Tonight my grad class meets for the first time. I'm sure I've probably mentioned it before, but just in case you missed it, it's a Lit Theory class. I can only imagine the amount of reading that will be required outside of the listed textbooks, of which there are seven. I'm sure in addition to a hefty anthology and a significantly slimmer theory textbook, there will also be journal articles or book excerpts. Not to mention these little lovelies:
King Lear (Shakespeare)
Complete Poems 1927 -1979 (Elizabeth Bishop)
Friend of My Youth (Alice Munro)
Aspern Papers (Henry James)
The Bluest Eye (Toni Morrison)
Because of the sheer amount of reading I expect to do for this class, I really wanted to get the last little bit of pleasure reading in that I could. Since I really hate holding onto books that I've borrowed from friends and family, I decided to select a book from somewhere other than my ever-expanding to-be-read shelves. This meant instead of reading Joely Sue Burkhart's Rose of Shanhasson, a book I won from a recent contest on her blog, I picked up The Time-Traveler's Wife.
The struggle of creating and maintaining a relationship within the complexities of time-travel makes for an interesting subject. Add to that the dichotomy between predetermination and free-will and you have a constant source of potential conflict. For while it seemed the traveler was unable to prevent tragedies from occurring, he was certainly able to influence far-future events. After all, without his sojourns into the past, his wife may never have waited for him, might never have sought him out, or stuck with him through the fear and uncertainty of where and when he was.
Of course, as a genre reader of science fiction and fantasy, I did have a couple of questions circling at the edge of consciousnesses as I read this. Where is the press in all this? The scientists? How is he able to flit to and fro without society at large looking at him like a circus freak? I know it wouldn't have served the story - I get that - but these are some of the things that I continuously found myself wondering throughout the story, especially as his secret was revealed to more and more people. (These thoughts of mine do not reflect well on my view of society at large because I'm pretty sure he would have been turned into a lab rat or close to it..)
My odd little tangent aside, I must admit I very much enjoyed the book. The author's voice was a pleasure to read, which can be just as influential as characterization and plot structuring. In fact, I'm already looking forward to tracking down a copy of Niffenegger's Her Fearful Symmetry. (I've been assured that I won't be disappointed, so that's just added incentive!)
Of course, there's no hurry because I'm pretty sure the next four months or so will be filled with assigned readings and little else.