More specifically concerning: reading
Up, coffee, letter, Thucydides, coffee & lunch, bookstore, room, The Third Policeman, tea, bed.
Up, coffee, Greek historiography, Kagan YCS 24, send letters, breakfast, library (return books), Athenian culture (the oikos, the womens’ sphere, pederasty), coffee, library (return books, renew, and borrow Arethusa 11), groceries (bread, milk, etc., no honey), room, At Swim-Two-Birds, email, lunch, package, treats, novel, bath, At Swim-Two-Birds, bed.
Up, coffee, At Swim-Two-Birds, email, breakfast, library (return books), coffee, museum (periodicals, course reading), library (Thucydides, etc.), The Blessing, lunch, room, The Blessing, bread, Thucydides, bed.
Up, coffee, bath, Love in a Cold Climate (it troubles me somewhat, being clever and charming and not especially brilliant, the characters remain, as intended I suppose, card-board cut-outs — Cedric, for instance, is an insult to one’s intelligence — though it is entertaining to ponder the actual schedule of the narrator), library (Greek Religion, […]
(unwell) Up (after a night of heated sleep, not tossing and turning, but trapped in the stillness inimical to rest), coffee, Ulysses, email, breakfast, library (return books & borrow Greek Prose Style), Athenian Culture, museum (return & borrow books), bookstore (check on religion books in cheap paperbacks), library (translations & TLS), email, lunch, room, tea, […]
(unwell) Up, coffee, essay, breakfast, email, essay, snooze, deliver essay, room, bed, A Room with a View, talk to Mama, mint tea, drift in & out of wakefulness, sleep.
Up, coffee, Baroque, Women in Ancient Persia (559–331 BC), Brahms, tea, notecards, Elgar, African Civilizations, brunch, groceries, room, Omeros, tea, continue reading, call M, Bach, bed.
Up, coffee, Women in Ancient Persia…, email, breakfast, letters, Athenian Culture, library (kinship diplomacy), library II (return book, renew books on Greek cults & borrow book on Roman Rhetoric), coffee, bookstore, bread & milk, room, settle, lunch, write letters, tea, Bach, Ulysses, &c., talk (dreadful and dull), room, bed.
Up, email, breakfast, library (kinship diplomacy), coffee, museum, bookstore, post-office (stamps for letter & forms), room, read, St. John’s Passion, tea, read, Ninth, read, email, dinner, room, bed.
Overcast toneless gray, neither warm nor cold. Reading The Ambassadors, then up, out and to coffee. Purchased litre of orange juice, email, return to room, where reading Hellenistic history, Sophocles & Antiphon whilst trying to organize my bibliography. Dull and stupid, partook of tea & more Henry James, then tired at last, to bed.
After a night of nausea, day dawned bright and clear, no frost, but chill preceding spring. Spent much of the day in bed, feeling not well enough for anything, though did stumble through more of The Ambassadors. To sleep early, with thanks.
Dark smoke-blue sky and evidence of rain, to which was added the sound of car alarm. Naturally. Organizing bibliography, &c., but in no humor for nearly anything.
More laundry and packing and reading of A Concise History of Greece. Tidying things up in general, as a means of distracting myself from Roman history and the minutiae of Greek grammar. Also looking wistfully at the three library books I must return tomorrow; I’ve had them for six weeks, but have scarce made a […]
People sat or sprawled on the lawns, soaking in the sunshine or lolling in the shade. I, meanwhile, was content to walk along the river bank and admire the scene, the hum of bees, &c. The rest of the morning passed amid thoughts of the ancient Greek aristocracy, kaloikagathoi, the beautiful and the good. Have […]
Again, up early. Restless. Still reading the Letters of Rupert Brooke. Aside from having a perfectly splendid name and being a tremendously handsome (in the English manner, if you like that sort of thing) minor poet, I find he even manages to write amusing letters, about such interesting things as, well, life – which is […]
Something like a gloomy day; morning in the library, then returned couchwards for coffee & short stories. The old brain could handle nothing stronger; I put it down to a slight overindulgence in Shostakovich string quartets yesterday evening…
Perfectly idle, reading Infinite Jest, which is not so bad as I remember. I finally got more than ten pages into it, which seems highly virtuous of me. It would have been more virtuous if I hadn’t needed to read Lysias instead.
16.10.01 – Tuesday
At some point I find myself watching the clouds – the leaves are changing – some trees are already bare – but the clouds, the warm, the cold, the gathering, dispersing. Autumn puts me in mind of wool jackets, wood smoke, the break of apples, dust of books; also: steam rising from coffee; yellow-orange leaves […]
19.10.01 – Friday
compare Scrutinizing my recent reading and find that I’ve been spending far too much time ambling through modern literature – which would, I suppose, be acceptable if I were reading Proust or Eliot or some other frightfully clever & dreadfully important authors, but I’m not – I’m reading the squabblers, with personalities more interesting than […]
29.10.01 – Monday
Reading Medea (γυνὴ γὰρ ὀξύθυμος, ὡς δ’ αὔτως ἀνήρ, // ῥάιων φυλάσσειν ἢ σιωπηλὸς σοφή. (319–20)). Ah, ionic elements! We are fond of our archaicisms – and might be in danger of descending to dactylic hexameters… give us a minute.
1.11.01 – Thursday
Much of the day spent in reading – Agora excavations and Dreiser’s The ‘Genius’. Waited late into the night in the language center for befuddled first-year Latin students to seek help; apparently, on Thursday nights, beginning Latinists have no difficulties with the lingua. I was left, then, to amuse myself as best I could, which […]
19.11.01 – Monday
Softly, softly. Malthakôs. The oak leaves are falling at last — air of unreality, setting a scene (tho’ not making one). Received two glorious letters — read them in the afternoon light while waiting for the bus. Invariably waiting for the inevitable bus. There really is something about reading Plato. I can’t explain it. The […]
22.11.01 – Thursday
Virginia Woolf’s Between the Acts – Palestrina, Missa Brevis — the smell of baking apples – seeds of a pomegranate. Cold air – blue sky.
8.12.01 – Saturday
Reading Invitation to a Beheading: In the evenings he would feast on ancient books in the lazy enchanting lap of wavelets in the Floating Library, in memoriam of Dr. Sineokov, who had drowned in just that spot on the city river (27). Motivation, of course, something to do with latent shame, as usually I’m the […]
8.01.02 – Tuesday
Went last night to the Pleasant St. Theater and saw The Royal Tenenbaums on M’s recommendation. Anyway, it was enjoyable, much as reading Sartre or Pound in a bus station with the cold smell of dirt, stale coffee, and old cigarettes is fun, I suppose. It was uplifting, a tale of redemption, &c. Walked home […]
17.06.02 – Monday
The greatest pleasure I find in life is reading. In the past few weeks I have found much longed-for enrichment in such a quantity of books as I had thought myself unable to consume. Yet it is true that one hungry will, if possible, eat and the thirsty will, given the chance, drink – so […]
28.06.02 – Friday
‘I can always tell when you’re reading somewhere in the house,’ my mother used to say. ‘There’s a special silence, a reading silence.’ I never heard it, this extra degree of hush that somehow travelled through walls and ceilings to announce that my seven-year-old self had become about as absent as a present person could […]
Neither a borrower…
I have to remind myself it was only a book – mass-market paperback, pristine condition though bought used. I lent it to an acquaintance; I do not say she was a friend, because she was not. She was an acquaintance. At the time I would have compared her to a whirlwind, for wherever she went […]
The thing is
That it seems nothing is happening. I spend each and every day following the same routine, the dull rhythm of the week waxing and waning, more timely than the moon. Waking up at 5:30 in the morning, the darkness still swirling like the fog, I stumble, tumble down the stairs, make dark coffee and a […]
The Most Illustrious Purpled Person will choose to hear the rogue’s confession of his crime. – Don Tarquinio, chapter xvii It is a hot, and it is summer, and there is soymilk and milk made of almonds, and there is also water purchased in blue plastic containers, and I too sometimes think there should be […]
Dickinson is not known to have met with the new and exciting novels by American women that dominated the market in the 1850s, many of them patterned after The Wide, Wide World by Susan Warner: perhaps they were secured out by Amherst’s tastemakers. Whatever the explanation, most of the women’s books that crossed Dickinson’s path […]
splitted in the midst
Currently (and actively) reading (in no particular order): François Rabelais. Gargantua and Pantagruel. trans. J. M. Cohen. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1955.1 J. Innes Miller. The Spice Trade of the Roman Empire, 29 BC to AD 641. Oxford: Clarendon, 1969.2 Michel Foucault. The Archeology of Knowledge. trans. A. M. Sheridan Smith. London: Routledge, 1989 (1969).3 Goethe. Die […]
I call that day good in which I may spend the morning in bed reading Aubrey’s Brief Lives (cf.) and Cornelius Nepos.1 When Oxford surrendred, the first thing General Fairfax did was to sett a good Guard of Soldiers to preserve the Bodleian Library. ’Tis said that there was more hurt donne by the Cavaliers […]
adventurous students always read classics.
Among the Romanes a Poet was called Vates, which is as much as a diviner, foreseer, or Prophet, as by his conjoyned words Vaticinium, and Vaticinari, is manifest, so heavenly a title did that excellent people bestowe uppon this hart-ravishing knowledge, and so farre were they carried into the admiration thereof, that they thought in […]
de arte poetica liber
To my great embarrassment, I mistook this overview of William Blades’s Enemies of Books (via) for a poem1; e.g.: Bagford the biblioclast. Illustrations torn from MSS. Title-pages torn from books. Rubens, his engraved titles. Colophons torn out of books. Lincoln Cathedral Dr. Dibdin’s Nosegay. Theurdanck. Fragments of MSS. Some libraries almost useless. […] The care […]
Lately I’ve been thinking (very slowly) about the word choir and, in particular, its appearance in two familiar poems. The first is Wilfred Owen’s ‘Anthem for Doomed Youth‘, and the relevant passage (ll.5–8) runs as follows: No mockeries now for them; no prayers nor bells; Nor any voice of mourning save the choirs, — The […]
Love and Freindship (sic)
the perils of misspelling for young authors
Three chairs on the deck of the house opposite rock of their own volition, looking at the sea and seven sail-less sailboats. The bright pink flowers of potted geranium plants refuse to lose their petals. And I, sadly, am reading William Hazlitt.
Books to be packed. She sat rather glumly looking at her own hands, her chin drawn in as though suffering from indigestion, or a surfeit of English. – Patrick White The Vivisector, p. 317. I am, as it were, at sea. The most difficult part of packing books is deciding which ones I am most […]
Started reading The Museum of Unconditional Surrender by Dubravka Ugrešić. The novel proper begins as follows: 1. ‘Ich bin müde,’ I say to Fred. His sorrowful, pale face stretches into a grin. Ich bin müde is the only German sentence I know at the moment (3).1 I note this only because ‘Ich bin müde’ was […]
cricket, criticism, & Clytaemnestra
springtime and Cyprus
Daily experience shows that it is energetic individualism which produces the most powerful effects upon the life and action of others, and really constitutes the best practical education. Schools, academies, and colleges, give but the merest beginnings of culture in comparison with it. Far more influential is the life-education daily given in our homes, in […]
fiction of ideas
Between the limits of affection and antipathy for the author’s personality, the relationship of author and reader may take a score of different forms: admiration and respect without affection, as in the case, perhaps, of Thomas Hardy; exasperated affection as in the case of Kipling; devotion for Jane Austen; sheer worship or utter dislike for […]
Since selling off most of the books earlier this year, I’ve been trying to avoid purchasing more, which has led to increased, or perhaps simply more self-conscious library usage. The following are the books I have most recently checked out of the public and local university libraries (including three interlibrary loans): Aksakov: Years of Childhood […]
Up, coffee, tofu, e-mail, cook lunch, read book about world with no people, bicycle to work in the rain, make rude gesture at driver who runs stop sign at cross street, data entry, knit, drink hot chocolate, data entry, eat lunch, read book about emotionally confused people, shuffle papers, knit, shuffle papers, data entry, bicycle […]
all the baggage
So I was reading Paul Fussell’s book about travel, Abroad. Of course it’s not just about travel, though he does spend some thirty-odd (or more or less, I’ve returned it to the library and cannot refer to it now) pages lamenting the impossibility of true travel1 in this degraded age of tourism, it’s about literary […]
hold my coat and snicker
I remember being told by a teacher not to read Jane Eyre, because I would be reading it in her class in the fall. Of course I read it that summer. Propped in bed, or curled in a corner, but finally finishing peripatetic. That’s how I remember it, anyway. I walked the three miles from […]
Ho yuss! Vurry true.
Properly, we shd. read for power. Man reading shd. be man intensely alive. The book shd. be a ball of light in one’s hand (55).1 Reading Pound’s Guide to Kulcher, I was perplexed; partially because it is an odd book, aimed at those who don’t mind attending the university of the brain of Ezra Pound […]
at a loss
There is something outrageous in a person’s misdirecting a traveller who has lost his way and then leaving him to himself in error, yet what is that compared with causing someone to go astray in himself? The lost traveller, after all, has a consolation that the country around him is constantly changing, and with every […]
in the afternoon
Afternoon tea out at the country, in November.
I always thought that he did himself injustice in his account of what he had read, and that he must have been speaking with reference to the vast portion of study which is possible, and to which few scholars in the whole history of literature have attained; for when I once asked him whether a […]
A little light reading when the fog outside is so thick I can’t see the building opposite.
a spring febricitation
on overstimulation and minor authors and spring-time
Design for a chimneypiece (ca. 1762) A few months ago, I was reading Nikolaus Pevsner’s 1968 article on ‘The Architectural Setting of Jane Austen’s Novels’ and it got me to thinking. It must have, for here I am, still muddled by it months after the fact, which is not something that normally happens after my […]
And in choosing, from the midafternoon drowse, between a biography of Virginia Woolf, some slightly silly essayettes,1 and English Society in the Eighteenth Century (which is, as it sounds, an introductory history to society in 18th century England), I must choose the latter – because its aims are clear, and it will not fight with […]
in which Boswell observations some annotations.
a writer’s notebook
I was almost exactly halfway through Céleste Albaret’s recollections of Monsieur Proust when I realized I had erred in the matter of genre. I had supposed it was merely a servant’s memoir of her eccentric employer. Given the pains she takes to clarify her stances on her employer (not crazy, not malingering, not a bit […]
a few remark’s on Tatyana Tolstaya’s dystopian novel, The Slynx.
hours of indolence
…and of course one begins the year with the best of intentions, sweeping through books at a gallant pace, which one’s attempts at scribbling cannot match.
it would do beautifully
The inconstant reader. … I reminded him how often we had talked about my travels on the five continents and sixteen seas, and my inability to stay very long in one place. Although I was living peacefully in Pollensa, there was not guarantee it would be permanent. – Álvaro Mutis (Triptych on Sea and Land, […]
No snow, sadly. And of course expected – hoped for – snow at the mountain for Christmas; I’m sure there is, too, another few hundred feet further up. The only thing for it is to skate Skarphedin-like across the hardwood floors in stocking’d feet for another cup of tea.
A few books close at hand. Her favourite reading was a mouldy old book called Urn Burial, that she read in bed; and she liked creepy, rustling things like tortoises and cacti. She had a dark, haggard face that made one think of an old graveyard, but her eyes were so dark and deep that […]
A down-graded storm. There are of course other things I should be doing, even other things I should be reading, but just at the moment detective stories seem to be what I want. They are amusing and plotty and charmingly shamefaced. There’s not a one that takes itself too seriously, not one that claims it […]
A view (41)
… and it’s still snowing. …it was his professional dullness he had recovered, the dullness that he had assumed long ago, when he was still shy, in order to mislead the people he had to talk to, and that had become an almost unconscious reflex. – Georges Simenon (Maigret Has Scruples, p. 46)
Print is Dead
Jeff Gomez. Print is Dead: Books in Our Digital Age. London: Macmillan, 2008. Cf. permanent failure of digital publishing. The person who designed the interior must have been decidedly cranky. One could complain about setting it in a sans-serif, but that’s just typical for British books of this sort. The margins are the main issue […]
barrier to entry
Reading at the window, December 2013. There were too many things to do this summer, each day crowded with too of the little nothings that are so necessary if anything is going to happen. Now, though, projects are winding down, and there’s nothing to do but bustle about and procrastinate on those last few things […]
a mere habit
It is snowing outside and there is nothing to do save sit in front of the fire and read. Indeed, there is nothing one would rather be doing. Did she distrust all figurative language because she was sharply aware of the aptitude of the most languid figurative expressions for persisting as a mere habit of […]
the long road
Robert Adam, Ruins of the palace of the Emperor Diocletian at Spalatro in Dalmatia (1764) From time to time out of the text there emerged little black figures which postured on the white paper beside it, achieved a group which was magical, an incantation to death, and ran back again into the text, which carried […]
a wholesome note of doubt
‘With so little new reading-matter to distract us we were able to carry all the details in our head until the next issue.’
Crambe repetita (36)
Teffi, ‘One Day in the Future’ from Subtly Worded.
A bit of light reading from Terry and the Pirates. I’ve been spending much of March reading Will Eisner’s The Spirit (as reprinted by DC Comics), and trying to put it in some sort of context, which involves more reading (of Milton Caniff’s Terry and the Pirates and Chester Gould’s Dick Tracy). It hasn’t been […]
At this point it is unlikely I will finish reading any more books this year, so I might as well make a list of the books I most enjoyed reading in 2015: Rebecca West, Black Lamb and Grey Falcon Dashiell Hammett, The Thin Man Rebecca Solnit, The Faraway Nearby Anne Garréta, Sphinx Mary Lascelles, Jane […]
bettered novels (22.1)
First Impressions A walk in the country, ca. 1800 At the time I considered myself a great reader1 and East of Eden perhaps the greatest book ever written in English. So it is not a surprise that my first reading of Pride & Prejudice was not marked by any particular sympathy. It was recommended to […]
I grew weary of everything. In that state I re-acquired my love of reading, which I had long ago lost. The time for books I stole from my work, and that brought me fresh punishments. But, spurred on by opposition, this taste soon became a furious passion. […] Good or bad was alike to me. […]
These are by no means all of the books I read this year that I found enjoyable or good, but they are the ones that, when thinking back over the year, stood out to me as some of the better ones – or at least the ones that were the right books for me at […]
‘La Brioche’ (1763), Jean-Baptiste-Siméon Chardin [Mais aussi quand j’avais une fois ma chère petite brioche, et que, bien enfermé dans ma chambre, j’allais trouver ma bouteille au fond d’une armoire, quelles bonnes petites buvettes je faisais là tout seul en lisant quelques pages de roman !] Car lire en mangeant fut toujours ma fantaisie, au […]
an antique fashion shows
The cover was off-putting. A boy in a garden, glancing slyly back at an illicit meeting, in the unctuous watercolors so popular for mass market literary paperbacks of a certain age. I refer, of course, to a Penguin edition of First Love, translated by Isaiah Berlin, which, as a book, rather reminded me (not to […]
‘Ville Imaginaire II’, Erik Desmazieres (1999) I’ve stumbled into a course of reading where nearly everything resonates with each other, ideas reverberating from page to page and decade to decade, resulting in a common clarity rather than the expected bewilderment. Renee Gladman’s personal essays are enriched by reading them with Pierre Bourdieu’s cultural criticism; Greta […]
good, better, bested
Of the books I read in 2017, I would recommend the following: Peter Brown, Through the Eye of a Needle – an engaging look at wealth and the early church. Barbara Comyns, Our Spoons Came from Woolworths – a better presentation of the limits of intellect than An American Tragedy. Northrop Frye, The Educated Imagination […]
Saint Jerome Reading, (Jusepe de Ribera [called Lo Spagnoletto], ca. 1624) Proteus: Upon some book I love I’ll pray for thee. Valentine: That’s on some shallow story of deep love… The chair from which I work is by a window – or a set of windows, rather – overlooking a street and some trees and, […]