Happy 2019

Just back from a long drive west from our dear friend’s house (and her delightful miniature schnauzer Caspar) in Somerset. I’d like to wish any readers of this blog a very happy and peaceful 2019.

Coming from the vicinity of East Coker on New Year’s Day, heading towards the drooping sun in an England at odds with itself, put me in mind of TS Eliot:

Each venture

Is a new beginning, a raid on the inarticulate

With shabby equipment always deteriorating

In the general mess of imprecision of feeling…(from East Coker, the second of Eliot’s Four Quartets [1940 – a dark time for Europe])

We in England today slouch towards the unknown, divided, possessed only of the certainty of our uncertainty. But it’s a new year, and there will, we hope, be new opportunities. As Eliot says elsewhere, ‘success is relative:/ It is what we make of the mess we have made of things’ (The Family Reunion [1939 – another dark time for this country and Europe]).

So I’m sipping a glass of champagne, surveying the increasingly overloaded bookcase in my study (there are more in other rooms). Scattered among the shelves are some of the unread – so there’s the hope for the coming year: from Uwe Johnson’s Anniversaries to Dorothy Richardson. There’s Mrs TD and our now long-deceased, much-loved dog Brontë in a photo there somewhere, too. Another beacon of hope.

May your own reading be enjoyable, and your experiences in the year to come rewarding and fulfilling.

And all shall be well, and/ All manner of thing shall be well.

20 thoughts on “Happy 2019

  1. Always happy to hear some Eliot and have a look at someone else’s bookshelves, Simon – envy you that chunky Rebecca West! I think we definitely need to grab our happines where we can in this increasingly unstable world. Happy new year to you and yours! 😀

  2. Happy New Year, Simon! Wishing you all the very best for the year ahead.

    I do enjoy browsing other readers’ bookshelves, especially when the books are piled up all higgledy-piggledy. Lots for you to look forward to there alongside your previous reads.

    • I’ve read some reading plans on other blogs, but don’t much like such preparation- I prefer choosing next books according to mood of the moment, chance recommendations, etc. Hope the year to come is a good one for you, Jacqui

  3. Happy New Year, Simon and the whole TD family!

    We are much the same way here in Washington, DC…our federal government is still “Shut Down,” but our House of Representatives (but not the Senate in our bicameral legislative branch) is now under the control of the Democrats (and the redoubtable Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi), so Mr. Trump is going to have someone to give him a run for his money. It should be a wild ride!

    Here it to literature, flowers, great food, friends, and all the things that make life rich and rewarding, thru the chaos.

    • Thanks for the good wishes, and I wish you and yours a happy new year, too. Yes, I’m aware of the chaotic situation in US politics, following the antics of your (well maybe not yours or mine personally) president. Just as it seems he can stoop no lower he stoops. And as you say, we can find some consolation in the better things of life – including those friends we’ve met in the blogosphere!

  4. A Happy New Year to you and Mrs TD !
    I love having a peek at bloggers’ bookselves ! I noticed Rose Tremain’s Gustav Sonata, a book that has been on and off on my wishlist. Braddon’s Lady Audley Secret also caught my attention because after reading your posts on Wilkie Collins I meant to ask you whether you’d read it and if you’d recommend it. I’m always on the lookout for Victorian writers (I mean other than Dickens, Eliot and Trollope). Ellen Wood is also on my ‘maybe’ wishlist. Your suggestions are welcome !

    • Thanks, Izzy, and my seasonal greetings to you too. I’ve enjoyed the R Tremain novels I’ve read so far, but haven’t yet read G Sonata. Neither have I read the Brandon. Have you tried G Gissing? I posted a while back on the only one of his I’ve read so far, New Grub Street, but would recommend it if you haven’t read it.

  5. I’ve read The Odd Women by Gissing and I’ve really loved it, and I have NGS on my bookshelves, still unread. I even have an old Oxford edition of The Private Papers of Henry Ryecroft which I had all but forgotten. Oh, joy !

  6. Lovely bookshelves! I might well have a lot more reading time on my hands come the end of March, but who knows. I love your end quote, one of my mantras, along with “This too shall pass”. Happy reading in 2019!

      • Ah, that was a veiled reference to Brexit – over half my income comes from European customers and I still have no idea how our Ease of Doing Business is going to be affected …!! I am working kind of half-days at the moment which is nice as getting on with my current Persephone, so not all bad.

        • Ah, that makes sense now, Liz. Yes, unfortunately there are a lot of uncertainties ahead as a consequence of our leaving the EU. Mrs TD and I go to Venice on the 28th, the day before the official leaving date. Maybe we won’t be able to come back. Not sure we’re too keen on coming back to a world of such xenophobia and vitriolic nationalism. Our son lives and works in Spain – his future there looks precarious. Here in Cornwall the county voted leave, and yet is in receipt of huge grants from the ESF – it’s helped build a university, expand provision across the education sector…etc Crazy

    • Thanks, Emma, and the same to you. Bonne année. And that’s just the bookshelf in one room! Not all of them are to be read, but many are…And some big ones, like Anniversaries, and Dorothy Richardson, William Gaddis. When will I find time? But yes, let’s hope 2019 is less depressing for the world, and that people can start to like each other a little more again.

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