I wander over to the Modern Classics shelf and see what catches my eye. Last time it was The Master and Margarita. This time it's Ford Madox Ford's First World War tetralogy, Parade's End.
Project Balzac seems to be over, by the way. I kept going until it stopped being fun- which it did with Une Tenebreuse Affaire- a stodgy wedge of royalist propaganda, laughably described as a "thriller". I love Balzac- and I'm sure I'll go back to him- but right now I want a change of air.
I pick Ailz up. "You could have done with being in there," she says," They were teaching us to think positively."
I give her a banana for her blood sugar.
"I was talking to "A", she says. "A" is one of the counsellors. This is what happens with Ailz. Coven or no coven, she's a High Priestess- and gives off "confide in me" vibes. "A"- poor kid- a British-born Asian- has just married a guy from Pakistan who doesn't speak English and doesn't have any skills or qualifications- and it's turning out to be a really tough gig for both of them. (This wasn't a forced marriage, by the way, merely arranged; they both agreed to it.) Her friends have been commiserating with her since- "oh yes, that's just like me and my husband"- but none of them had the kindness to warn her in advance.
There's a book that comes with the course. It's a workbook. You go through it, ticking boxes. Maybe I'll work through it myself, when Ailz is finished. Yes, I do expect the worst. Always have done.