Category Archives: Tolstoy, Leo

Reading and Life Post-Retirement

Blogger getting into bad habits again.  Yes, that’s right.  I haven’t posted for a whole ten days.  Bad girl!

I’ve also flunked reading a book:  Walk in the Light and Twenty-Three Tales by Leo Tolstoy.  The stories, which were all supposed to reflect Tolstoy’s Christian faith, were, in my opinion, too long, too pompous in a nineteenth century sort of way, too East European in that they were grim, and not particularly interesting.  I’ve moved on to The Last Tycoon, the last novel of Scott Fitzgerald, which he didn’t finish writing.  I intend to finish reading this one, however.  The style is very dense, involving a lot of people who come on and off the page episodically, in such a way that when one does come back, you’ve forgotten who he/she is.  I will review it properly later.

I borrowed the Fitzgerald, the Tolstoy and Cat Out of Hell  by Lynne Truss, as proper books, in printed form, from my local library, something I haven’t done for decades.  You are now expecting me, Dear Reader, to campaign for the preservation in aspic of all public libraries.  Yes, yes, take it all as having been said.  I know that printed books are very important to a lot of readers, those who say they love the weight, the smell and turning pages… and, really, they can’t be bothered to work out how to use a Kindle, and all the paperbacks they’ve ever read – once – are stacked up in Books stacked up in spare roomtheir spare rooms, as shown left.  (I shall probably get into terrible trouble for writing like this!)  In actual fact our public libraries are not in aspic at all, because, in addition to printed books, they offer a service called Overdrive, whereby library members can borrow electronic books by downloading them on to Kindle or tablet, for free, for the normal sort of period they’d borrow a printed book.   And, if you don’t see the book you want, you can request it.  You’ve probably known this for years, DR, but I didn’t, until a few months ago, when I retired from my job and actually had time to enter a library.

Of course, I’m now teaching again, albeit part-time, although class preparation is taking longer than I would like (as itFat pheasantalways does).  However, I enjoy the days when I am at home better now that I’m doing some work, than I did when I was not working at all.  Then, the days used to stretch out before me, one merging into another, even though I was doing other (voluntary) things, and seeing lots of people, but now my weeks and months have structure, and I no longer feel as if the world was going on without me.  I can now relax and enjoy things like two fat pheasants in our garden.  Here’s the male, and I can assure you that the female’s as traditionally built as he is.

In the bad old days of my previous job, the things that held me together were Classic FM on the car radio to and from work and Starbucks coffee from the college refectory.  The first thing I did when I left was to purchase a digital radio, so I can listen to Classic FM in the kitchen (although I still listen in the car whenever I’m out) and my husband makes better coffee than Starbucks.