Monthly Archives: February 2020

Emile Zola: The Ladies’ Paradise


At the far end of the hall, around one of the small cast-iron columns which supported the glass roof, material was streaming down like a bubbling sheet of water, falling from above and spreading out on to the floor. First, pale satins and soft silks were gushing out: royal satins and renaissance satins, with the pearly shades of spring water; light silks as transparent as crystal – Nile green, turquoise, blossom pink, Danube blue. Next came the thicker fabrics, the marvellous satins and the duchess silks, in warm shades, rolling out in great waves. And at the bottom, as if in a fountain-basin, the heavy materials, the damasks, the brocades, the silver and gold silks, were sleeping on a deep bed of velvets – velvets of all kinds, black, white, coloured, embossed on a background of silk or satin, their shimmering flecks forming a still lake in which reflections of the sky and of the countryside seemed to dance. Women pale with desire were leaning over as if to look at themselves. Faced with this wild cataract, they all remained standing there, filled with the secret fear of being caught up in the overflow of all this luxury and with an irresistible desire to throw themselves into it and be lost. 104

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Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

Buddha Da (Canons) by [Donovan, Anne]


This is the story of Anne Marie’s Da, the painter Jimmy, and his involvement with Buddhism. The story is told in the voices of Anne Marie, almost twelve years old, Liz her mother and Jimmy’s wife, and Jimmy, the Glaswegian painter, ‘ma Da,’ who becomes more and more drawn to the practice of meditation. This obviously throws up conflicts within the family and among Jimmy’s friends and colleagues. A good idea to examine the practice of Buddhism through the eyes of a fairly uneducated working class man? Well, yes, but there is just one snag. Continue reading Buddha Da – Anne Donovan

The Secret Orchard of Roger Ackerley by Diana Petre

Roger Ackerley died in 1929. At his funeral, the obituary in The Times states, ‘Nearly a thousand business men from all over the British Isles as well as from the Continent attended the funeral at Richmond Cemetery yesterday, and the wreaths were so numerous that four men were especially engaged to load and unload them.’

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The Great Read Completed….(more or less)

The Winner

The end of January, and my first task for the year is complete; well not quite, for I didn’t read thirty books. Only twenty-eight. But wouldn’t you say reading Dickens is like reading two books? Here are the titles listed below. I leave you to form your own opinion as to whether I could have done more. But whatever the number, it has again been an agreeable experience and one I recommend. As I often say to the Silent Companion, ‘If only I was at the beach for a month with no interruptions.’ And he replies, ‘But you live at the beach.’ And it is true we live about twenty paces from the sea. But the interruptions of daily life also surround us.

Continue reading The Great Read Completed….(more or less)