Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Book Club last week - The Elegance of the Hedgehog

So we went to Crisse's house which has this fabulous interior; artsy but you see the emphasis on architecture and line, little to no clutter, appreciation for color, very comfortable, And She made Sangria and had it in a lovely ceramic pitcher that reminded me of Spain.

So the book. We actually talked about the book for once and still managed a fair amount of catching up and gossip anyway. Susan was off at Mt. Vernon being Martha Washington, S- was at the beach, and at the last minute Jane couldn't make it. But Crisse, M., Lisa and Jen and myself were there and it was really nice. So the book. We all thought it was so hopeful (except Lisa who hasn't finished it) until Jen said she hated it because Renee was punished just like her sister and was killed for stepping out of line. I hadn't thought of it like that and neither had M or Crisse. So we pondered that a minute but we still felt that in general it was a hopeful book but I haven't quite sorted it out now after hearing Jen emphatically argue that it was not.

I said the book made me think of Robert Herbert, an art history professor at Mount Holyoke that I was lucky enough to have a class with. Crisse has a background in art history and she knew the name. Anyway, he was/is a socialist I believe and I remember thinking then I had no knowledge of socialism and so I was flustered trying to write about Pissarro without that knowledge.

He wrote this book:

And so this book brought to mind that feeling of lacking any background in any real "ism" and a need to fix that. So I'm off to browse "Socialism"

And also- Muriel Barbery brings up Russian literature as a predominate theme.  I read Anna Karenina in college because I felt like I should.  I enjoyed it.  I read Crime and Punishment at some point but I don't remember if I read it for class (maybe Senior Lit?) or if I read it after finding it on my sister's bookshelf.  I think I read it for class because I remember things like "yellow as a theme" which I would not have picked up on if I'd read it for pleasure.  And so that was Dostoevsky and Tolstoy but it seems like there ought to be others.  I mean, if this Renee so loved Russian Lit. shouldn't she have known of more than two books?  But again, this tapped into a desire to reread those books and maybe others and explore other Russian authors from the period.  And then I was hanging up laundry and thinking about college and these classes and remembering times when I would get lost in the stacks looking at books.  There was one book on the Ballet Russe which I adored.  It had all these wonderful drawings by Leon Bakst- really fanciful costumes that were just so wonderful!  

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