Begging to join the groaning shelves this week:
Maurizio Bettini (1999):
I've wanted to read this since I read this review.
I have seen girls, beaded with perspiration from hot apparatus, putting calls through every minute for hours on end during bad bush-fires and crises in Europe and the Pacific, until they collapsed from sheer nervous exhaustion. I know that strained concentration which is needed to complete connections, with half a dozen lines under your tense fingers, that must not make mistakes.
"You fool, you hopeless little fool," he continued, gripping my arm. "Don't you realize that you may be holding in that silly brain of yours some half-forgotten fact that may make your life a danger to this inhuman creature?"
Prod [Peter Rodd] spent a week at Swinbrook, talking until the family reeled with boredom. No matter what subject was brought up, it seemed he was the world expert. "I know, I know," he would interrupt. "I know, I was an engineer and I..." or "I know, I know, I am a farmer..." The sisters swore he once said, "I know, I know, I am the Pope..."
In The Library is a warm blend of English Novel*, Russian & Moroccan Leather Bindings, Worn Cloth and a hint of Wood Polish.
*The main note in this scent was copied from one of my favorite novels originally published in 1927. I happened to find a signed first edition in pristine condition many years ago in London. I was more than a little excited because there were only ever a hundred of these in the first place. It had a marvelous warm woody slightly sweet smell and I set about immediately to bottle it.
"A coincidence is just an explanation waiting to happen."
She had made a terrible mistake, hadn't she? She had married the wrong man. No, no, she had married the right man, it was just that she was the wrong woman.
He was going to quote himself to death if he wasn't careful.
The house was about a five-minute drive west of the station. A brass plaque on one of the obelisk-shaped gateposts said it was a villa, but probably only because they were a little shy about using a word like 'palace'. It took me a whole minute to climb the steps to the front door, where a fellow dressed to go cheek-to-cheek with Ginger Rogers was waiting to take my hat and act as my scout across the marble plains that lay ahead. He stayed with me as far as the library, then wheeled around silently and set off for home again before it started to get dark.
He smelled faintly of cologne and hypocrisy.
In the half darkness and close confines of the confessional his voice sounded particularly infernal. He probably laid it on a greased rack and left it to smoke over a hickory-wood fire when he went to bed at night.
...I turned to face a man wearing a neat, grey suit with a wing collar that looked as if it had been tailored by Pythagoras.
Beneath all this decorative nonsense was an inscription. It read 'Sero sed serio', which was Latin for 'We're richer than you are'.
I beckoned the waiter towards me. He had Hindenburg's moustache, Hitler's blue eyes, and Adenauer's personality. It was like being served by fifty years of German history.
His imagination resembled the wings of an ostrich. It enabled him to run, though not to soar.
...the Weekly Dispatch invited [Christabel] to write five articles in April. The first of these promised much: 'Confessions of Christabel: Why I Never Married: First of a Candid Series'. However, she revealed little in the article except a growing tendency to pretentiousness. Claiming to have followed an instinct to keep herself free for her life's work, she declared: 'For its sake I have had to remove not only all ideas of marriage, but many other things less important, such as social pleasures and various intellectual and artistic interests.' She was consciously helping to create the myth of a great political leader's sacrifice for the cause. Christabel did, however, come closer to admitting she had never been strongly tempted by marriage when she wrote: 'I am afraid that such a sum-total of human perfection as I should have required in a husband has seldom, if ever, existed.'
She was younger than I had expected -- in her early twenties, as I later learned -- and not unattractive. Firm lips and a direct gaze gave distinction to her rounded face and dark hair. As we shook hands, with the conventional murmurs of greeting, I wondered how Ramses had got acquainted with her -- and when. She had been smiling and rolling her eyes at him in a manner that suggested this was not their first meeting. Ramses has an unfortunate habit of being attractive to women, especially strong-minded women.... Miss Christabel gave me a look of freezing disapproval. "He is Mrs. Markham's brother, and a sturdy defender of the cause. If you had deigned to attend our earlier meetings, Mrs. Emerson, you would be aware of these facts."She did not give me time to reply that I had not been invited to attend their earlier meetings, but marched off with her nose in the air. I had heard the young lady praised for her wit and sense of humor. The latter appeared to be in abeyance at the moment.