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.