Saturday, 26 May 2018

More about reading

I am 5/6ths of the way through Diane Setterfield’s novel “Bellman and Black”.  It has kept me reading long after my ‘lights out’ bedtime.  Like her first book, “The Thirteenth Tale”, it exemplifies the word (if there is one) unputdownable.  But now I have stopped and I have put it down.  Why this apparently strange change of behaviour?

A couple of days ago when I turned the last page of “The Thirteenth Tale” I felt quite bereft.  Have you ever felt like that upon finishing a book?  Even if the story itself has reached a satisfactory conclusion one wants the characters to live on, the writing style to be there for some more pages, the imagery to continue…   At least with “The Thirteenth Tale” I knew I had “Bellman and Black” on its way in the post (for a penny plus postage!) so I would be able to have more of the same writing style.  But Diane Setterfield hasn’t written a third novel yet. 

If you recognise the feeling of not wanting the book to ever end can you name a book that left you feeling that way?

(In my case another that springs to mind is “The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet” by David Mitchell). 

Friday, 25 May 2018

Street furniture - Bollards and stanchions

I have been looking through some of my old slides of Liverpool from the 1960s and came across these pictures of bollards and stanchions used to keep carriage and cart wheels from going over the pavement (i.e, for my American readers - the sidewalk) or hitting the corners of buildings.

And this one is my favourite - someone embedded cannons either side of this gateway on the Dock Road.

Wednesday, 23 May 2018

Reading can be dangerous

I have just read “The Thirteenth Tale” by Diane Setterfield.  A most enjoyable book to begin my reading again.  The heroine’s father owns a bookshop and reading forms both the background and the foreground to her life.  Asked to write the biography of a reclusive author she finds it impossible to resist the request and becomes more and more absorbed in the author’s life and its remarkable revelations.  I thoroughly recommend it. 

“Still in my coat and hat, I sank onto the stair to read the letter.  (I never read without making sure I am in a secure position.  I have been liked this ever since the age of seven when, sitting on a high wall and reading The Water Babies, I was so seduced by the descriptions of underwater life that I unconsciously relaxed my muscles.  Instead of being held buoyant by the water that so vividly surrounded me in my mind, I plummeted to the ground and knocked myself out.  I can still feel the scar under my fringe now.  Reading can be dangerous.)”

“For me, to see is to read.  It has always been that way.”

Monday, 21 May 2018

The sun is out and so is the camera

“When you least expect it, you hear the dreadful click which is driving the world mad…  Wherever you be, on land or sea, you hear that awful click of the amateur photographer, Click, Click, Click.”

                                                     Musical comedy act of the 1890s

Sunday, 20 May 2018

Reading again

After months of being unable to read books I can read again and because of my cravings have already devoured half a dozen books.  According to the Christian Miscellany and Family Visitor (c1869) there is no hope for me....

“Novel reading tends to inflame the passions, pollute the imagination, and corrupt the heart.  It frequently becomes an inveterate habit, strong and fatal as that of a drunkard.  In this state of intoxication, great waywardness of conduct is always sure to follow.  Even when the habit is renounced, and genuine reformation takes place, the individual always suffers the cravings of former excitement.” 

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