Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Thoughts as I climb the precipice of Gone with the Wind

With my rather slow start of Gone with the Wind, I'm positive, that although I "read" this in late high school, I didn't know squat about what I was reading. For one, I didn't have sufficient historical background knowledge to picture this tremendous novel on a landscape. (Some of you have heard me rant about the insufficiency of my grammar and high school education. It's all true.) For another, I cannot imagine that I had a spot of homage for Margaret Mitchell's gift of syntax and description. So for all intents and purposes, I believe this reading of Gone with the Wind should be considered my first. 

Sometimes when I read, a skim over short sections of prose to get the idea being described. In Gone with the Wind, I cannot skim. The prose is too rich and thick. Even if I wanted to skim, I don't want to miss Mitchell's one shot at word beauty in her only known book.

Being from Virginia, I did enjoy this:
"Ashley Wilkes said they [Europeans] had an awful lot of scenery and music. Ashley liked Europe. He's always talking about it."
"Well--you know how the Wilkes are. They are kind of queer about music and books, and scenery. Mother says it's because their grandfather came from Virginia. She says Virginians set quite a store by such things." 
One new word for me - folderol - which means foolishness or absurdity. I did write this one down and hope it makes it into my vocabulary book. 

The last book I read was my first Maeve Binchy, A Week in Winter. I'd never heard of Maeve Binchy and guess I crossed her path with one of those "if you like this, you'll like this" recommendations that are frequent on book sites. I really came to enjoy that book and look forward to some of her others. Curious, especially because I found out that Binchy died just days after finishing A Week in Winter, I googled her and found several interviews with her on YouTube. In one rather extensive and interesting, she mentioned how she had read Gone with the Wind as a teenager and was carried away with it. I love these unexpected harmonic convergences.

Sometimes when I begin a new book, particularly one more than 500 pages, getting started with much headway is difficult for some reason. I liken it to merging from a sparsely driven road onto a five lane major beltway. There's a lot of apprehension in the merge. Entering that beltway is daunting, yet you cannot falter; you must pick up your speed and go with the flow. Because I've recognized that, I know that often it's best for me to take a few days to submerge as much as I can in the book, really getting into it and making headway. That's my task these first few days. And so far, I'm really liking it. 


Anonymous said...

Thanks to you, I picked up a copy of Gone with the Wind, when I visited Virginia several weeks ago. It was the first time I'd read the book. I couldn't put it down. Nearly 1000 pages in three days. I don't know when I've been so gripped by a story, or when I've learned so much about that period of history. Those characters are all so vivid to me. I would especially love to meet Mammy and give her a great big hug! Thanks for sharing the books you love. I now love this book, and look forward to reading it again sometime.

Janie said...

Well, Anonymous, I am delighted you read and loved the book! I did too! Glad you got it in my state of Virginia, too! The story was gripping, and I, too, learned how terrible Reconstruction must have been. Yes -- Mammy!! Would love to know your name!