Wednesday, 12 March 2014

Book Club

Members: 1, me.

The pile of books this month consists on: The Wine-Dark Sea, by Patrick O'Brian; Carrington, Letters & Extracts from her Diaries and the Hare with Amber Eyes, by Edmund de Vaal.

My pile of books are a revolving tower. They don't follow a peaking order or a consistent time dedicated to each in which the next is due. It is at random that my hand reach and decide the lecture of the moment.

The only constant presence in my pile of books for a few years now is the name of Patrick O'Brian. Since Mr Moore introduced me to his favourite author I got hooked almost immediately, once I learned to skip all the maritime language I have consistently and religiously read the 20 books of the Aubrey-Maturin collection. I am now in my second round, in number 16th, The Wine-Dark Sea.

By now I know all the characters rather well and I am very fond of them all, starting with Captain Aubrey, Dr Maturin, handsome Mr Pullings, etc. and including Preserved Killing and Awkward Davies, fabulous names. They are all my friends.

My cunning plan in reading this collection again and again is to get to talk like these people eventually. In Georgian times (methinks) English language was at its peak of elegance and if at least I get to grasp 10% of it I will be happy.

This plan is as cunning as the idea of opening this blog to practice my English in writing, which I fail again and again. Please feel free to correct it.

I found in one a second hand bookshop in Dorchester this book of the Diaries of Dora Carrington. I am a nostalgic creature and miss the lost art of writing letters. In my lifetime this practice ceased. I am hoping I still have a bag full of letters in my mum's house. An impulse of nostalgia in advance.

As I opened the book I saw that like many people she would fill the letters with illustrations. I remember I used to do that too.

Why did we lose that practice. Why oh why?

And finally The Hare with Amber Eyes, that a friend recommended a while ago and I discovered in the local library. 

It is the story that Edmund de Vaal, a ceramist that I respect highly, wrote about his collection of netsuke. A collection that has been passed through his family. He researched from the first one of his ancestors who acquired the collection and how it passed to different family members.

But for some reason I am struggling to connect with it. It is a good thing that I have to return it to the library, I am pushing myself to go from one page to the other. Sorry Edmund! sorry netsuke!

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