Friday, August 15, 2008

Thomas Hardy Likes the Gym

That title is my attempt to bring together the two completely different topics in this post. In the end it made about as much sense as putting two names together, like, say, Cassiesmeralda, but I'm going with it.

A few days ago I finished reading Thomas Hardy's Far From the Madding Crowd. The first half was more interesting to me, and in the end I didn't like it as much as Mayor of Casterbridge or Tess of the D'Urbervilles. Actually most of the time I was trying to figure out what the madding crowd was. I'm still not sure the title is the best he could have done, but whatever, it's just the title. And of course the whole thing was written well, with good characters and a surprisingly happy ending (mostly...). I'm not sure when I will pick up my next Hardy novel, but that will give me time to decide between Jude the Obscure and Return of the Native.

When I'm reading books I try to keep an eye out for good sentences or paragraphs. Sometimes I like something because an idea is well expressed, and sometimes I just like them because the words work so well together. I found a few of these in Madding Crowd but this one from chapter 15 was my favorite:

"The maltster's lack of teeth appeared not to sensibly diminish his power as a mill. He had been without them for so many years that toothlessness was felt less to be a defect than hard gums an acquisition. Indeed, he seemed to approach the grave as a hyperbolic curve approaches a straight line--less directly as he got nearer, till it was doubtful if he would ever reach it all."

So now for the gym part. My history with exercise is generally pretty sketchy. I didn't start running regularly until late 2005, and I got up to doing three miles. Then I graduated and went home and went to the gym instead of running around south Provo. Then I went to grad school and my exercise was basically walking to and from the bus stop. But! This week I have gone back to the gym and yesterday I did three miles on the elliptical machine in 40 minutes, and today I did the same in 37 minutes. Progress!

Hopefully when I get back to Indiana I will start running outside again, which is sooo much easier than running a treadmill. Ferskner, you are in charge of informing me of a good route since you know the neighborhood.

OK, now I'm going to go eat some pizza and undo my work at the gym.


  1. I know what you mean about certain wordings striking you a certain way. Ironically, there's one that particularly struck me, and I'm having a brain fart and can't recall it! I do, however, remember my Douglas Adams; he had a real way with words.

    "The ships hung in the air in much the same way bricks don't."

    Ford: (About travel through hyperspace) "It's unpleasantly like being drunk."
    Arthur: "What's so unpleasant about being drunk?"
    Ford: "You ask a glass of water."

    As far as exercise, I'm trying to get into a routine. It's been about eight years since I could run three miles. I'm cutting back on soda; it still tastes extremely good, but if I drink a lot it upsets my stomach a bit in ways that it didn't before. So before, people would say "don't drink that, you'll undo all the exercise you did today!" and I would reply "I exercise so I can keep drinking soda." No more!

    I suppose you'll say "see, I told you so." I finally admit my soda addiction, but it is breaking.

  2. I love running, but I hate the gym. I love Thomas Hardy best of all authors, but Madding Crowd isn't my favorite of his work.

  3. I've never read a Thomas Hardy book, but I own several. Is that really surprising?

    I would be happy to show you my favorite routes! I have a couple in the neighborhood. I would suggest that we go running together, but I don't really like people seeing me like that.

  4. To quote myself (in a convoluted way) as I was talking to Ferskner last night, "I hate running. I'm more of a step aerobics, pilates, grilled cheese and french fries kind of girl." Yeah, I know I need to get over that.

    We have also talked about Thomas Hardy before. I do want to read him, I really do. But the plot of Tess of the d'Urbervilles is just so sad. . . .

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