Two weeks to the end of the year. I am looking forward to 2018 as I always do look forward to new years, new weeks, new days. They are always a chance to start again, and goodness knows I need a fresh start.
I’ve been trying to squeeze in a new read or two before the end of 2017, but nothing apart from Mt Anderson’s Landscape With Invisible Hand is sticking. Even so, it’s going very slowly, like I like it, but my attention keeps drifting.
This morning I started re-reading Susan Cooper’s The Dark is Rising Sequence. I think I need something familiar and comforting to see me through Christmas, but I’m not sure if I’ll re-read all five books. I’ve also just started Under the Pendulum Sun by Jeannette Ng. Just a page or so in, but I’m hopeful that I will want to carry on.
I’ve been spending a lot of time getting my 2018 planners ready. I have two: an ana.tomy monthly planner with lots of extra pages (blank, grid and dotted) that I intend to use solely for work; and a Muji dotted notebook that I hope to use as a daily (bullet) journal to help me be organised in my non-professional life. I have spent 2017 drifting and procrastinating, even more than usual, and this needs to change. I really need to be more productive, more disciplined, and more switched on. Also, I need to save for Japan. Now, that’s something to look forward to!
Most predictably, I’ve missed the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen’s death. I had meant to write an article for the newspaper about why she is read and loved by Malaysians and what relevance the books have to our lives, but I was not as organised or awake as I hoped to be.
I mean to re-read Austen’s six novels this year. I finished Emma a month ago and am currently re-reading Mansfield Park. Sense and Sensibility next. I may write a review of all six books in one post, but no promises. My energy levels and ability to focus are not predictable these days. But this means that I’m reading more slowly and that’s a good thing. It may even be that, at a slower pace, I understand and appreciate Fanny Price more than I did when I was a teenager (which was when I first made her acquaintance and the last time I read the book). It may also be that I am less impatient now.
As for Emma, I liked her both more and less. And I was totally put off by Frank Churchill – oh how my tolerance for silly young men has diminished over the years. Haha.
I didn’t realise til I read this blog post by Calmgrove that 2017 is the bicentenary of Jane Austen’s death. Should I re-read her novels? I haven’t read any (apart from my favourite, Persuasion) in years, but I know, from experience, that planning to re-read more than one novel doesn’t work with me. I shall, perhaps choose one title and see how it goes.
I love Persuasion because it’s about second chances and remaining steadfast in love. My favourite quotes:
Dare not say that man forgets sooner than woman, that his love has an earlier death. I have loved none but you. Unjust I may have been, weak and resentful I have been, but never inconstant.
All the privilege I claim for my own sex (it is not a very enviable one: you need not covet it), is that of loving longest, when existence or when hope is gone!
Is it stupidly romantic of me to believe in true love? Is it naive to hope that my partner will remain constant?
I may re-read Persuasion again after all.
Persuasion watercolour illustrations by C. E. Brock
The Exploits of Moominpappa, aka Moominpappa’s Memoirs is the fourth book in the Moomin series by Tove Jansson.
In this book, we find out about Moominpappa’s background and past. He is writing a memoir and he reads from it to his son Moomintroll, and Moomintroll’s friends Snufkin and Sniff.
As it turns out, Moominpappa’s early days were spent with Snufkin and Sniff’s fathers — the Joxter and the Muddler from whom, we see, many traits have been inherited by their offspring.
Moominpappa’s origins are quite romantic as he was left, wrapped in newspaper, at an orphanage run by a Hemulen. One day, having had enough of his colourless existence in the orphanage, and the Hemulen’s strict ways, he runs away.Read More »
I read this book for the first time in my late teens, one of the many so-called ‘sex & shopping’ novels that were popular at the time, books by people like Jackie Collins and Shirley Conran. Actually, they may still be popular, but I stopped reading them in the 80s.
When I was an ‘innocent’ teenager, the sex in these books might have been the main attraction (there’s one scene in Scruples that has remained with me all these years and, when I re-read it recently, I was surprised to find that I’d lost none of its details), but it was the ‘shopping’ or rather the details of material objects, especially clothes, that was the true draw.Read More »