Book Notes

Book Notes October 23, 2019

Binge finished A Tree Grows in Brooklyn last night. It veered perilously close to the category of ‘real book,’ by which I mean a book with any kind of darkness or trouble. It was pretty gentle, though, over all, and it was very interesting to read such vivid descriptions of Brooklyn, a place, I am pretty sure, I have actually never been. Wanted to go there, but then, of course, realized that the place described is not there any more, which she herself says.

And then, in the evening, we finished Trollope’ The Warden which, frankly, the second time around was laugh-out-loud funny. But then, as we came to final scene, and Matt observed the plainly-there-on-the-page-picture of the Last Supper, which I had absolutely missed on the first go around, and had to endure his smug satisfaction, his sense of having won something special, it was a little bit intolerable, but also, oh my word, it is the best book ever. If you’re Anglican, you should read it, because, well, you just should. Mr. Harding and his violin-cello is every congregation everywhere.

Anyway, I worry also that none of you have read Mrs. Miniver, and so here is just a taste so that you will stop everything and pick it up:

The evening might have been ordered with the fireworks; it was cold, still, and starry, with a commendable absence of moon. And when the first rocket went up Mrs. Miniver felt the customary pricking in her throat and knew that once again the enchantment was going to work. Some things—conjurers, ventriloquists, pantomimes—she enjoyed vicariously, by watching the children’s enjoyment; but fireworks had for her a direct and magical appeal. Their attraction was more complex than that of any other form of art. They had pattern and sequence, color and sound, brilliance and mobility; they had suspense, surprise, and a faint hint of danger; above all, they had the supreme quality of transience, which puts the keenest edge on beauty and makes it touch some spring in the heart which more enduring excellences cannot reach.

I better go do school. Have a nice day.

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