Take a lucky dip in this refreshing pool of posts, randomly selected like literary Russian roulette (but more fun and much safer). Or filter by category to take a deeper dive into specific themes.  Enjoy!

Where life meets death

A surprising metaphor for the inexorable link between life and death, with the same sense of something encroaching with age. From the slim, touching and spare novel by Robert Seethaler.

Writing

A lovely set of climatic KPIs for this website and other writing: crisp as sand, clear as sunlight.

‘… I seek   /   As climate seeks its style, to write  ...

And now for the news

A vivid image of a girl running to bring the latest news, like a French frigate sailing in. 

Beguildy came panting after, apron flying, and loaded with news, like...

Naked

From a tender children’s book, reinventing Vivaldi’s school for girl musicians, one of whom was named in a register and then brought to life by the imagination of Crossley-Holland. ‘Naked as...

High-perched asylum

In his acknowledgements, Leigh Fermor thanks a number of people for 'kindness and haven during restless literary displacements', and it seems he spent considerable time writing at their homes, or...

As simple as…

A simile that deserves to enter daily use.  But was Newton’s thought simple?  Yes and no…

‘… as simple as the thought of Newton…’

Source: Vasily Grossman, An Armenian Sketchbook,...

Mail at last

We forget, swamped as we are with constant connectivity, the past hunger for letters and news when travelling.  I remember a few years in China and Taiwan, before the advent...

Appreciation is a better mode for the understanding of achievement than are all the analytical kinds of accounting for the emergence of exceptional individuals.  Appreciation may judge, but always with gratitude, and frequently with awe and wonder.  

By ‘appreciation’ I mean something more than ‘adequate esteem’.  Need also enters into it, in the particular sense of turning to the genius of others in order to redress a lack in oneself, or finding in genius a stimulus to one’s own powers, whatever these may emerge as being.

Source: Harold Bloom, Genius (London: Fourth Estate, 2002), p. 5

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