Can there more longer weekends, please?

Ah, two days just zoom by, don’t they? Well, they do when called “Saturday” and “Sunday”…

Yesterday, I was continuing my read through Book of Ages, about Jane and Benjamin Franklin. I’m maybe fifty pages from the end, and it is from this period that most of Jane Franklin Mecum’s letters exist. And today I’m picking up where I left off in Pride and Prejudice a couple of weeks ago. Elizabeth Bennet has just received and re-read Mr Darcy’s letter… a thrilling section of the novel.

So why stop to get online?

I did want to give a little heads-up to a couple of books that caught my attention lately. One seen in a local bookstore; and one I’ve just ordered from Canada (I reside in Vermont, very close to the border). Here in the northeast we’ve been rather immured in ice; even with a January thaw, the ice still retains its hold around my house. VERY slick yesterday.

But on to books.

The one which caught my eye at the bookstore yesterday, from its title alone, is

36 stampsA History of Britain in Thirty-Six Postage Stamps, by Chris West. For my own purposes, I wish “postage stamps” were taken less literally: the book begins with the 1840 “PENNY BLACK”, which features the profile of Queen Victoria. The chapter is appropriately called “In the Beginning”.

Given its just due, the Penny Black inaugurates the reader into the postal system. It also, of course, tells the early tale of Victoria’s long reign.

Readers can take a look inside at Amazon.

Chris West on YouTube

* * *

And the book that I ordered?

pf_leeThe biography of writer Penelope Fitzgerald: A Life, by Hermoine Lee.

How I loved — when in the throes of my Germany/Austria mania — her The Blue Flower; then I found copies of books like The Bookshop and Offshore. Gotta love a woman who became a writer when in her 60s; there’s hope for me yet.

I may live near the border, but as far as books (and anything else) goes, Canada is a ‘foreign country’ and the US is an ‘international shipment’ destination; items cross the border so slowly.

I dipped into Lee’s biography of Virginia Woolf, which I believe was one of my last purchases at the lamented-no-longer-in-business Tuttle Books in Rutland (Vermont).

* * *

gorgeous nothingsI will mention here also another book that caught my eye, looking online over the last week or so:

Emily Dickinson: The Gorgeous Nothings, by Jan Bervin and Marta Werner.

I wish I felt more affinity for Dickinson (poetry in general), for this book is about her writings scribbled on envelopes! a truly tactile book, filled with images (a full-color facsimile edition).

The New York Times‘s review
• fine essay on The Rumpus

* * *

I’ve also been asked to review Dark River Melody, when it’s available in a few months. So more about that later.


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