An interesting note…….

…well maybe not that interesting. This yards diary - 2005 to those of you paying attention - contains the following tally of books read:

2000 - 32
2001- 32
2002 - 36
2003 - 31
2004 - 39
2005 - 45 

With an average over the six years of 35.6 pages per day.

Book 215

“Rabbit at Rest”
John Updike 

Rabbit’s last book. He’s retiired to Florida, “death’s favourite state”, Harry died; the book ended.

I was recently asked what I would do when I retired. Easy: read all the Rabbit books again.

Full of little nuggets  like: “The usual thing, ma’am. It’s tired and stiff and full of crud. It’s a typical American heart, for his age and economic status etcetera.”

 (I didn’t know but Updike explained that “Rabbit, Run” was partly a riposte to Kerouac’s On the Road, and intended as a “realistic demonstration of what happens when a young American family man goes on the road” – ie, the family gets hurt, and the deserter slinks home.)
Rabbit’s last words “All I can tell you is, it isn’t so bad.”

As poignant as “and the rest is silence”

Read 31.12.05 - unrecorded

Book 215

“Rabbit at Rest”
John Updike

Rabbit’s last book. He’s retiired to Florida, “death’s favourite state”, Harry died; the book ended.

I was recently asked what I would do when I retired. Easy: read all the Rabbit books again.

Full of little nuggets like: “The usual thing, ma’am. It’s tired and stiff and full of crud. It’s a typical American heart, for his age and economic status etcetera.”

(I didn’t know but Updike explained that “Rabbit, Run” was partly a riposte to Kerouac’s On the Road, and intended as a “realistic demonstration of what happens when a young American family man goes on the road” – ie, the family gets hurt, and the deserter slinks home.)

Rabbit’s last words “All I can tell you is, it isn’t so bad.”

As poignant as “and the rest is silence”

Read 31.12.05 - unrecorded

Book 211

“Tropic Moon”
Georges Simenon

The set-up is typical pulp fiction, but Tropic Moon’s scathing depiction of French colonial rule in Africa is transcendent. The expatriates’ physical and moral squalor is ruthlessly depicted: rape, murder and infidelity are commonplace, and their callous treatment of the Gabonese is difficult to stomach. Simenon’s writing is extraordinary: the simple, precise descriptions bring Libreville to horrible life and the prose’s pace mimics Timar’s transition from torpor to paranoia. Simenon was banned from returning to the French colonies after Tropic Moon’s publication. Read this and it’s easy to see why.

Read 26.11.05 - 30.11.05

Book 211

“Tropic Moon”
Georges Simenon

The set-up is typical pulp fiction, but Tropic Moon’s scathing depiction of French colonial rule in Africa is transcendent. The expatriates’ physical and moral squalor is ruthlessly depicted: rape, murder and infidelity are commonplace, and their callous treatment of the Gabonese is difficult to stomach. Simenon’s writing is extraordinary: the simple, precise descriptions bring Libreville to horrible life and the prose’s pace mimics Timar’s transition from torpor to paranoia. Simenon was banned from returning to the French colonies after Tropic Moon’s publication. Read this and it’s easy to see why.

Read 26.11.05 - 30.11.05

Book 209

“All for Love”
Dan Jacobson

My notes:
The events described occurred before the first world war, in the twilight of the 600-year-old Hapsburg dynasty, and were one of the great scandals of the late Austro-Hungarian empire. One morning in 1895, the 40-year-old Princess Louise, daughter of King Leopold of Belgium and wife of Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg, was enjoying her regular coach ride through Vienna’s parks and gardens. Her attention was caught by a young army officer from Croatia struggling with a plunging and kicking black stallion as it tried vainly to unseat him. Their eyes met, and their lives were changed.

Years later the officer, Geza Mattachich, wrote: “I felt as if I had experienced an electric shock. Something had happened to me, but I did not know what it was.” He pursued her determinedly, wordlessly, waiting on streets she would have to pass, attending functions she would attend, always seeking her eye. Gradually, in silent, secret cooperation, she also sought his. They did not speak.

I really liked this.

Read 8.11.05 - 18.11.05

Book 209

“All for Love”
Dan Jacobson

My notes:
The events described occurred before the first world war, in the twilight of the 600-year-old Hapsburg dynasty, and were one of the great scandals of the late Austro-Hungarian empire. One morning in 1895, the 40-year-old Princess Louise, daughter of King Leopold of Belgium and wife of Prince Philipp of Saxe-Coburg, was enjoying her regular coach ride through Vienna’s parks and gardens. Her attention was caught by a young army officer from Croatia struggling with a plunging and kicking black stallion as it tried vainly to unseat him. Their eyes met, and their lives were changed.

Years later the officer, Geza Mattachich, wrote: “I felt as if I had experienced an electric shock. Something had happened to me, but I did not know what it was.” He pursued her determinedly, wordlessly, waiting on streets she would have to pass, attending functions she would attend, always seeking her eye. Gradually, in silent, secret cooperation, she also sought his. They did not speak.

I really liked this.

Read 8.11.05 - 18.11.05