I’ve been rereading Anne Perry’s William Monk mysteries. I know they’re not on my reading list, nor are they connected to my bookclub (I’m supposed to be reading Adam Levin’s The Instructions currently), but when life is stressful, I don’t pick up a 1000-page book (Levin) or a Russian novel (Crime & Punishment, from my own list)* — I turn to one of my old favourites. Plus, these Victorian mysteries count as research for a project I’m working on.
Besides creating great characters set in well-detailed historical settings, Perry is good at selecting just the right word at the right time. Her writing isn’t necessarily “high-class” literature, but I often find myself noting a particular word she chose.
Interestingly enough, I just noticed that Four Quartets and The Little Prince were published in 1943 and Letters to a Young Poet was published in 1934. I wonder if many people read both Eliot and Saint-Exupéry that year and if so, how the two together affected their outlook…especially in a world overrun with war. Hrm.
I’m not a big fan of New Year’s resolutions, but this year, I thought it might be good to take a more active approach to reading. I don’t think I’ve ever made an ‘official’ reading plan before. Unless you count the summer before my senior year in high school, when I tried to read ahead for my A.P. English class based on what my brothers had read for the same teacher in previous years (can you say nerd?).
Rainer Maria Rilke (Fotografie, 18. September 1900) *Public Domain
Today in 1875, my favourite poet — Rainer Maria Rilke — was born in Prague. I think I first read his Letters to a Young Poet before I ever set eyes on his poetry. For me, the mark of a true writer is if he or she understands the limitation of words; on the first page of his first Letter, Rilke acknowledges — “most events are inexpressible, taking place in a realm which no word has ever entered”.
Today in 1898, one of my all-time favourite authors was born: C. S. Lewis — a poet, scholar, story teller, reader, theologian, thinker and lover of tea. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t love Lewis. First there was Narnia, then his nonfiction writings became just as beloved (even though I’m not usually a big nonfiction fan).
You know how when you’ve thought about something for a while, suddenly references to it start popping up? Since I read Sarah’s review on the new film and wrote a post on Lincoln myself, I seem to see links to Abraham Lincoln everywhere.