Friday Bullets

The Interpretation of Dreams by Freud promised much but it’s proving a slow read. Freud can be wonderfully chatty and interesting but he also takes ages to support his arguments. I’m also reading it on a Kindle which I find is better suited to reading fiction. For one thing, I don’t get the chance to flick backwards and forwards, gaze at the cover, read the blurb, and gauge my progress. My Kindle just tells me that I’m at 38% of the way through.

Sweet Tooth by Ian McEwan is about Serena Frome, a young Cambridge graduate who gets groomed to work in the British Intelligence services (MI6) in the early 1970s. The sweet tooth of the title is a project to finance promising writers who have the right (that is, not pro-Communist) attitudes. Serena soon becomes romantically involved with her writer and I’m guessing that this sparks off all kinds of problems. McEwan is a masterful storyteller and there’s just enough intrigue to keep me engaged. The only snag at the moment is that her writer is not terribly good (although he does have a lot of promise).

• Susan Cain’s Quiet is brilliant. The blurb says it’s about ‘the power of introverts in a world that can’t stop talking’. Cain has done extensive research into extroversion and introversion and she explains it all so well, and with so many relevant examples, that it is a pleasure to read. I’m quite taken with being an introvert at the moment and Cain reassures us that introverts are important and need to be nurtured. She also debunks the extrovert ideal without devaluing the values of being sociable. At the moment she’s discussing the genetics of high reactives versus low reactives and I’m guessing that it’s the high reactives (or the introverts) who will take great comfort in knowing that there’s nothing wrong with them, they just get over-stimulated quite easily by all the sensory input around them.

• Two years ago L and I got married and had a child. It’s been a wonderful two years in some ways and a really exhausting and frustrating two years in others. “No-one tells you about the tiredness” would be one theme from a post like that. And even if they did tell us, we probably didn’t believe them. Early parenting is not the best environment for nurturing a relationship. And a youngish relationship is probably not the best environment for nurturing a child either. Ah well, we muddle along.

• Leah has started playschool and is enjoying it. Yesterday she didn’t cry when her granny dropped her off, which was a bonus. She seems to have grasped the idea that after three hours someone will come and fetch her. The group is small, the people are kind and she has made a friend. 🙂

• I’ve been neglecting the psychology side of this blog. There are interesting books to discuss, interesting articles to explore and, as always, new psychology-related blogs to find. But I’ve been ignoring my own psychology journey and I’m not sure that this is the right place for me to talk about that. Should I stay or should I go? Perhaps the year will bring greater clarity on that.

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4 Responses to Friday Bullets

  1. litlove says:

    I have Quiet right here beside me and am looking forward to it immensely. I’m almost off the end of the scale, introvert-wise, so I am really curious to find out how all the things I think of as weird and eccentric are right in line for introvert behaviour. I’d also love to read Sweet Tooth. I’ve enjoyed all the McEwan works I’ve read before, and this one sounds like it has a great subject. Freud can be tough and The Interpretation of Dreams needs a good editing; it sprawls. I am a fan of the case studies – he’s at his best there, and those are the only books I think I’ll keep from teaching days. And hurray for Leah making a friend! You’ll come to find out how fantastic friends are for hours of adult peace and quiet!

  2. smithereens says:

    I remember reading Freud’s Interpretation when I was a teenager and I was both excited and out of my depth. Please let us know what you think of it when you reach 100% in your Kindle!

  3. Can you and L take a long weekend or vacation together? I know that now that E is almost two (next week!) I am ready for a weekend away my husband in a way I wasn’t before – I just don’t have any family to leave her with! We’ve been married twelve years and I will say that all of our time together that we have to fall back on has been hugely helpful – it definitely feels like a natural step in our relationship to have E around. Now that Leah is stretching her wings and making friends, maybe you can find a bit of time for the two of you!

  4. Pete says:

    Litlove – You’ll enjoy Susan Cain. I’m pretty sure. And I was pleasantly surprised by Sweet Tooth. Not because I have a problem with his writing – he’s brilliant – but I thought the story was going a particular way and he surprised me. Freud – still admire him but, as you say, this one needs serious editing.

    smithereens – Will persevere with Freud and report back. Can’t promise when though. Novels are so much easier and more enjoyable when I have a spare half hour.

    Courtney – Thanks. I hope you had a lovely birthday celebration with E. Leah had lots of fun – she managed to get to the cake before the party (with interesting results). And she loved the singing and all the sugar (hmm, she takes after her dad there so I can’t complain).

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