Wednesday, 1 March 2017

Reading log

The special feature of this log is that I didn't finish reading either of the items on it, though I will eventually finish this re-read of the Waugh.

Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark I managed about three-quarters of the book in time for essay club, and having talked it out very thoroughly with club comrades (at least one of whom had not only read the whole thing but also had been up both late and early at her place of employment, which was a venue in White Night Melbourne, doing things that sounded really soul-destroying, and yet still had acute and funny things to say about the book) I don't have anything left to log, except that the orange cake went really nicely with the tea and brie, and I remain not persuaded that the achievement of political and social progress has anything to do with the operations of hope, individually or collectively. What I did come away from the conversation a bit convinced of is that being hopeful about the prospect of change is relatively easy, what is much harder and perhaps also much more important is being hopeful that enough of the many ordinary people who voted Liberal, voted for Brexit, voted for Trump, might change their views (or if that's too ambitious, then at least die of a slow wasting disease.)

Evelyn Waugh, Brideshead Revisited I thought I'd see what it felt like to re-read this book in 2017. I acquired my copy in 1985. From this book, which I have read many times but not recently, I learned everything that I went into adulthood believing that I knew about adult relationships: about love, desire, the necessity of beauty and the irrelevance of gender, disillusionment, proper bitchiness, cynicism, desperation, cutting losses, vulnerability, second chances, losing second chances, regret, and renewal. Because of this I expected to find the book gauche, but it actually moved me almost to tears.

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