mjj (flemmings) wrote,

Today the world was pale blue and pale green, in the shadow of light and shifting clouds. Hasui colours, I call them, but seen in a dry sharp light that the saturated spring of Japan never does. Here it's a classic topos of lilac season, as is the cream sky below grey clouds. I was in this house for two unremembered years before Japan, then away for six springs, which sufficed to make me imprint on that first spring back as the way it is. But 1996 was a cold grey spring, rainy and dark: cozy, in its way, but not the calm civilized world I see around me now.

Must work all day tomorrow so tonight is not as Friday as all that.

Finished a second Martha Grimes last night and in high dudgeon went to check Goodreads. Goodreads tells me that yes, all her books end on downer notes, but this one was egregious even for her. Which settles it: no more Richard Jury for me.

However one still wants time-wasting reading, or reading to-no-purpose reading, of the sort that mysteries supply so well even as they depress because of the waste of time. Also mysteries are more portable than the heavy trade paperback tomes I have on the go. So as an experiment (partly in in Flow and partly in solid bread and butter reading I never got to) I started The Courtier. It's a Doubleday Anchor paperback probably bought forty years ago: I've had it on the shelf through more moves than I can remember. As evidence, it cost 79 cents at the vanished Coles where it *must* have been second-hand, because the name on the flyleaf belongs to one Jeff Moore of Nebraska Wesleyan University. No idea at all what travels brought it here.

I thought I'd never even opened it, but there at the back, in my writing and in pencil, is a family tree for the Montefeltro and Este families. (And at the front, in print, is the unsettling note 'Typography by Edward Gorey') If I'd gotten into the dialogue at all I'm sure I would have done a cast of characters, as I shall do now: can't remember from section to section who 'the Count' or 'the Prefect' or 'messer Federico' is.

And it reads well enough, much more substantially than a police procedural. But as ever when people rhyme off the list of virtues they desire in virtuous men- whether they do it in Latin or Greek or Italian or Chesterfield's English- I can't see the person they're talking about at all. Maybe accomplished people no longer exist, or not on this continent, because the only man I could see fitting the traits described was Pierre Trudeau. And he's perhaps more suited to The Prince.
Tags: history, reading_16, rl_16

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