Monday, December 03, 2007

Catching up

Because I took the last two days of blop to write the 100 things posts, I didn't write my literary post for the week, nor did I write my fitness update. Here's where things stand on those fronts.

I finally finished "The Gravedigger's Daughter" by Joyce Carol Oates. I'd never read anything by Oates before, though I had heard of her. The book looked interesting in the library, so I thought I'd give it a shot. I'm a pretty fast reader so I didn't think a 600-page book would be a big deal, but it took me more than a week to finish it because it was so darn heavy. It's no light reading, not the sort of thing you take for a trip to the beach. But the story is gripping and thoroughly satisfying, despite the unusual prose style.

The story begins from the perspective of the title character, Rebecca Schwart, the daughter of an immigrant German Jewish family. Her life is told in snatches of time jumping back and forth between past and present. It is clear that her life has not been easy, nor have the lives of her family members. She finally escapes an abusive husband and changes her entire identity (and that of her young son). The second part of the book chronicles her life as her new self and her sense of self-preservation as she moves her son around from place to place. The character's personality has changed along with her identity, name, and hair color. This second part is written very differently than the first. There is a part 3, but in order not to ruin any surprises I'm going to refrain from spoiling it. Though the book was a difficult read in terms of subject matter (abusive relationships, difficult childhood, what it meant to be Jewish in this country during/after WWII, disturbing imagery), I'm glad I made it through.

* * * * * *
Last week, I managed 2 hours Monday (cardio and Power Pump), a new class Tuesday (combination cardio latin dancing and cardio kickboxing), 40 minutes cardio Wednesday, the hardcore Pilates class Thursday (but no spin class, I needed the break) and full weight circuit with 20 minutes cardio on Friday. I loved the new class - they call it Zumba Kickbox or something and the first part of the class was some sort of fusion latin dancing, the second part cardio kickboxing. I'd never done kickboxing before (despite wanting to) because the teacher who has taught kickboxing at my gym up until this point has the most annoying voice I have ever heard. Hearing his voice when I walk by his classes makes me want to commit homicide. I'm glad they have this new teacher doing this new class, because I really liked it.

I was already sore from my 2 hours of working out on Monday and the new class totally kicked my ass, because on Wednesday I was as sore as the day after the first time I snowboarded. I hurt EVERYWHERE. So I took it relatively easy on myself Wednesday and Thursday and by Friday I felt OK. Saturday we did quite a bit of walking (walked from home to downtown and back twice); Sunday we walked to the zoo, around the zoo, and home from the zoo. The zoo is in City Park, about a 2.5 mile walk from our house, so if you add in all the walking we did while gawking at the animals, we probably walked 8 miles. I think I got enough exercise last week - I'm feeling pretty good. My intention is to continue at the gym every week day, and to do 2 hours at least 2 week days. I think 3 2-hour days might be pushing it a bit much. Plus, we're going to continue to get some decent amount of exercise on at least one weekend day. I've got a dress to try on in late December and I'd like it to be pleasantly loose. That way I have a little bit of leeway for all the gelato I'm going to be scarfing down in Italy.


Sara said...

You're going to be walking everywhere in Italy anyway! On our 3-week honeymoon we ate dessert EVERY NIGHT (not just gelato but like a full dessert) and I came home only 2 lbs heavier than when I left.

Littlefoot said...

I am always tempted by Oates but have never taken the plunge. I am currently trying to dig my way through The Brothers Karamazov and it is taking me forever. Any other good book recommendations in case I can't tough this one out?

MLE said...

Sara: You're right, we'll probably be walking a lot, but I'm not going to count on losing the kind of weight I did in China (approx. 10 lbs in 3 weeks, just from walking a lot!) There was no gelato in China. :)

littlefoot: Welcome! I got about 2/3 through Bros. K before giving up. If you're looking for readable Russian lit, you might try Anna Karenina. If you're looking for book recs in general, I've got tons. Have you read the Time Traveler's Wife?