Tuesday, November 18, 2014


It still says Autumn on the calendar but the icy chill outside my window says . . .


To shiver, frozen, amid icy snow
In the bitter blast of a horrible wind;
To run constantly stamping one's feet;
And to feel one's teeth chatter on account of the excessive cold;
To spend restful, happy days at the fireside
While the rain outside drenches a good one hundred
To walk on the ice,
And with slow steps to move about cautiously 
For fear of falling;
To go fast, to slip and fall down;
To go on the ice again and run fast
Until the ice cracks and opens up;
To hear coming out of the iron gates
Sirocco, Boreas and all the winds at war:
That's winter! But of a kind to gladden one's heart.

~Antonio Vivaldi
via Winter by Adam Gopnik, pg 6

Also, a video. Curl up under a blanket and brew something hot for sipping.


Sunday, November 16, 2014

Reading a book was a meditative act, but it didn't involve a clearing of the mind. Readers disengaged their attention from the outward flow of passing stimuli in order to engage it more deeply with an inward flow of words, ideas, and emotions. That was - and is - the essence of the unique mental process of deep reading.
~Nicholas Carr, The Shallows

A lovely reading nook for your Sunday


Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

What is time? A secret - insubstantial and omnipotent. A prerequisite of the eternal world, a motion intermingled and fused with bodies existing and moving in space. But would there be time, if there were no motion? No motion, if there were no time? What a question! Is time a function of space? Or vice versa? Or are the two identical? An even bigger question! Time is active, by nature it is much like a verb, it both 'ripens' and 'brings forth.' And what does it bring forth? Change! Now is not then, here is not there - for in both cases motion lies in between.

~Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Taking tea in the company of an old book. 
As if these colors alone are not soothing enough.
Image: Vokki Laine

Sunday, October 19, 2014

One of the great privileges of having grown up in a middle-class literary English household, but having gone to school in the front lines in Southeast London, was that I became half-street-urchin and half-good-boy at home. I knew that dichotomy was possible.

~Daniel Day-Lewis

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

October began as new months are wont to do - their beginnings are perfectly modest and hushed, with no outward signs, no birthmarks. Indeed they steal in silently and quite unnoticed, unless you are paying very strict attention. Real time knows no turning points, there are no thunderstorms or trumpet fanfares at the start of a new month or year, and even when a new century commences only we human beings fire cannon and ring bells.
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Seasons

No. It's all smoke and mirrors! The days get longer during the winter, and when we get to the longest one, the twenty-first of June, the beginning of summer, they start getting shorter again and it all heads right back downhill toward winter. You call it obvious, but once you disregard the obvious part, it can momentarily set you in a panic, make you want to grab something to hold on to. It's really like some great practical joke, so that the beginning of winter is actually spring, and the beginning of summer is actually autumn. It's as if we're being led around by the nose, in a circle, always lured on by the promise of something that is just another turning point in a circle. For a circle consists of nothing but elastic turning points, and so its curvature is immeasurable, with no steady definite direction, and so eternity is not 'straight ahead', but rather 'merry-go-round.'
Thomas Mann, The Magic Mountain pg364

Monday, September 1, 2014

How To Be A Woman by Caitlin Moran

I have a weakness for memoirs, especially the sassy, candid kind, so it was a given that this one would cross my path and I would be compelled to pick it up. When reading something so personal, though, I try to leave my judgement at the door and just read for the pleasure of being inside someone else's experience and thoughts for a while. But I did eventually find her frankness grating. As much as I appreciate candid discourse, hers approached TMI territory. The older I get, I guess, the less tolerant I am for such overt transperancy. Some things are just better left to the imagination. Part autobiography, part social commentary, it was for the most part an enjoyable and funny read.

(back cover)
There's never been a better time to be a woman: we have the vote and the Pill, and we haven't been burnt as witches since 1727. However, a few nagging questions do remain...
Why are we supposed to get Brazillians? Should we use Botox? Do men hate us? What should you call your vagina? Why does your bra hurt? And why does everyone ask you when you're going to have a baby? 
Part memoir, part rant, Caitlin Moran answers these questions and more in How To Be A Woman - following her from her 13th birthday (I am 13 stone, have no friends, and boys throw gravel at me when they see me) through adolescence, the workplace, strip-clubs, love, being fat, abortion, TopShop, motherhood and beyond.