Books in privacy and retirement.

books one openIt’s now mid-afternoon and I haven’t said a word to anyone today. It’s the largest chunk of solitude to come my way in a long time, and very welcome. In Mansfield Park, which I am still reading, I really identify with Fanny, who, if she is not talking with her one dear friend and cousin Edmund, likes nothing better than to sit in her own room or walk outdoors where she doesn’t have to take part in conversation.

Her personality and character are in stark contrast to her Aunt Norris, who does whatever she can to enjoy “all the comforts of hurry, bustle, and importance.” And to Mary Crawford, who is fatigued by resting and does not take well to “privacy and retirement.”

The meaning of retirement here is not what most of us nowadays think of, but rather a “withdrawal into privacy or seclusion.” For me, today, it helps that the skies are rainy and I’m enjoying a last chance to wear my cozy flannel shirt as I do what many people in this kind of retirement do: read.

While I and people of my sort may be secluded from people here-and-now, we are very engaged with the author and/or the characters in the book. The National Endowment for the Arts research found that those of us who read are more likely to do volunteer work and to be involved generally in our communities. This kind of rest from one kind of “labor” energizes us for other kinds of work and service.

red horse bookIn the interest of reading a greater variety of books than I can heft while lying down in bed, I bought a Kindle. One of the first books I loaded on it is The Red Horse by Eugenio Corti, a giant of a book in every way. At least ten years ago I was deep into it, as one takes a needed vacation or The Cure at a sanatorium, but I had to give it up, mostly because of its size.

If any of my readers have read good books on e-readers, I’m open to suggestions. Many on my To Read list aren’t available on the Kindle, but it seems there are enough to keep me happy for a while. I definitely won’t be giving up altogether on printed books.

Now I must close and get myself another proper retirement accessory: a big mug of tea.

11 thoughts on “Books in privacy and retirement.

  1. I’ve never read Mansfield Park. Just saw the movie. I, too, am a Fanny. I love retirement with a good book. My mug of tea sits at my elbow as I type. I may look up The Red Horse just because you recommend it.

    I never thought I’d join the Kindle generation, but my kids gave me one when I was sitting with my hubby in the hospital and now I have it packed with good books! I found many older books that were free such as titles by G.K. Chesterton or about him.

    You are a kindred spirit, Gretchen! I think I fit into the volunteer description, too, but that may have to wait until I get my life a little more figured out and maybe until I semi-retire. I would love to do that sort of thing.

    Hope you thoroughly enjoyed your day of solitude!

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  2. Gretchen, I do not own a Kindle, but bought one for my parents who are avid readers. I wasn’t sure if they’d like it, but they do! One thing I encouraged them to do was to go to the local public library and get their Kindle sync’d up with their state library. You can borrow books this way for FREE! Perhaps you’d have more selection of the books you want by using the library.

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  3. I love reading about your bit of solitude. Having a rainy day is always nice. I do enjoy my bit of quiet to sit and think and reflect. As I write this I have little boys running around growling and laughing so today is not that day, but soon.

    I like that readers do more for the community. I don’t have a Kindle. I think I am right now on a too much electronic goodies in my life. Having a cabin with no electricity sounds pretty good right now. 🙂 Have a wonderful reflective day.

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  4. I don’t like being hurried or busy and I love alone time, but I also need to be around people and have meaningful conversations. This has become more of a need I recognize as I have gotten older. That is interesting about volunteering because I have been pondering what to do with myself after my last year of homeschooling.

    How do you like your Kindle? I got one for Christmas and I love it! I’ve checked out some books from the library on it which has been really handy (esp since they return automatically and I am not wracking up a big fine). I’m reading Life After Life right now (a newer fiction from the library.) Amazon will often list free books on more recently published books. I am a theology geek so have found a lot of those newer sort of books that I’ve downloaded.

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  5. Gretchen, although I’ve not read Mansfield Park, it’s on the list…let’s face it, that reading list is so long I’ll have to be old as Gabriel before it’s finished! Anyway, did you know The Enchanted April is free on Kindle? Although I adore the film, I’ve never read the book but now have it downloaded.

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