September 02, 2004

A Suitable Vengeance
A Great Deliverance
Payment in Blood
For The Sake of Elena
Playing for the Ashes
In the Presence of the Enemy,
by Elizabeth George

Every winter when I was in college, majoring in English and minoring in History, I spent vast amounts of time reading books. A typical week would be 3-4 novels with a couple hundred pages of history besides. There was one notable semester that I rashly took Chaucer, Milton and Shakespeare all at the same time plus an intensive course in Roman history and I emerged from that period of time barely able to speak modern English. What I did to regain my sanity over the summer was to read Harlequin romances.

For those of you who have never read a Harlequin, don't despair. There is only one plot. Single young woman meets glorious, available youngish man. He generally has a cool name like Brent. They fall in love and marry without ever touching each other beforehand. Not a kiss, a handshake, nothing. No throbbing thighs or heaving bosoms. No wide eyed exclamations of intense delight mingled with surprise. Not a ripped bodice in sight. Just plain old romance stories with a hint of tingle to them.

Since then, whenever I am overwhelmed mentally, I reach for something like a Harlequin. No thoughts necessary. No huge plots to follow. No meaning to be delved into and shredded to bits. Just a story to occupy my mind while I try to relax. That's what these books have been for me this last month. Since deciding to homeschool my daughter, I've been in a flurry of putting together a coherent course outline for her that will address what I want her to learn and not bore the poor child to death in the process. So I've been reading, googling, looking at forums and generally brushing up. It's exhausting.

Plus, when my unemployment ran out in June, I dashed out and got a little full-time job at a convenience store. And my boss can't seem to get it thru her brain that I want to go to part-time because she keeps scheduling me for full-time hours. This all means I have no brain bandwidth left at the end of the day to analyze what I'm reading.

So I'm sorry, you guys! I read these books over the last month or so but if you asked me to delineate the plot of any particular one of them or present a coherent thought on them, no can do. I do know they hold my attention enough that I finished them when I can't even follow the plot of a movie on the TV. Maybe someday I'll reread them and actually pay attention.

Posted by Deb English at September 2, 2004 07:56 PM