June was a special month: I only read one book, and I gave up on two. I’m usually really stubborn about finishing books, but I’m trying out this new fuck-you attitude. So I said a (respectful) fuck-you to The Sound and the Fury. I’m sure it was very original in its time, but I had to Google the plot to figure out what the hell was going on, and when my car’s CD player refused to play disc five, I decided that my car was performing an act of passive resistance. Who am I to argue with the literary tastes of a wise old Honda Civic?
I did see a really good play this weekend, though: 100 Saints You Should Know at the Elephant Theatre. Written by Kate Fodor and discovered for us by Christine, it’s about a scholarly, uptight priest who decides he’s had enough of the theoretical God and longs for the more touchy-feely spiritual experience that comes from, well, actually touching other humans now and then (but not in a creepy way). Cheryl Huggins and Kate Huffman as the rectory cleaning lady and her teenage daughter, respectively, are great playing everything he’s not: warm, impulsive, profane. What they all have in common is a desire to feel something bigger than they are—something pure and unconditional, electric and earthy. The pacing of the production feels a little off at the beginning, but the play is definitely worth catching if you’re looking to avoid the Westside in a cultured way on Carmageddon weekend.
Anyway, so here’s what I did manage to read, in addition to 12 student stories and a lot of Facebook updates:
Burning Bright by Tracy Chevalier: The teens at the center of this historical novel have good old-fashioned virtually parent-less Dickensian fun in late 18th century London: They fall in puppy love, work in factories, avoid the fallout of the French Revolution and get knocked up by smooth-talking circus troupers. I liked the gritty glee running through this book, and I enjoyed loud, curious Maggie Butterfield as a heroine. But I wasn't so into William Blake as next door neighbor and literary gimmick. Although his innocence/experience dichotomy did lend some thematic depth, mostly I wondered why historical fiction always has to be about famous people.