WHAT I JUST READ: Nancy Mitford’s Love in a Cold Climate. This witty novel made me laugh so hard I didn’t scrawl any notes, so here is a random quote from a savvy, sympathetic, witty gay character, Cedric Hampton. When he shows up at the narrator Fanny’s house with a “thin and ancient horse,” her horsey friend Norma Cozens indignantly says it must be put down immediately or she will call the RSPCA. And didn’t he know he could have bought a hunter with that forty pounds?
“But, my dearest Mrs. Cozens, I don’t want a hunter. It’s the last thing. I’d be far too frightened. Besides, look at the time you have to get up–I heard them the other night in the woods, half-past six. Well, you know, I’m afraid it’s ‘up before seven dead before eleven’ with one. No, I just wanted this special old clipper-clopper. She’s not the horse to make claims on a chap. She won’t want to be ridden all the time, as a younger horse might, and there she’ll be, if feel like having a few words with her occasionally. But the great question now, which I came to tease practical Fanny with, is how to get her home?”
I prefer Mitford’s books to almost anything. Why don’t her books have the same status as Middlemarch?
SPEAKING OF WHICH… The blogger Dolce Bellezza reports that she is co-sponsoring a Middlemarch readalong in May. Sounds like fun. A couple of years ago I channeled my inner Dorothea Brooke and reread this classic, not my favorite Eliot, but it is her best book. Have you noticed how favorites (mine is Daniel Deronda) and bests don’t always coincide? I blogged about Middlemarch here.
WHAT I’M READING: Mary Renault’s The Persian Boy. Although I loved the first book in the Alexander trilogy, I’m finding this one a slog. Will I finish it?
WHAT I WANT TO READ: Lionel Shriver’s new collection of short stories and novellas, Property (here is an interview with her in The Guardian), and Rebecca Goldstein’s Plato at the Googleplex: Why Philosophy Won’t Go Away.