but I’m marveling at the fact that I read it when I was 17 and thought I understood it.  Not just the intense vocabulary that makes me so grateful for Kindle’s built-in dictionary feature, but the concepts, feelings, themes.  Even now I don’t fully understand it, and I imagine it will take several rereads and many more years before I do.  I’m also surprised at the forwardness of Bronte’s feminism – not the silly we-can-do-everything-men-can-and-better feminism, but her mental and emotional rebellion against the stifling social mores of an age that saw women as little more than parlor decor.  I think this is why I prefer Charlotte and Emily Bronte over Jane Austen, whose spirited heroines always achieve advantageous marital bliss after wittily navigating social machinations.  I do love Pride and Prejudice,  but in the end it’s still 85% social machination.

As far as the move goes – I do a little bit of exploring every day.  Wales is experiencing a freak late summer (temps in the 60s and 70s Fahrenheit) and I only packed fall and winter clothes, so it’s been bordering on uncomfortably warm.  If I had shorts, more t-shirts, sandals – it would be divine.  I went on a university-organized trip down the River Taff to Cardiff Bay, which we learned was once a pivotal industrial port, fallen into disrepair, and revitalized in the 1990s and early 2000s by massive community effort.  The result is a spotless, modern water-side area of shopping and arts with a 6-mile trail around the bay.  Remnants of the Industrial Revolution lay in the crannies and off to the side, while the new buildings feel like experiments in modern architecture.  My internet connection is abominably slow, so I’ll share pictures later.  Public transportation is a bit pricey, so I still plan on getting a bike.  Soon I hope to explore the wide expanses of Bute Park, which is just a few blocks away.


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