Wednesday, 7 September 2016


More blue skies - this time over the Bodleian Library early last week. Oxford is, as expected, much lovelier in the Summer than it appeared last Autumn on a briefer visit. The stone of the colleges is beautiful and warm, and there are books everywhere, as if the city were one giant library that hasn't quite been fully catalogued yet. 

I did some of the tourist things - a drink at the Eagle and Child, a brief tour of the Bodleian, a laughable attempt to draw the Divinity School. A museum, two other exhibitions. The botanical gardens, the market, a walk by the river and a lazy hour sitting watching people in punts and trying to sketch trees.    

I also bought six books:

Patrick Hutber - The Decline and Fall of the Middle Class (written in the 70s) 
Nicolas Bentley - How Can You Bear to be Human? 
Coope - The Quiet Art
Anthony Storr - The Integrity of the Personality
Graham Swift - Last Orders
The Golden Age of Murder - Martin Edwards

I have dipped into the Bentley and The Quiet Art - the latter is very dippable because it's all shortish pieces, an anthology of  (to quote Baron Brain) 'the rich and varied flora of medical thought'. 
On the other hand Nicolas Bentley seems to have been old-fashioned even when How Can You Bear was published (1957), and one essay on what jobs women should and should not do absolutely staggered me in it's certainty that he, a cartoonist and occasional author, felt he was in a position to tell anyone else what they should do with their lives.  

The Golden Age of Murder is about the Detection Club, and excellent, but I badly want to finish it before reviewing. 

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