Just polished off the following 3, b’day pres from sister in law the publishing exec:
“Jude the Obscure” by Thomas Hardy – could this be more depressing?
“Jamaica Inn” by Daphne Du Maurier – enthusiastic review elsewhere
“The Mill on the Floss” by George Eliot – have a bit of difficulty with George Eliot, I did “Silas Marner” for the Leaving and frankly, learning that maudlin, depressing tome in detail when I was 17 put me right off George Eliot. However, I met a guy at a party who convinced me that I had misjudged her and had to read “Middlemarch” which, he said was fantastic. I did and I didn’t like it much: So, I approached “The Mill on the Floss” with some trepidation. It is beautifully written (or, abridged, given that I heard it on tape) and I did actually enjoy it, but it was a bit depressing. Should I try further George Eliot? I just don’t know.
Anyway, after the “Mill on the Floss” finished, I tuned into the World Service and there was an interview with Tracey Emin which was mildly interesting as the Glam Potter knew her at college. She, Tracey Emin, was on a programme called “Masterpiece”. If I were the GP, I think I would die of envy, but she is a better person than me, so doubtless will bear it with equanimity. Is most unfair though because, if you ask me, GP is infinitely more talented.
And finally, read a mildly amusing book called “Mortification: Writers’ stories of their public shame“. The motto appears to be, if you are a writer, avoid book readings. I gather from this book, that everyone else avoids them anyway and must confess, I have never been to one myself.
And, finally, on things cultural, due to my contacts in the diplomatic underworld, I have managed to get various Irish Presidency goodies, including 2 CDs containing, allegedly, the best of up and coming Irish music. Frankly, not as restful as you might expect…but not bad either. If anyone is interested, I might be bothered to list some of the 32 offerings that it is felt represent the best of new Irish music, since, as far as I can see, they don’t rate a mention on the Pres website.