Tuesday, September 12, 2023

The Vet's Daughter

A classic I've had on the shelf for years, rose like cream to the top of my favorites for this year. Bleak but well done and absorbing story of the ill-used daughter of a veterinarian and her too-brief sojourn into a happy, hopeful life. I want to read more of Barbara Comyns' work.

The Librarianist

The LibrarianistThe Librarianist by Patrick deWitt
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Delightful treat, funny, propulsive, entertaining, story of a solitary librarian, his too-brief marriage, his tidy years into retirement and volunteer efforts in an old folks home. My first from Patrick deWitt, but there'll be others. He has an easy amusing authorial tone, writes well, and presents a cavalcade of unique characters who cross in and out of Bob Comet's life.
"And I suppose you're a fiend for books?"
"I suppose I am."
"I keep meaning to get to books but life distracts me."
"See, for me it's just the opposite."

During a hospital stay, Bob decides:
"After decades of rejecting the television medium he experienced a period of not just watching TV, but watching with enthusiastic interest. All his life he had believed the real world was the world of books; it was here that mankind's finest inclinations were represented. And this must have been true at some point in history, but now he understood the species had devolved and that this shrill, base, banal potpourri of humanity's worst and weakest and laziest desires and behaviors was the document of the time. It was about volume and visual overload and it pinned Bob to his bed like a cat before a strobe light. "

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The Library of Unrequited Love

The Library of Unrequited LoveThe Library of Unrequited Love by Sophie Divry

Clever little book with stream of consciousness thoughts from a librarian who's stationed in the history section of a basement library in a small town in France.
"As for men, I've given upon them. It's just impossible in a place like this, impossible. It's not exactly the sticks, but if you're a sensitive, cultivated soul like me, it's...well, it's very provincial. I need wider horizon. So, men, no, that's all over. Love, for me, is something I find in books. I read a lot, it's comforting. You've never alone if you live surrounded by books. They lift my spirit. The main thing is to be uplifted."
Who can argue with her? "When I'm reading, I'm never alone, I have a conversation with the book. It can be very intimate. Perhaps you know this feeling yourself? The sense that you're having an intellectual exchange with the author, following his or her train of thought, and you can accompany each other for weeks on end. When I'm reading, I can forget everything, sometimes I don't even hear the phone."

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