A “right good-will draught” to end the year

It was the best, most, and first of times. 2017 was other adjectival things too, but I’ll stick to the good bits. Best reads (in alphabetical order by author surname) Grand Hotel, Vicki Baum A Favourite of the Gods, Sybille Bedford Notes from a Dead House, Fyodor Dostoevsky Old Filth, Jane Gardam Hild, Nicola Griffith…

Love letters

About three years ago, one of my beloveds sent me this short email: I’m not sure if I’ve ever shared with you my creed, which was put into words for me by the considerate E.M. Forster. This is it: “I believe in aristocracy, though–if that is the right word, and if a democrat may use it….

Dear “Lucy”

Dear “Lucy,” I wanted to let you know that I received your comment on this old book review; you wrote: When stupid reviewers write crap reviews! Really–every comment elicits a face palm! Ever considered doing something else with your time? Having received death threats for a negative review of a Cormac McCarthy novel as well…

Hunkering down

I used to love a good winter hunker: curled up in a great armchair like Alice, but with a book rather than a ball of wool, tea and toast at hand, and in latter days, the fireplace channel roaring gaily on the TV. Hunkering was easier and could be continued almost indefinitely when I was…

Reading everywhere

Two things. First, this is not a polemic celebrating the extreme sport of reading and walking at the same time (a sport known also by its adherents simply as “reading”). I am, of course, at least theoretically in favour of this dangerous and endearing activity, having once been one of its greatest long distance athletes. But…

The hellish hot heat

It is 7 am as I begin this post. I’ve been awake since before 5 am (MRI on my messed up knee–one of the much sought after middle of the night appointments. I only waited 2 months for it! Have you ever had an MRI? It’s rather like being in a mysterious torture device in…