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Friday, October 12, 2012

Rain and reading


Torrential rain today and a consequent (and fully justified) disinclination to do anything other than read.

I have been gripped by a downloaded impulse buy book as dangled temptingly before me by the ever-ready leading hand of the Guardian.  The real trouble is that anything which looks interesting in the newspaper can be downloaded in an elongated moment through my Kindle.

The book which I have just finished reading is “Events, Dear Boy, Events” A Political Diary of Britain from Woolf to Campbell, edited and introduced by Ruth Winstone.  This is a sequential series of extracts from a hundred different diaries which makes for absolutely compulsive reading.  I have read it in very much the same way as I would have read a novel.  I recommend it without reservation – though if pressed I could probably make my own list of people and events that I would have liked included.

The delights in the writing are many.  I will only give a couple of examples as you should find the rest for yourselves and give the editor the benefit of some sort of payment.  However, who could resist Vera Brittain’s take on the Abdication Crisis and her take on the Duke of York becoming king, “I cannot believe that stiff, shy slow-brained man and his snobbish, limited little Duchess will do anything to increase the prestige of the monarchy.”  I love the description of the arrogant dwarf who I almost stepped on in an exhibition in the Royal Academy one time!

Gems like “The apocryphal and the mundane blend together at the Home Office like absinthe.  It blows your mind” and “It has been said that if a Labour conference makes you wonder why you are a member of the Labour Party, a Tory conference supplies you with the answer” fill the pages.  Pages you should read!

It is a highly partial reading of the political history of Britain but an exhilaratingly refreshing view.
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