Any New Yorkers in the building? They will particularly enjoy this time-travel story set in their city, both past and present.
When the protagonist from late in the 20th century travels back to the 1880s, an acquaintance offers to hand him the reins to a pair of horses pulling a carriage.
“He took the reins after I refused with thanks; the horses would have turned and laughed if I’d tried to drive them.” –Time and Again, by Jack Finney
Then there was the sound advice:
“During my time in the army I was taught how to use my eyes at night; you don’t look directly at what you’re trying to see. Instead you look off to the side at something else; then, from the corner of your eye, what you really want to see will come clearer. Sometimes the mind works in the same indirect way when you let a problem alone, not forcing an answer.”
And here’s a phrase I was hearing for the first time, about something good:
“That was the ant’s ankles.”
Just finished Time and Again, and I see there is a sequel.
Author Edna O’Brien has written a memoir containing a description of growing up in Ireland. Here she notes her mother’s activity after guests depart:
“When male visitors left she did two things: she plumped the cushions and smelled the leather seat of the chair, to see if they had farted, and if they had, the removable seat would be lifted out and put on the windowsill to air all night.” – Country Girl
I’m also reading Madame de Pompadour, by Nancy Mitford. It seems that in spite of her position as the mistress of Louis XV, living at Versailles was like living in a den of poisonous snakes. There was a constant stream of jealousy, political posturing, and back-stabbing. Madame de Pompadour, according to Mitford, never allowed herself to sink to that level. She remained kind, helpful, honest and straightforward, even though she was often attacked and ridiculed by those who didn’t respect her bourgeois blood and wanted someone else — someone more advantageous to their own power and connections — to replace her.
Madame didn’t play their games. She loved her king, her family, her friends, and her life, and knew how to enjoy herself.
She wrote in one of her letters, “I defy fate to make me unhappy — only through my feelings can I be hurt.”
Lots of books on the go. Just started the biography Byron in Love. Still think that to understand why his friends loved him as they did, when he seems to have been such an ass, I’ll have to read his own words.
So many books, so little time!