Books 2010

Books 2009

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Thursday, 26 February 2009


I nearly borrowed Rabbit Run recently as it is a trilogy I have often wished to read. However I borrowed Kafka on the Shore instead (the cute black kitten on the cover got the better of me). I must say I am not disappointed in the Murakami, and the concept of a flute made from the souls of murdered cats is an intriguing and disturbing one, especially for me. I´ll finish the Murakami next week and then I think I will seek out Updike.

I hope you get as much out of Updike as I have found in Anthony Powell, to whom you introduced me. Updike's prose is compelling, his insights often uncomfortable but essentially humane and civilised.

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  • Nothing is of greater consolation to the author of a novel than the disovery of readings he had not conceived but which are then prompted by his readers. (Umberto Eco, Reflections on The Name of the Rose)
  • ... relatively few persons in London ... can afford the luxury of one or more servants. No fewer than 3,700,000 have no servants at all, and of the half million that have servants 227,000 have only one. (The Times, 6 June 1895)
  • Standing among savage scenery, the hotel offers stupendous revelations. There is a French widow in every bedroom, affording delightful prospects. (Tyrolean inn brochure, according to Gerard Hoffnung)
  • (A doctor is at an elderly relative's deathbed) "The old sawbones, eh?" he bellowed ... "Just in the nick, perhaps. Haul the old girl back by the short hairs, if you ask me. Devilish smart at his work ... Always take a fence with more confidence when I know he's out with us."
  • Too often, when a man of Monty Godkin's mental powers is plunged in thought, nothing happens at all. The machinery just whirs for a while, and that is the end of it. (P G Wodehouse, Heavy Weather)
  • ...the breed that take their pleasures as Saint Laurence took his grid (Kipling, The Five nations)

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