Tuesday, August 02, 2005


I read The Season of Comfort, by Gore Vidal, as part of My Big Fat Reading Project (see post of this title from early July.) It was published in 1949 and is Vidal's fourth novel. It was just OK. I think he was trying to write a bestseller in the style of the time but it just didn't have that zing.

It is a family story. The head of the family is a Virginia politician who was once Vice President under Wilson. He is no longer in office, but his daughter is having her first baby as the book opens. It is actually this child's story and you watch him grow up and break free of his overbearing and slightly crazy mother. But just as he finds himself and decides to pursue a career as a fine artist, he goes off to fight in World War II and the story ends. It was not a bad story, but did not enlighten me in any way.

All of the four Vidal novels I've read so far concern young men finding themselves, but the best one was the first, Williwaw, which had some actual excitement in it. Of course Vidal went on to write many books including some lengthy historical fiction. It will be interesting to see how he develops as an author as I read through the years.

Speaking of which, I am very close to finishing the reading for 1949. I am excited. I will finally move into a new decade; the decade which most shaped my life. I started this project reading books from 1940, so this will be the ninth year I've finished. Every time I get to the last few books of a year, it seems that time slows down or all kinds of stuff comes up in life that keeps me from reading. I wanted to finish the last five books last week and only got through one of them. I get a bit frantic about it. Well, I get very edgy whenever I can't get in the amount of reading time I want to. I realized yesterday that reading is what I use to create space in my life. All the daily stresses and issues press in around me, but when I am reading I feel free of all that and am off to other lands, other lifestyles, other viewpoints and new ideas. I wonder how it is for other people who read lots of books.

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