I am attending a book club discussion at our local library next week. It’s the first time I’ve been to this event, and I don’t know what to expect. The leader of the group said some of the women have been attending for ten years or more. I’m hoping it will be a good experience and that I won’t feel like an outsider or an intruder.
The book up for discussion is A Room with a View by E. M. Forster. It was written in 1908, set in Italy and England during the Edwardian Era. It’s a romance. The novel deals with differences in social classes and society. Many complex themes are introduced, and conservative and liberal ways of thinking are explored through the characters. It’s a pleasant read, though thought-provoking. I’ve consulted Spark Notes. It’s helped in understanding and appreciating the book. There is a lot of symbolism in the novel, and some metaphors I would not have picked up on. I haven’t seen the movie based on the novel, but I’d like to.
As I read, I can’t help but compare my appearance and surroundings to the time frame of the novel. In Edwardian society, women wore petticoats, long skirts and elaborate hats. Other fashionable accessories included gloves, stoles, and parasols. At home, they donned morning frocks and sipped tea from china cups. And here I am in my polka-dotted pj pants and Virginia Beach souvenir tee shirt. I’m drinking black coffee from a big green mug. My cat Prunella is curled up on my lap, purring a happy little song.
Heavy velvet draperies, overstuffed sofas, and ornate mirrors in gilded frames would not be my style at all. Abstract art decorates my walls, and sheers hang at the window. Orange pillows brighten up my tan sofa, and there’s a trio of metal bottles on the console. My living room is contemporary, but my guest room and bedroom have a cottagey-feel. Nothing is heavy or dark in any of my rooms.
I admire authors who can write novels set in another era. I wouldn’t have the patience to do the research necessary for a gothic novel or one set during the 1930’s or ‘40’s. When I’ve overindulged in heavy, ominous stuff like thrillers, graphic murder mysteries, or sad novels, I like to read Maeve Binchy, set in modern times, or a Grace Livingston Hill novel taking place in the 1920’s or 1930’s. To read such a book is like drinking a nice cup of hot chocolate (with marshmallows), wrapped in a cozy quilt, while a gentle rain washes the earth clean.
I have writer friends who pen novels set in the future, featuring strange planets and kingdoms. They weave the most intricate plots dealing with battles in outer-space galaxies.
Me? I’m a contemporary-setting writer. It’s enough to manage characters, dialogue, and plot in real-time without having to go to extra trouble. I’m lazy that way.
My post has turned into a kind of rambling, hodge-podge. Kind of like my mindset these days.