Yesterday I had a sort of library-blah (let’s say, a sub-optimal experience). I hadn’t meant to go this week, because I’m already absorbed in Tom Perrotta’s Abstinence Teacher and a French history book on popular classes in Paris 18C called “The Fragile Life”. Both are fascinating, and I just needed to renew the loan for another 3 weeks.
In theory, I can do it online, but it’s a new service in Paris public libraries and their internet website has all sorts of breakdowns. So I had to go and renew, baby in tow. When we got there, the librarians too were having a network breakdown; there was a long line at the check out counter! So I figured, at least let’s have a look on the shelves and bring back something new, perhaps the mess will be sorted out by then.
I wanted some comfort read too, but somehow nothing seemed to measure up to those 2 I’m reading now. And I had to be quick because Baby Smithereens isn’t really that patient (it doesn’t help that the library is over-heated and has a strict silence policy). But eventually I found a fun project for the Halloween season:
Sheridan Le Fanu and Wilkie Collins are old Victorian gothic favorites: I’ve read that they were rivals, but also that Le Fanu had influenced Collins. I’m curious to experience that firsthand, because I had read them before with a long interval between them. Will I see some parallels? Is one better than the other?
I’ve borrowed 2 novels: The Evil Guest by Le Fanu (1851), and The Dead Secret by Wilkie Collins (1871), and intend to read them together. I confess, I chose them both only because they were rather short by Victorian standards, and that the titles seemed mysterious. Maybe I will discover that they have nothing in common, but at least I’ll have a real Gothic fall this year!