Monday, April 26, 2010
It is Monday and I am reading two wonderful novels, two wonderful poets, two wonderful research books and two wonderful books I have already read but seem to keep picking up. It is a week in twos.
Jude Morgan's Passion: genius. Lyric, thickly layered genius. Caroline Lamb, Augusta Leigh, Byron (I always forget he had a club foot), Coleridge, Mary Wollstonecraft, Mary Shelley (but as she has not met Shelley yet she is Mary Godwin), the Duchess of Devonshire, the Prince Regent, the French Revolution and Fanny Brawne have all taken the stage.
The other novel, Victoria Hislops's The Return is waiting in the wings. I read her first book, The Island. It is an unexpected mix of Greece, WWII, true love, community, isolation, and leprosy. It gripped me in a way I did not see coming. The lovable but not terribly well stocked Borders is the only option on the island where I live. Amazon will fly over the seas and find you but I like to pick up a book, meet it, weigh it, read it before I buy it. Our Borders often nudges you, with its dwindling stock, to read books you would not otherwise try. Often, as in the case of The Island, I have been very glad.
Auden: always. I memorize two poems a month. It is a practice left over from college. At least six times a year, it is Auden.
Zbignew Herbert: another favorite. 'London Rain' is a never ending web of intricate, doubled over thought. You will find you are chasing your tail in the most wonderful way.
Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors. This book picked up ferocious steam in the third third. It yanked all the long ago laid down tracks together and built a thundering highway of an ending.
Glass of Time by Michael Cox. I find I am haunted by this man's Victorian, ghostly, ivy covered book. The atmosphere of it crawls and creeps and comes looking for you--as all Victorian Gothic novels worth their salt should do.
"Worth one's salt" by the way is a pre 900ad phrase that refers to the practice of paying Roman soldiers in "salarium" or allowance to buy salt.