Tag Archives: Virginia Woolf

Take a look, it’s in a book……somewhere

This is a self-indulgent post in which  I record my reading list ( read, reading, and to be read);  consider how far I have travelled without leaving home; and  note very briefly what knowledge, useful or otherwise,   I have learned on my literary tour.

It is a post which is the equivalent of an entry I would have made in my version of a commonplace book, more than a decade ago, before the computer stole my soul.

READ (Where I have been; quite far it seems)

What I’ve learned:

Danger Music by Eddie Ayres

Music will out even in the most dreadful of circumstances, hence the establishment of the amazing Afghanistan National Institute of Music

 

 

The Wife’s Tale by Aida Edemariam

There is a rich tradition of poetry in Ethiopia, which is not well-known outside of Ethiopia. One particular  type of scholarly poetry is called q’ene and plays with the double meanings of words. It often introduces words from Ge’ez, the ancient Semitic language from which Amharic derives, now only used in the Ethiopian Orthodox church. So a q’ene will have a surface (wax) interpretation but also a deeper and richer (gold) meaning, giving it the title semenna worq (wax and gold).

 

Classical Music by Joy Cowley

Some books choose you. After all what are the chances of reading your life, as it is unfolding,  in the first sentence of the first chapter of a book which you selected randomly from a pile of donated books ~”My father is dead and it is raining.” Thus it was on both counts.

The Thunderbolt Pony by Stacy Gregg

Reading about recent earthquakes on my home turf still makes my heart race.

The Kettle on the Fuchsia by Barbara Harper

I am a  wimp. I would have been a useless pioneer. And it was interesting to realise that a  lack of aeroplanes and fossil fuels was  never a barrier to travel.

Island of Shattered Dreams by Chantal Spitz

This book is available to us thanks to translation by Jean Anderson, founder of the New Zealand Centre for Literary Translation.  To understand each other we need to read each other.

A Notable Woman edited by Simon Garfield

Data collection is nothing new. We have just changed the way we collect it. Before Google and Facebook,  there was the Mass Observation project.  Mass Observation was founded 75 years ago in 1937 by the South African poet, communist and journalist Charles Madge and two English eccentrics: the filmmaker and polymath Humphrey Jennings and the anthropologist and self-publicist Tom Harrisson. Formed in the aftermath of the  abdication crisis, Mass Observation sought to bridge the gap between how the media represented public opinion and what ordinary people actually felt and thought. The Mass Observation Archives are at the University of Sussex.

The Secret Life of Cows by Rosamund Young

Cows love to live in family groups and have a rich emotional life, not unlike humans.

Advice for Future Corpses by Sallie Tisdale

Was this the wisest choice of reading material for a Trans-Tasman flight? The book begins “Chapter 1 Dangerous Situation.  Right now: imagine dying.”   Turns out I can do that in mid-air though it did feel slightly uncomfortable.

Scribbling the Cat by Alexandra Fuller

I may never understand how  different people/groups/races  in a country can love their country more deeply and fiercely than they do their fellow man.  It’s a strange love that tears a country apart. And Scribbling the Cat is not a good thing to do.

READING (Where I am; in China and New Zealand)

Rewi Alley An Autobiography

Rewi Alley’s interest in China was piqued by his encounters with the Chinese Labour Corps  who worked tirelessly for the Allies during World War One.

To Read Maybe, One Day, Sometime…….. (Where I may go; New Zealand, the United Kingdom, the library)

Changing Lives  by Janice Marriott and Virginia Pawsey

The Curious Curiosity by Glenda Barnett who lives in North Devon and is better known to me as blogger Celia Ladygarden

Granite and Rainbow: Essays by Virginia Woolf

Wherein  I hope to read more excellent essays like ‘ Hours in a Library’  which is the source of this lovely quote about reading lists and notebooks.

 If we wish to refresh our memories, let us take down one of those old notebooks which we have all, at one time or another, had a passion for beginning. Most of the pages are blank, it is true; but at the beginning we shall find a certain number very beautifully covered with a strikingly legible handwriting. Here we have written down the names of great writers in their order of merit; here we have copied out fine passages from the classics; here are lists of books to be read; and here, most interesting of all, lists of books that have actually been read, as the reader testifies with some youthful vanity by a dash of red ink. We will quote a list of the books that someone read in a past January at the age of twenty, most of them probably for the first time. 

In conclusion: I want to  thank my sister-in-law and her sister who keep my bookshelves stocked with a wonderful, eclectic collection of excellent reading material. Without them I wouldn’t have read or travelled very far this year.

(Mem.: mail system undergoing change; write encouraging post )

I am delighted…

with my newly arrived  Persephone Books ;

In love with My Persephone Books

Delighted with My Persephone Books

with their dove grey  jackets,

their carefully  selected endpapers,

Endpapers

Endpapers

and matching bookmarks,

Designer Bookmarks

Designer Bookmarks

and I’m  smitten with the cute  Lil packets they came in.

(Mem.: Refrain from vigorous mail opening.  Reduces ability to decipher messages written on envelope.)

And I am also delighted to report that the happy Lil mailing pouches were able to land, safe and dry, in a new mail box.

And the mail person aka as the postie was most likely just as delighted to be able to  place the mail in a secure receptacle, at long last.

Prim,  Proper, Practical

Prim, Proper, Practical

However, I miss the  old mail pail. It was full of character

Will this start a new trend?

Will this start a new trend? (Query: it didn’t; possible design flaws? )

and gave me a laugh but, unhappily, it was also full of water whenever it rained; which was frequently, during March and April and the first part of May. So, it had to go, back to hibernation in my neighbour’s garage.

Because the shared mail pail worked out well for my neighbour and I, we decided we would continue with our joint mail box. It seemed the economical, practical thing to do. (Mem.: ponder that an incident of vandalism, which could have produced fearfulness and distrust and heightened security has led to an atmosphere of greater trust and openness. …)

( Query: What was the postal delivery system like for Delafield and Woolf circa 1930s, when people exchanged letters almost as frequently as current trend with text and tweets;  Answers possibly found here: “Robin’s letter arrives by second post, ”  and  here and here

W H Auden ” This is the Night Mail “

This is the Night Mail crossing the border,
Bringing the cheque and the postal order,
Letters for the rich, letters for the poor,
The shop at the corner and the girl next door……..

Letters with holiday snaps to enlarge in,
Letters with faces scrawled in the margin,
Letters from uncles, cousins, and aunts,
Letters to Scotland from the South of France,
Letters of condolence to Highlands and Lowlands
Notes from overseas to Hebrides —

Written on paper of every hue,
The pink, the violet, the white and the blue,
The chatty, the catty, the boring, adoring,
The cold and official and the heart outpouring,
Clever, stupid, short and long,
The typed and printed and the spelt all wrong….

(Mem.: Consider consulting McCall Smith on  why  W H Auden still matters  ; and whether they can say if the post still matters. Suspect it jolly well does. )

© silkannthreades