I finished E. L. Doctorow's Ragtime over the weekend. It was a great read, albeit one that embedded a few splinters to the conscience as one read it. Hopefully the library has a few of his other novels so that I can see what he makes of other topics.
I've begun The Age of Innocence; however, I am doubting that I will finish it before the books are due back at the library. The mannered pace is something that requires more patience than I'm likely to bring to it, unfortunately. Would propriety throttle my interest delicately, should the time limit not run out or would sympathy and then, perhaps, empathy twine through the reading? Why don't I empathize with these kind of characters? What makes Jane Austen and the Brontes as opaque to me as tinted glass?
There is a reading list growing in my head based on this reading, one that includes Babbitt and a few other books that I managed to avoid in high school and college. In a way, these are fortunate ommissions in that these can be discovered now, when time and experience have perhaps made their stories more understandable and less dead letters suitable for dissection into plot and theme and essay.
As might have been detected from the title and the reading list, I am still mired in POV issues. There is a growing need to focus on the world-building, to attach the created world to this with thin fibers that may detach easily in the telling yet draw one back toward the end so that we are left by the side of the same road that we stood on in the beginning. IMHO, this that started as a simple justification for a short story that was roundly dismissed as being only worthwhile if it could be perfected has become one of those things that has grown to swallow worlds in its expansion and yet is, as any draft, an evanescent, vanishing project just as likely to pop into nothing as to coalesce into a book. There is no perfection that I can bring to it, only a simple management of air to keep it aloft.