'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles

I think I mentioned in a post a few weeks ago that I'd been asked to do a video-blog for the TV Book Club on More4; the episode I was in was broadcast last night (cringe!) in the UK, so I thought I'd share the clip with you all, if only to avoid having to write out the review for 'Rules of Civility' by Amor Towles that I chat my way through in this vlog.

What I basically said was:


Storyville: The Love of Books

Just a quick post, but if you love books as much as I do, then the programme at the link below - Storyville: The Love of Books - will probably mean as much to you as it did to me:

Storyville: The Love of Books

(Apologies if it's not viewable outside the UK, but I can only find it on iPlayer.) 



Review: Everyman's Library Pocket Poets - Edna St Vincent Millay

This poetry anthology, Everyman's Library Pocket Poets' edition of selected poems of Edna St. Vincent Millay, came to me as a Christmas present from someone who kindly picked it off my Amazon wish list. It had been on there for a while, an anomaly amongst the more modern stuff, as I knew a few poems of hers from other anthologies and was desperate to read more. This Everyman volume is a beautiful slim volume that is as attractive and lovely as the poetry inside.

And what's lovely about Millay's poetry is that it's not that lovely at all - it's sad and happy and cynical and witty - and it's defining characteristic is Edna herself: hers is a clear, defiant voice that rails with humour against love, loss and the realities of her life, whilst speaking about relationships, mortality and the world at large in the most tender and insightful way.


200 Years of Dickens

So, we have made it through all the Dickens chat, coverage and hype to the actual bicentennial day of his birth on the 7th February 1812.

I have chatted about him A LOT lately, so rather than chat about him some more, I thought I might let Claire Tomalin do it, with one of the most impressive paragraphs of her biography of him, which also happens to be the very last one of the book: 

'He left a trail like a meteor, and everyone finds their own version of Charles Dickens. The child-victim, the irrespressibly ambitious young man, the reporter, the demonic worker, the tireless walker. The radical, the protector of orphans, helper of the needy, man of good works, the republican. The hater and lover of America. The giver of parties, the magician, the traveller. The satirist, the surrealist, the mesmerist. The angry son, the good friend, the bad husband, the quareller, the sentimentalist, the secret lover, the despairing father. The Francophile, the player of games, the lover of circuses, the maker of punch, the country squire, the editor, the Chief, the smoker, the drinker, the dancer of reels and hornpipes, the actor, the ham. Too mixed to be a gentleman - but wonderful. The irreplacebale and unrepeatable Boz. The brilliance in the room. The inimitable. And, above and beyond every other description, simply the great, hard-working writer, who set nineteenth-century London before our eyes and who noticed and celebrated the small people living on the margins of society - the Artful Dodger, Smike, the Marchioness, Nell, Barnaby, Micawber, Mr Dick, Jo the crossing sweeper, Phil Squod, Miss Flite, Sissy Jupe, Charley, Amy Dorrit, Nandy, hairless Maggie, Sloppy, Jenny Wren the dolls' dressmaker. After he had been writing for long hours at Wellington Street, he would sometimes ask his office boy to bring him a bucket of cold water and put his head into it, and his hands. Then he would dry his head with a towel, and go on writing.'

Happy Dickens Day everyone! 


In My Mailbox, No. 5

So here we are in February, which means it's time for another In My Mailbox, as hosted by The Story Siren:

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