Wordy Wednesday: Who is Vera Kelly? By Rosalie Knecht
Five years ago Mark gifted me a subscription to Book of the Month Club. I credit this subscription with my return to reading after getting my doctorate. After graduating I worked my butt off for twelve hours on weekdays plus Saturday morning in a busy chiropractic clinic. I barely felt human: a chicken with its head cut off or a hamster on a wheel more aptly describes that stage of my life. With the Book of the Month subscription I began to read during the meager bouts of free time I had, and I found it to be more restorative than watching a show or scrolling Facebook.
Once again I find myself feeling frantic and overwhelmed. This time my husband Mark is the one who just graduated with his doctorate (I’m so proud of him!), and his parents flew in to visit and celebrate. We're moving to a new apartment, and we’re adopting a pair of cats (named MaMa and Olive) when the move is complete. My students are wrapping up the school year with AP tests and finals, and my summer school students have already begun classes. It’s been crazy!
Understandably, reading has become a low priority. I’m reading less often, for shorter periods of time, and I’m reading easier books. (Did you know that Christy Miller’s story continues after high school?) The books I’m choosing are less literary and have fewer words to teach me.
Until I picked up Who Is Vera Kelly? by Rosalie Knecht. Saturday afternoon I hung out in the hammock and read the first fifty pages. So far the novel’s narrator keeps switching between 1957 Maryland and 1966 Argentina, the latter of which is where she works undercover. It’s fun and smart and full of words to look up. Below are a few I’ve encountered so far.
“What had Gerry said? ‘When Nico helps you, he really helps you.’ A negative corollary hanging there, unsaid” (8).
Noun: a proposition that follows from (and is often appended to) one already proved.
Adjective: forming a proposition that follows from one already proved.
To become a chiropractor the corollary is to become an entrepreneur.
2. au courant
“Marx was au courant, a strange handmaiden to Freud in the echoing hallways of the UC” (8).
adjective: aware of what is going on; well-informed. Fashionable.
Why say someone is “woke” when you could describe them as au courant?
“I had seen Elena hectored on other nights for her tailored coat and patent shoes, her parents’ apartment on a pleasant side street in Palermo”(47).
verb: talk (to someone) in a bullying way
Bullying, trolling, hectoring, whatever you call it, don’t do it!