I started the reading year with Rebecca Solnit, and I ended the year with Rebecca Solnit. As patterns go, it's a nice bookend. I'm picking up where I left off on the Mary Russell series. Life is too short for bad books, and if we can find something that keeps us comfortable and happy, sometimes it is good to keep them around. The Mary Russell series has always been a source of comfort for me.
I was reading Pirate King at a local coffee shop yesterday, and I smiled when I came across this passage, where Mary Russell had ran out of reading materials, and was suddenly offered a licentious novel, The Sheikh, favoured by many of the ladies on the ship. The way she described it reminded me of how I felt about 50 Shades of Grey:
The novel, made into a moving picture that put Valentino onto the world's lips (in more ways than one), had been written during the War by a woman whose husband was at the Front. Whose husband had clearly been at the Front for a long, long time.
It was appalling. Not so much the writing itself (which can was merely the lower end of mediocrity) nor the raw pornography (which it was), but its blatant message that an independent and high-spirited young woman would be far happier if she were just slapped around a bit by a caring sadist. I read every word about fiery young Diana Mayo and her encounter with, abduction by, and ultimate submission to Sheik Ahmed ben Hassen. Then I went to wash my hands, and took the novel back to Mrs Hatley, with a fervent plea that she not let any of the girls read it. She turned pink and said of course not. But had I enjoyed it?