In Which Our Heroine Jumps In At Last

13 March 2005

The Mark is still not well. Every night I ask him, "Are you going to be all better tomorrow?" And for some reason he has not managed to do it, even with all those reminders.

He was, however, feeling well enough to go see the Gilbert and Sullivan Very Light Opera Company's production of "The Gondoliers" with me last night. Which turned out to be quite a good thing, and we're likely to go back for next year's production of "Princess Ida," even though I have no idea what it's about, and even though I keep typing it "Princess Idea." Which is not even a good title, really. Ah well; I guess one must be boringly wrong sometimes. At least it's statistically likely.

But "The Gondoliers": I didn't know what that was about, either, except the blurb on the flier I got in the mail. Mark asked me, and I waved my hands and said, "Oh, class, something like that." In fact, I was not wrong, but not optimally right, either. (Better than another case of boringly wrong.) It was more focused on the republican/egalitarian ideals of the time (note the little r: American political parties didn't matter much to Gilbert and Sullivan that I've ever heard), so the bits about class were almost from the opposite perspective as in something like "H.M.S. Pinafore." It was almost like Gilbert and Sullivan were saying, "Yes, but on the other hand...."

I really respect it when writers can do that. It seems that too many of them think, "On the other hand...there is a pair of brass knuckles for beating the same viewpoint into people even harder!" Which is not really what that colloquial expression is there for, really. My respect for Aldous Huxley shot way up after I read Island, because it looked to me that Huxley had been honest with himself about what kind of person would form the dystopia of Brave New World and why, and he had not entirely excluded himself from that category. As useful as Roo's "people broke it" idea is for dealing with the world, remembering that one is people oneself is also good.

This is the problem with an online journal that goes on for more than a few months: you start thinking, I told you guys this, right? About Island and the respect? It's back in there somewhere, if I could be bothered to search for it? It all starts to sound like the same material, because I'm more or less the same person, all this stepping in rivers stuff notwithstanding.

I'm reading Dorothy Dunnett's The Ringed Castle now. I had to remind myself that not only is there another in the series after it, but there are several other books of hers, including another historical series, that I have not yet read. So it doesn't make much sense for me to hoard Dunnetts in order to have new ones left in the future, because I have plenty of new ones ahead of me anyway.

This reaction is fairly rare for me. I'm not usually a hoarder of books. Usually I dive right in and gulp down the next one as soon as it's available, which is right away for most situations with dead authors. Usually if I don't read something as soon as I have it, it's because something else has caught my eye first or because something about it doesn't appeal, not because I'm deliberately putting it off to enjoy later. I'm quite capable of delayed gratification, but I don't exercise that capability much with books, usually. There are lots and lots of good books out there I haven't read, and there are also mediocre books I haven't read and shouldn't really waste time on. So. Jump in, is my usual thought.

I haven't yet figured out why this series is different. If I do, you probably won't be the first to know, but at least you'll be on the list to know. Okay? Okay then.

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