For Everything There Is A Season…and all things digital.

Now is the season of long dark nights and the months when the sun withdraws itself ever further and further from our view.  I would brag that I did remember to put the clocks back last night and try and make myself look good, however, so many clocks automatically put themselves back these days that there is really isn’t any kudos to be had from such a claim, so maybe I’d better keep quiet about it.

I’m really ambivalent about the change back to Greenwich Meantime.  I feel more comfortable when the clock and the sun say the same time and I like the fact that the mornings are lighter, for a while at least, but, because it was wet and miserable, I had to put a lamp on at three o’clock today to have enough light to read by and that I do not like one little bit.  Still, to everything there is a season and this is the season of long dark evenings and there is nothing I can do about it.

There is also a season to reading.  Sometimes you pick up a book and within half-a-dozen pages you simply know that this is not the season for you and the book to spend time together.  I had that experience this afternoon with the new Michael Chabon novel, Telegraph Avenue.  I really enjoy Chabon’s work and there was no logical reason why I shouldn’t have spent two or three hours working my way into the lives of his Vinyl obsessed main characters, but it just wasn’t the day for it.  A decade or so ago, I would have pressed on and forced myself to read the book, but I am, I hope, wiser than that now.  There will come a time when it will be precisely the novel I ought to be reading and when that time comes I shall enjoy it.  If I’d carried on now I wouldn’t have appreciated it as it deserves and what on earth would be the point of that?

So, instead I turned to a book by Chris Bohjalian, a writer completely new to me, The Sandcastle Girls, which I heard reviewed on the podcast Books on the Nightstand.  It deals with a period of history about which I know nothing at all, the genocide of the Armenian people in 1915.  It doesn’t exactly sound like the cheeriest of reads for a wet Sunday afternoon, but so far I am ‘enjoying’ it very much.  It is clearly the right season.

It is also the season for new e-readers and never having possessed a Touch Kindle (I had the first model that was available in the UK) I decided to treat myself to the new Paperwhite.  The cover was delivered with great ceremony on Wednesday morning by a man in a van who rang the bell and got me to sign for the parcel as if it contained the Crown Jewels at the very least.  The Kindle itself was unceremoniously pushed through the letter box the following day.  Still, it doesn’t seem any the worse for it and I have to say that the display, the brightness of which you can alter to suit your tastes and the lighting conditions, is superb. If any of you are wondering whether or not to treat yourselves then I can heartily recommend it.

For me it has also been the season for a new laptop. Six week ago I purchased a MacBook Air and for the first time ever I’ve had a problem with an Apple product.  Whenever I switched it off it switched itself back on.  Talk about a mind of its own.  Who did I think I was to tell it to shutdown? Getting ideas above my status, that’s what I was doing. So, this morning I took it back to the store to see if they would give it a good talking to and tell it who was boss around here.  What they did, however, after looking suitably horrified, was simply give me a new one.  Now that sort of commitment to customer satisfaction is pretty rare these days and deserves to be celebrated, so that is what I’m doing.

It’s just gone five o’clock here and it is pitch black outside.  What else is there to do but curl up and enjoy a good book?  By the way, if anyone reading this is battening down the hatches on the East Coast of the US as Sandy heads your way, do know that The Bears and I are thinking of you.  I hope it doesn’t get too bad.  Take care.

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15 thoughts on “For Everything There Is A Season…and all things digital.

  1. I fully agree with you about the seasonable nature of books. A friend & I refer also refer to it as ripening. Sometimes books need to stay on the shelves a little longer.

    Here in the US our time change comes next weekend. I find the adjustment harder each year, though the “spring forward” is worse than the “fall back.”

    1. I really like the ripening metaphor, Lisa. I must remember that. And yes, I agree with you the time change in the spring is much worse. It takes me practically a fortnight to get used to having lost that hour. Only the longer light evenings make up for it.

  2. I loathe this time of year, with the increasing dark and deepening cold. I roundly dislike it. The only thing that keeps me sane is reading – and you’re quite right that different books can be tackled now. I can manage the 19th century in a way I can’t in the summer, and I sink into crime fiction now. I’m currently reading the incomparable Dorothy Whipple, as a good family saga doesn’t go amiss either!

    1. Yes, it’s the time of year for length, isn’t it? I always want to pick up a Dickens as soon as the clocks go back. The second essay in the book about Crime Fiction is Sara Paretsky on ‘Bleak House’. I think that might just fit the bill.

  3. To everything there is a season, eh? 🙂 We change our clocks this coming weekend. sure I am looking forward to the extra hour we get, but it means reading while waiting for the bus home after work will quickly come to an end because it will be too dark. I already had to stop reading in the morning because the sun isn’t up yet when I leave. Much as I dislike the short daylight hours, I do ever so love curling up on my favorite reading chair with a quilt and a hot drink. As for Chris Bohjalian, my husband has read and enjoyed a couple of his books and got to have lunch with him once when he was managing a Barnes & Noble. Says he is a really nice man.

  4. Like Stefanie, we in Canada changing back one hour this Saturday. So it’s good just for that night to have one more hr of sleep, but I’m really apprehensive about the whole coming winter season. We’ve had early snow, cold and chilly weather all these past weeks. I’m beginning to lose hope of a brighter November. But yes, the dark, cold days are best for staying indoor and read. And a book recommendation question: I’ve never read Michael Chabon, which one should I start first?

    1. Arti, the one that most people would suggest, I think, is ‘The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay’, but if you want a shorter way in try ‘The Final Solution’ which is one of my favourites.

  5. Hello Alex! I have to say that I enjoy this time of year – the colours of the leaves, misty mornings, whiff of bonfire, cold light and darkness. And I like curling up with a blanket and a cup of tea and a good book, although these days I rarely have the chance (perhaps next year!): somehow it seems more acceptable in the autumn – in the summer I feel pressure to be outside enjoying the fresh air etc. etc. It’s January and February that get me down, by that time it always seems as if winter will last for ever and everything seems exhausted. However, I hope you have found a good book or two and are getting through the long evenings without feeling too low.

    1. Despite the fact that the weather is often worse in January and February, I get on much better then because the hours of daylight are getting longer. At this time of year I am just counting down the days until the solstice which we celebrate with great gusto, candles all round the house and The Bears marching round chanting “Come Back, Sun”. Everything looks better after that.

  6. Thanks for your good wishes with the hurricane! Some of my students are still without power, sadly, and they are having a hard time getting back into the swing of school. And we are looking at another storm coming in on Wednesday! Although this one won’t be nearly as bad as Sandy, thanks heavens. Today is our first day after the time change, and it’s odd and sad to have it be so dark at 5:00. But I had a nice day comfortably reading on the sofa, so that makes it easier to bear!

    1. I suspect this is why we British are always talking about the weather; we think if we always have at least half an eye on it it will act as some sort of talisman and we will never have to live with the real extremes. Mind you, we had six inches of snow in the West Country yesterday at least a month earlier than it could possibly be expected so goodness knows what the winter is going to be like. Let’s hope we’ve both had the worst of what this season has to offer.

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