Books I Read in August 2016

The Family Under the Bridge, by Natalie Savage Carlson, pictures by Garth Williams — I picked this up at the library because I recognized the illustrator. I read it to a few of my younger siblings and we enjoyed it, though the ending, as they observed, was a bit abrupt. Set in Paris, it is about an independent old hobo who claims he can’t abide children, or “starlings”, as he calls them — “witless, twittering, little pests”. Really, he is afraid of losing his heart and his independence — and, of course, he loses both. It is a cute story, quaintly told, though not one I’ll be rushing to add to my own collection. My favorite quotation from the book:

“When will he return?” persisted the man. “Tomorrow?”

“Who knows?” said Mireli vaguely. “Today is today and tomorrow may come late this year.” (ch. 8)

Barchester Towers, by Anthony Trollope, read by Timothy West — An entertaining book. Apparently the argument over “sabbath” keeping and what it means is nothing new. Although I disagree with the slimy Mr. Slope on this subject, I must side against his adversary, Mr. Arabin, on a subject of much dispute between them — the latter holding the opinion that a clergyman “was not consecrated at all, had, indeed, no single attribute of a clergyman, unless he became so through the imposition of some bishop’s hands, who had become a bishop through the imposition of other hands, and so on in a direct line to one of the apostles” (ch. 14). The book is by no means all (or even largely) theology, however, and, as I said, I found it quite entertaining.

santerre-jean-baptiste-1651-1717-jeune-fille-lisant-une-lettre-a-la-bougieFrom Shakespeare — With Love: The Best of the Sonnets, by William Shakespeare, read by David Tennant, Juliet Stevenson, Anton Lesser, Maxine Peake, Stella Gonet, et al., devised and directed by David Timson — This collection includes 75 of Shakespeare’s sonnets. It was fun recognizing the voices of various of the actors reading them.

Timon of Athens, by William Shakespeare, read by a full cast (Arkangel, 2003) — A play about a man who thinks it is generous to give away other people’s (i.e. borrowed) money. He comes to a bitter end. It is thought to have been written in collaboration with another author. One character, Apemantus (who, by the bye, is not Timon’s biggest fan), does not have a very high opinion of Athenians:

Timon: Whither art going?
Apemantus: To knock out an honest Athenian’s brains.
Timon: That’s a deed thou’lt die for.
Apemantus: Right, if doing nothing be death by the law. — Act 1, Scene 1

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Painting: Jeune Fille lisant une lettre à la bougie (Girl reading a letter by candlelight), by Jean-Baptiste Santerre (1658-1717).

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