Friday, June 10, 2011
The Bronte Sisters' Society
I used to have a sense of propriety when it came to my reading. There were places to read and places not to read. The Lord of the Rings threw all that to the dogs when I re-read it in college. I couldn't bear to put the book down, even as I hurried to class afraid to be late, so I learned to read while I walk. The magic of an entrancing narrative makes the journey practically invisible -- probably contrary to my yoga-related efforts to cultivate mindfulness, but that's a sacrifice I'm happy to make.
Now that it's summer and I don't need clumsy gloves to warm my fingers, I am again reading while I walk the 1.7 miles to and from work. This morning I read (rereading) Wuthering Heights. As I stopped at a traffic light, I heard someone speaking to me.
"I absolutely love the Bronte sisters. That is one of my favorites!" I looked up to see a professionally-dressed white man in his mid-40s or so. I agreed that it was a wonderful book, and went back to reading it.
"All the Bronte sisters are excellent. Have you read The Tenant of Wildfell Hall, by Anne Bronte?"
I admitted I had not.
"She's underappreciated, but it's really great."
I looked up from my book again and smiled. I thanked him for the recommendation and he strode off, jaywalking just before the light turned.
How lovely to hear a man admit his unabashed love for, not just novels, but novels written by women well over 150 years ago. And he wasn't hitting on me, either! So nice to be reminded that a love of reading lurks beneath many surprising facades.
Photo is of a sketch of Anne Bronte drawn by her sister Charlotte. Taken from Wikipedia, sourced to The Poets' Corner.