It’s a gloomy Monday and the first day without meat.  I always seem to have irreverent things to say at the beginning of Lent, but I’m feeling more whiny this year (and trying to snap out of it).  I don’t mind not eating meat, but next Monday will be the start of no dairy, and that’s always hard.  Plus, since I’m living with four people who are eating meat and dairy, the temptation is always there.  And I can’t count on being able to eat leftovers when I get home from work – which requires more planning.  Which means I end up obsessing about food.  Which is not the point.

On to books.  I started reading Sarah Dunant’s The Birth of Venus, which is fascinating because, despite studying my fair share of Renaissance art in college classes, I don’t really know anything about daily life in Italy at the time.  So far all of the details of culture and class in Florence are compelling, and I’m intrigued by the characters but not quite attached to them yet.

I’m nearing the end of Selden Edwards’ The Little Book, which I’ve been listening to in the car.  At times I’m totally enthralled by it, eager to find out what happens to characters, caught up in their emotions and histories and futures (since characters time travel from various times in the 20th century to 1890s Vienna, it makes for some interesting situations, and pieces of the story take on different meaning as you go).  At other times, though, I could care less about a particular plotline, or the story over-emphasizes Wheeler’s genius to the point of disconnection.  What can’t this man do?  He can match wits with pyschologists and philosophers, discuss and play music, reinvent the Frisbee, pitch a perfect game of baseball – and time travel.  It makes him pretty obnoxious, to me at least.  But the story is interesting, and some of the other characters are more compelling.  So I’m kind of torn.  It reminds me a little of John Irving in terms of that over-the-top sense of plot and character and significance given to details.

Now I’m going to make some hot cocoa – while I still can – and then (sigh) go to work.