Monthly Archives: January 2022

Madeleine Bourdouxhe : A Nail, A Rose

In the dreamy summer days of the new year, a year without rules or lists for reading, I pick up what my hand falls upon. And this slender book is a beautiful little hardback published by The Women’s Press in 1989. The author is not known to me. The translation, for she is a Belgian writer, is by an Englishwoman, Faith Evans, and in her introduction she describes how she first read the author in French in 1987, even though her books had been published in the 1940’s and Simone de Beauvoir had praised them in The Second Sex. Continue reading Madeleine Bourdouxhe : A Nail, A Rose

R.L. Stevenson – A Child’s Garden of Verses

On my recent holiday I became reacquainted with a beloved old companion. As a young child I used to lie in bed reading A Child’s Garden of Verses. To me they seemed to be the observations of a lonely child and that struck a chord with me. I loved the rhythm, as in Windy Night

Whenever the moon and stars are set

Whenever the wind is high,

All night long in the dark and wet,

A man goes riding by.

Late at night when the fires are out

Why does he gallop and gallop about? Continue reading R.L. Stevenson – A Child’s Garden of Verses

Romulus My Father – Raimond Gaita

On holiday  with the family on Phillip island again, but this time at Cape Woolamai, surrounded by water and sea breezes. I am happy to report the standard of literature in this house is a great advance on last year’s. We have discovered the owner of the house is a teacher and an expert in Australian history and literature. Hence the numbers of books by Patrick White, Tim Winton, Sonya Hartnett etc to say nothing of the Eng Lit of Virginia Woolf, Charles Dickens, Kate Atkinson, EM Forster and many many more. Continue reading Romulus My Father – Raimond Gaita

The Act of Roger Murgatroyd – Gilbert Adair

At this time of year, I find myself compiling long lists of aspirational reading (and the odd self-help book). I have twenty books on my list and another three I have started and put down. The recurring fear that I have permanently damaged my capacity to read by spending too much time on screens arises again. Was it only a few years ago when January was my month for reading a book a day? Perhaps it has something to do with the arrival of a highly entertaining grandson into our lives, so we spend more time playing, or perhaps it is the book fatigue that comes after a life spent lost in a book. Continue reading The Act of Roger Murgatroyd – Gilbert Adair