Saturday, October 2, 2010

What a Difference a Day Makes!

Thursday at the library I was stressed to the max. Between orientation for two new volunteers, reviewing a book for LJ, and doing the usual cleanup that one does before leaving for vacation, I wasn't sure I'd get it together for the early morning flight to Md. Add to that the precipitous weather forecast that had me rummaging for a few extra pairs of sweats at Beall's Outlet Thursday night and, well, all I can say is - all that must have happened in another lifetime.

This morning before the wind turned and started coming from the North, I sat out on the deck overlooking the Chesapeake Bay and started a new book that I snatched from Jess yesterday - an autographed copy no less, of Julia Glass's The Widower's Tale. It's just wonderful - more on that in a minute - my only trouble being that I had to keep looking up at the view.

Can there be anything better than to fall asleep and awaken to the sound of the shallow bay waves  caressing the rip rap down below? To wake up in the night to see the waning moon hovering over the water like a lantern? I've never known such peace as I feel here in Chesapeake Beach. This morning it was so clear that the faint gray shadow of the Bay Bridge over to Annapolis could be seen on the horizon, fronted with dozens of varied size sails as people take advantge of what will likely be one of the last fine days of the season.  I look up to see the funky box-like container ships as they head down toward the Atlantic and this evening, at dusk, over wine, we'll be able to see the lights of the cruise ships as they do the same.

A whole week to read! Such choices I had! On the plane it was A.S. Byatt's The Children's Book, a rather daunting, close to 700 page tome about Olive Wellwood, a famed children's story book writer, and her family  as they maneuver through the times and political upheaval of London in the early 1900's. Though I loved Possession and I'm valiantly trying to stick with Byatt's latest, it may take a back seat to Ms. Glass's latest novel which I'll burn through in the next day. What a delight!

Percy Darling, the widower of the title, reminds me of Ann Tyler's widower in Noah's Compass. He is just a "darling!" A retired librarian, from the Widener no less, he has plenty of funny things to say about the new "wired librarians" in his small New England town. He's a curmudgeon of the first order, a man who only loved once, his wife Poppy who drowned in their back yard pond when their daughters were teens.

Now Trudy is an oncologist in Boston and Clover has left her husband, who she believes may be in love with a man, and left her kids in New York to return to her home town and lick her wounds.  Always the "flighty" one, but also the one more in tune with her dad, she convinces Percy to let her convert their barn into a nursery school for the town's yuppie parents.  Percy's glorious solitude is about to be invaded by chattering little four year olds. Yet he seems remarkably amenable to the changes going on around him and, suddenly, after more years than he cares to think about, to the charms of one of the moms.

I was a bit disappointed in Glass's past couple of novels but this one, more on the caliber of Three Junes, is not going to let me down. Tomorrow I'll tell you what I'm listening to - after I decide which of the 10 books on my mp3 player is going to hold my interest the best.

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