Schooling myself in the classics

As I mentioned a while ago, I've taken it upon myself to do a little reading during this transitional period. Since J and I finally cashed in on a Barnes and Noble gift certificate from our wedding, we both recently came home with a stack of books and giddily embarked upon several. The result has been my reading four books: "Heat," by Bill Buford, "Cesar's Way," by Cesar Millan, "The Shape of Water," one of the fabulous Italian mysteries by Andrea Camilleri, and then, of course, the one I like to tell people about, "Don Quixote." For example, someone asks, "Hey Cara, reading anything interesting?"

And I get to say, "Actually, I just started 'Don Quixote,'" and I get to say it in a sort of modest and unassuming tone, like I just, you know, picked it up. Instead of saying, "I spent all morning reading that book by the dog whisperer guy, and I'm struggling through the analytic introduction to "Don Quixote,'" which is closer to the truth, as in, it is the truth.

The 24-page introduction to the novel, by scholar A.J. Close, is difficult enough that I have to dedicate my full attention to the cause, sitting out on the quiet porch, reading paragraphs over and over and summoning my age-old literary skills, the ones I used in college when I'd raise my hand boldly during English classes and suggest something somewhat intelligent about Yeats or Richard Wright.

After a little while though, I admit, sentences like this,

"The hero's primordial motive is reader's make-believe exaggerated to the point where the 'willing suspension of disbelief' has passed into total abandonment of it." (Close, p. xix)

become almost comfortable again, the major problem being that when reading four books, including a book about dogs, it's easier to pick up one of the, ah, less wordy, more modern works. And I haven't even gotten to Cervantes yet. Cervantes great story that includes old-world spelling and multiple volumes and books. But because I value taking on literary adventures and challenging myself, I will. And also because I really, really like telling people I'm reading it and casually leaving it around the house, like, "Yeah, yeah, I watched two plus hours of the new lineup on ABC last night, sure, but look - Don Quixote. Yup. Page? Oh, I'm on page seven. But I just picked it up..."