Monday, February 11, 2019

Literature again tonight, and not much of that. This is ridiculous. I’ll try bringing the knitting into the kitchen and seeing if I can’t get Neil MacGregor to talk to me on the iPad.

I’ve done a bit more Stronachlachar, knitting backwards and forwards on the back.

I do agree, Sarah, that movies are usually less satisfying than books. Bad books sometimes make quite good movies, however. I once read “Psycho” (or the book it’s based on). It’s terrible. I’ve ordered the paperback “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”. We shall see.

Kristen, if you can find the two Stephen King stories I have mentioned – “The Man in the Black Suit” and “That Feeling, You Can Only Say What It Is in French” -- I think you might like them. I remember recommending the latter to Rachel when it first appeared in the New Yorker, and she was grateful for the tip. She had skipped it because she thought it would be full of goblins and too scary for her.

My admiration for the first pages of “Persuasion” is based on the way the author presents so much essential information – about Sir Walter Elliot’s character and his situation – into so few, and such delightful, lines. Yes, Shandy, “Mansfield Park” remains my absolute favourite.

Indeed, Valerie, “Possession”! That would be one to read again. And, Lynne, yes! Barbara Pym. I haven’t read her for a long time, but the books are here.

However, today my reading has been much less high-minded. I have been speed-reading a biography of JFK’s sister Rosemary. My Aunt Jean, for whom I am named, was rather similar, I think. She was my mother’s slightly older sister. She was, like Rosemary, “slow” – my mother, who was clever, soon overtook her in achievements like walking and talking. In young adulthood, her behaviour could be unexpected and embarrassing. I don’t know much about her.

She died dreadfully – her nightgown caught fire one Sunday morning when she was getting dressed for church.

Tomorrow Helen and Archie and Fergus and I are going to see the new V&A outpost in Dundee. The consensus seems to be that the building is good but the contents less so.


  1. I've downloaded Neil McGregor podcasts on Shakespeare, Living with the Gods and Germany, and have 100 objects on CD. Excellent. All good listening.

  2. I found Stephen King’s book On Writing very interesting. I had read The Shining and hated it. A friend encouraged me to listen to Dolores Claiborne and I have listened to it twice, a few years apart. I recommend it. Not scary.

  3. My great aunt was "slow." I never noticed until I was 11 (caught up to her), and then she was gone before we got back. My mom still tells stories about some of the difficulties.