10 October 2010

Why I never get anything done

I should be tackling the ironing thrown over a chair for the last ten days, but instead I'll quickly note some of the FASCINATING bits gleaned from the year-old Guardian review section that I read in bed last night.

1) I had never stopped to think that the word museum comes from "the Greek term "museion"... first applied to temples dedicated to the muses."

2) Resonant lines from poet Kevin Hart: "A single word can darken the widest room / Even in summer."

3) Martin Amis, writing on Vladimir Nabokov and observing that Saul Bellow found Nabokov's "patricianism" a weakness, commented that "Nabokov [is] the classic émigré, Bellow the classic immigrant." Both writers are in his pantheon of literary heroes. [I was particularly grateful for the way Amis has now allowed me not to feel guilty about being put off Nabokov by Ada.]

4) Guppies is the new term for the "Great Unpublished."

5) From Katharine Whitehorn's review of David Kynaston's Family Britain 1951-1957: Tales of a New Jerusalem — "rationing [was] not finally called off until July 1954"; in 1952 London smog was so bad that "a performance of La Traviata had to be cancelled halfway through because the audience could no longer see the stage"; "as late as 1958, Woman's Own didn't do bathroom features, because too few of their readers had one"; and the obligatory sand reference, teddy boys going out for a night on the town with their "wooden stakes and sand-filled socks."

6) Virginia Woolf on the outsider status of women writers (A Room of One's Own): "I thought how unpleasant it is to be locked out; and I thought how it is worse perhaps to be locked in."

7) For Kate and Michael, from a review of Filthy English: "it was hard anyway not to warm to a writer who could use an early footnote to exclaim: "What a wonderful word fuckwit is."'

All this and I'm only about two-thirds of the way through the reviews. . . .

No comments:

Post a Comment