(Beatrix Potter, ‘Presently there was a little scuffling, scratching noise in a corner near the fire-place’, from A Tale of Two Bad Mice, 1904; available here)
The guests chez gallimaufry now include a bold black mouse, who emerged from a heap of paper in the corner of the cupboard-like room I pretentiously refer to as a study to dance about our house all last evening. I thought mice were supposed to be shy! This one has no qualms and even scampered across the bed while my daughter (E) and I were playing on it. Despite the mouse’s compulsive exhibitionism, my partner did not spot it for ages – little E did keep shouting ‘Rat! Rat!’* but as she sees imaginary peacocks and dogs running about the house all the time K paid no attention to this. At last the mouse went too far and sat in front of the television while K was watching it. I would quite happily share the house with a mouse or two, yes yes, I know I am a slattern, mice steal your cake and poo on your rugs and Beatrix Potter has much to answer for, but I can’t help thinking it’s all about context. If we caught the mouse and put it in a cage it would be a pet and acceptable (except to my mother), if probably unhappy. Yet wild and free it is a pest. For now, K and I have compromised on a humane trap and mouse rehoming a cycle ride away.
‘I’m [...] intrigued by the thought of new ways to write about books, and I wonder what the book blogging world will come up with next?’ Thoughtful post and discussion at Tales from the Reading Room on why we post and read book reviews (or not). Join in!
Further to my previous post, Elio Di Rupo is back! And yesterday, after Standard and Poor reduced Belgium’s credit rating and the rate of interest on the country’s borrowing rose further, the acting prime minister Yves Leterme demanded that Di Rupo and the parties involved produce a 2012 budget before markets re-open on Monday. They pulled an all-nighter and have done so! Whether this will improve Belgium’s interest rate, and what the long-term impact on the euro may be, remain to be seen. Next step: a government.
‘Doubt is very much a feature of my working day, and an essential one at that’: the translator Margaret Jull Costa talks about her work, language and reading at The White Review.
A combination of beautiful cover and the review at Desperate Reader engendered book lust in me – so I bought a copy of Enthusiasms for my mother for Christmas and am now shamelessly – if carefully so as not to mark it – reading it myself. I’m altruistic like that. Has anyone else ever done this? Enthusiasms is a most enjoyable read; it’s a series of essays on literary subjects that intrigued Girouard when he was having time off from being a brilliant architectural historian (his work is essential reading for anyone interested in the history of the English country house). The essays are usually inspired by a need to correct an inaccuracy or a false myth. So far, I have discovered that Jane Austen failed to finish a novel called Catherine which may lay claim to being her first ‘properly Austenish’ work; that there was an anonymous Victorian author named ‘Walter’ who kindly chronicled his sexual exploits with over a thousand women; and that John Masefield, whose most famous poems are the romantic ‘Cargoes’ and ‘Sea Fever’, hated the sea. Like being told wonderful anecdotes by a very clever and entertaining uncle, reading this is the thing for an idle November afternoon.
* We have rats in our ceiling but probably best not to dwell on that.