Books 2010

Books 2009

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Friday, 26 June 2009


I find myself in the interesting position of being on 'garden leave'; for the uninitiated, this is when you resign from company A in order to join company B, but company A makes you serve out your (paid) notice at home in order to keep you away from a workplace to which you can make no real positive contribution, as much of the work is confidential and ongoing.
So this puts me in an unusual position, one whose irony I like to think Larkin would have appreciated. I can, at company A's expense, read the complete works of Trollope, improve my golf, go fishing, and even, as it is garden leave, remodel my garden. Perhaps it should be seen as another way of befriending the toad.

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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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