So much sadness in the air lately. Too many disasters that are man-made. We look for reasons, explanations and sometimes there are none. Banality of evil, or fanaticism, or disregard for others. Maybe a disconnection that feeds destructive forces. We feel the world is a fragile place, with no predictability or absolute safety.
In times like these, I escape from the news and go back to my favorite books. “The Reverend Arthur Beebe, the Reverend Cuthbert Eager, Mr Emerson, Mr George Emerson, Miss Eleanor Lavish, Miss Charlotte Bartlett and Miss Lucy Honeychurch Drive out in Carriages to See a View; Italians Drive Them” – is there a more perfect chapter title? E. M. Forster’s “A Room with a View” warms the soul with its gently ironic look at the English Victorians having their emotions awakened in Italy. Lucy Honeychurch struggles between convention and passion, and her strait-laced chaperone (cousin Charlotte) becomes the unwitting catalyst for Lucy’s journey to George Emerson. There is so much fun in Forester’s descriptions of tourists, their misguided ways and connections that happen despite differences of class and social disapproval.
Or I go to “Brain Pickings”, Maria Popova’s smorgasbord of curiosities, ideas, writings and illustrations by people known and less known. Sometimes I skim the contents, other times I delve into theme and read the paragraphs over, to store away a memory of what I’ve read.