Hi, this is Amy, the other half of the Brewster household. Mat's finally gotten me write something for the blog. He's even trying to tell me what to say to introduce myself.
About once a week my husband and I venture into town for entertainment. Occasionally we see a movie, but more often, we visit the public library and the bookstore. The library has books of all sorts, movies, and music. We each have an account and each gather a pile of items to peruse. Our interests vary. I venture towards the non-fiction. I might pick up a book on sewing (though I don’t have a machine, my mother has long put off teaching me), gardening, birds or cooking.
Sometimes I choose a book on exercise and diet which I dutifully read and apply one principal of, once, and then forget. Other times, I check out books on finances and budgeting. Those are even more difficult to apply. But the effort of reading the book salves my conscience and heightens my awareness of my flaws.
Mat will pick out fiction (mysteries and thrillers) and lately graphic novels. We have an extensive collection of classics at home (both were English majors), so we rarely look for that at the library. In the movie section, I invariably choose foreign films that sometimes we watch. Mat’s choices include horror. We both like the classic films in black and white.
For me, I never know what to choose in the music section. Each time I come home with at least one CD that has visited our house before in Mat’s collection. I’ve been picking up books and audio programs on CD as well. My 6 hours a week in the car has encouraged me to listen to new music and books. I’m still not used to paying that much attention while driving though. So I’ll listen to NPR instead because Morning Edition’s stories are three to six minutes long.
More about booksSomething I’ve wondered about: sequels. Sequels in the literary world are a bit different from sequels in the movie world. I’m not thinking of books in a series like Harry Potter. That’s an original author continuing their work. Really, I’m thinking of those books that nod to, are inspired by, and continue or twist an original. In all honesty, I haven’t read too many of these.
My reading listing includes Wicked from Gregory Maguire (who has made a living out of “sequeling” the fairy tale stories and rewriting them for grown-ups) and Mrs. de Winter, the sequel to Du Maurier’s Rebecca. There’s another sequel to Rebecca as well, Rebecca’s Tale. Then there is Scarlet, the sequel to Gone with the Wind and all the Darcy sequels to Jane Austen’s famous characters from Pride and Prejudice. I glanced at one of these in the store and saw immediately that the author hadn’t captured Austen’s writing style: the quotable Austen! “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.” (I almost had it from memory. I was close, Dr. Shull!)
So what about the literary sequel? I enjoyed Wicked for it's story but not Maguire's intellectualizing, but it is so unlike The Wizard of Oz that they don't compare that well. I don't remember Mrs. de Winter and would only re-read the original. On the other hand, Tom Stoppard's Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead was a success. But not all sequels fare so well. And yet, we want to remember these stories, to reconsider them, and in some cases to reinvent them. Do we have the right?