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Tag Archives: Nostalgia

Four Days in January: A Letter to Jillsan – Nils-Johan Jørgensen

letteringThis is a modern tale, a journey of the heart, a road back, revisiting many cities and enduring Eastern and Western sentiments to light and lighten our understanding of life’s fleeting appearance.

It is a way of honouring the life of a loved one, to tell a personal story that reflects the shared, universal truth of the silence of loss from Kakimoto to Goethe and beyond.

Four Days in January is a beautifully told, deeply moving and poignant letter of loss, yet also the celebration of the life of a loved one through allegory, music, poetry and personal records.

Told in letter-form, Four Days in January records the story of two lovers and their lives through marriage and parenthood following his diplomatic career spent in different parts of the world, and the role and dedication of the diplomat’s wife.

Here is a very open volume that offers an array of inspirational thoughts for anyone facing loss and bereavement.

Having read most of Mr Jørgensen’s other books this one, whilst no less readable was an altogether different beast. It is a meditation on life as well as loss.  A union of two coming together to live as one, of a love that really shines through, a life lived fully but also a statement on the cruelty of having it cut short.

The beginning takes us through the unfolding tragedy of a life suddenly declining. It is told in an unflinching way and it moved this reader immensely.  Despite reading this book in January, I know that the opening will be the best one I read all year, which is saying something as I continue to amass great literature.

This personal final letter to his love is an intimate portrait, delicately penned, a chronicle of a shared existence, told through a number of key vignettes.  What makes this an intensely moving piece of work is that it is real life, good and bad things happen but it is a reminder to appreciate it every day for what it is.  Even the most mundane of times can become something beautiful when viewed the right way. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 23/02/2017 in Autobiography, Life, Memoir

 

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A Dance to the Music of Time: Summer – Anthony Powell

hammertimeAnthony Powell’s brilliant twelve-novel sequence chronicles the lives of over three hundred characters, and is a unique evocation of life in twentieth-century England. It is unrivalled for its scope, its humour and the enormous pleasure it has given to generations.

Volume 2 contains the second three novels in the sequence: At Lady Molly’s; Casanova’s Chinese Restaurant; The Kindly Ones

Having no other blurb would usually be inadequate for the eager reader but in this instance I’m glad of it.  It would take a talented writer to not only quantify the story of all these collected lives but to tease out a discernible thread within the whirl of time and meeting, both chance and planned.

Sometimes a story is not about the end goal but about the experience, the furthering of this particular encounter is a pleasurable one.  I loved the first omnibus and books four to six better it in a lot of ways but I still prefer the overall consistency of the ‘Spring’ books.

A couple of months since reading the last omnibus, which I loved, I was slightly worried I would lose the thread of some of the characters and their convoluted histories but Powell always allows for that and made it easy to recall them through the narrative.  It may have helped that I read the Spring omnibus straight though, rather than taking my time but with a writer such as Powell, it is doubtful the reader will wish to leave long between novels.

Along the walls frescoes tinted in pastel shades, executed with infinite feebleness of design, appealed to heaven knows what nadir of aesthetic degradation.

It was easy to slip back into that world of gossip and dinner parties framed with plenty of references, to art, literature, and music.  This time it felt more world-weary as Narrator Nick Jenkins takes us into further through all these lives and most notably opens up gradually about more himself, rather than being the detached observer he was in the previous volume. There is a sense of time catching up and of a growing maturity. the zest of the young lessening and life taking its toll in myriad ways. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 23/01/2017 in Fiction, Modern Classics

 

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Night Delight

Recently it has been a pleasure to retire to bed at about half nine in the evening for some quality reading time.  Stopping to make a hot chocolate which always gets the reading off right, then leaving it to cool off next to my funky touch lamp before picking up whichever book is currently occupying my imagination.

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Stars and the to be reviewed pile.

The beauty of the lamp accompanying the chosen literature is the intimate setting it creates, beyond the book everything is either obscured by the dark or its impact on the peripheral vision lessened so that the small zone of light contains the reader’s only focus on the many adventures to be undertaken.

The accompanying silence as the night wears on – if you are lucky enough to live away from main roads and such – adds a lot of atmosphere, as it did when I picked up Stephen King’s Desperation, and The Stand where 99% of the word’s population has died (not that this appalling tally seems to be noticed as this is all set in America) and the survivors are left to their almost totally silent world.

The night though is versatile, after extensive reading research throughout the years particularly vivid memories of 2001: A Space Odyssey and its three sequels, The Rama series, and Solaris which being Sci-Fi come to mind.  It feels right to read the genre at night as it does horror, like the stories of M.R. James, and Susan Hill’s The Woman in Black, which is the only horror book that I have been genuinely creeped out by. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 15/01/2017 in Book Memories, Fiction

 

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New Year’s Approach to a Singalong

Being the New Year, it is probably considered good form to talk about what will be aimed at blogwise for this year.  Whilst it appears a lot of bloggers I follow are not doing big reading challenges but rather smaller genre reads and looking to being more varied in their scope – which is already impressive – I will be staying the same as ever;  following whatever fancy takes me and mixing the books genres as much as I can, hopefully with more of a balance between well-known and obscurer titles.

postaltime

Found at Pixabay,com

The main focus will be on more posts this year, somehow ninety-seven is way down on what I was doing three or four years ago.  Having said that the more I read and write, the more there is to read and write, not to complain though having had my best year in terms of views. I know there is better to come from me and more regularly.

On a side note today is my eighth year with WordPress and my sixth with this blog, time flies and I miss some of the bloggers, who haven’t been around, especially the ones I started my WordPress adventure with. To those who remain and all the new ones yet to be discovered, I hope it is a good year for all.  Only one thing can take the mantle of my arch nemesis this year…

Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 05/01/2017 in Blogging, Music

 

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Game, Sets and Match

In a week or two I will be moving house and this has led to the ordering and  packing up of my many books, which is strange due to my penchant for appreciating the quirky and often fascinating juxtaposition of books when randomly placed, like the Bible tightly packed next to Christopher Hitchens or Alice in Wonderland next to de Quincey’s Confessions of an English Opium Eater.

BaumdlessImagination

I have been busy putting my series of books together to be boxed up and it made me think about the times when I used to travel to Nottingham once a fortnight to collect all 21 Famous Five books.  Even years ago I was paranoid that the publishers would change the covers so they wouldn’t look as sexy on my shelves.

JordanEtAl

It all started with Robert Jordan’s The Wheel of Time Series which was actually a bit of a blessing, the black covers look a lot better than the less than impressive (to my eye, at least) illustrations of character set pieces.  Since then I have always strived to collect the full series in the same cover. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 20/11/2016 in Book Memories, Lists/Ephemera

 

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A Steady Trip

With plenty of photos of both bays filling my SD card, it was the smaller features that began to fascinate more as time went on.  It was pleasant that I could choose to go from a fun fair and noisy amusements at one end of the south bay to peaceful climbs above and around the Spa Complex, a regular holder of musical events and sometimes featured on the small screen to boot.

Pathé

Out of season holidaying may make the walks satisfyingly peaceful but one thing that is never out of view for long is those treasured bits of cheap colourful plastic that are part of so many memories and pretty much everyone’s first lesson in architecture.

FakePlasticTrees

From looking through the blog comments, I am given to understand that there are a few literature fans amongst you so I snapped this, I walked by the graveyard five times before remembering it was there, typically. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 20/10/2016 in Travel

 

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South Bay, Rainy Day

After an overcast start and a forecast saying not much chance of rain, I walked out to the furthest point of Scarborough’s south bay, which was typically was when the deluge struck.  Normally this wouldn’t be a problem but being stuck on the side of a cliff on paths of slaloming sinuously into repeated chicanes, it becomes somewhat more problematic getting anywhere in a hurry.

Curvy

Hot footing it back to the town centre I hid in various bookstores (of which more in another post) before finally exiting out into a bright and sunny day.  It’s great to be here out of season with less crowds and an actual view of where you are going but balancing that is the habit the locals have of crossing my walking line at an angle to get to their destinations, which is no bother as I adjust accordingly…but when their decisive diagonal becomes a gentle arc back across my path and ends up aiming at the side of the street they just came from; well it’s a bit much and plenty of tutting has been bandied about of late, that’ll show ’em!

HarbouringHope

The sea front of this bay is much more commercial with the harbour fair and amusement arcades, accompanied with that cacophonous symphony universal to such places, that doesn’t seem to have changed since I was a child.  Mingling with this is the smell of the sea air, chips and friend onions not to mention candyfloss which is a heady and classic mix of magic to the olfactory senses. Read the rest of this entry »

 
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Posted by on 12/10/2016 in Travel

 

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