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O Luely Luely by William Soutar (1898-1943)
Shift in acceptable use of commas
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Anne Golon
Anne Golon, who wrote the "Angelique" series of novels under the name Sergeanne Golon, has died aged 95.  I read about half a dozen of the "Angelique" novels when I was a schoolgirl and very racy they seemed to a  15-year-old.  I'm sure I would now find them pretty trashy but I loved them then.
O Luely Luely by William Soutar (1898-1943)
Just discovered this Scots poet William Soutar.

O luely, luely, cam she in
And luely she lay doun:
I kent her be her caller lips
And her breists sae sma' and roun'.

A' thru the night we spak nae word
Nor sinder'd bane frae bane:
A' thru the nicht I heard her heart
Gang soundin' wi' my ain.

It was about the waukrife hour
When cocks begin to craw
That she smool'd saftly thru the mirk
Afore the day wud daw.

Sae luely, luely, cam she in
Saie luely was she gaen;
And wi' her a' ...
Shift in acceptable use of commas
I've been noticing a change in the way commas are used. It comes up in book after book, jarring me with its inappropriateness. But if it's happening so often, it means it is becoming accepted, and that writers and publishers both think it has value.

An example, from the opening pages of Paula Hawkins' The Girl on the Train:
'It's going to be a lovely weekend, that's what they're telling us.'

Now that's just dead wrong, according to everything I was taught and ...
July Jests
At my father's suggestion I read The Memory of Water by Shelagh Stephenson, a play in which he appeared recently. Very good it is too, funny, poignant, etc., though I imagine it'd be better on the stage than on the page. It's about three sisters of very different temperaments who meet at their mother's home following her death. Old resentments resurface, grievances are aired, real and false memories are blurred.

[color=green:15e99584f8 ...
Books about sex and gender
Read this week: Future Sex: A New Kind of Free Love by Emily Witt. It seemed like a good idea at the time. A student requested us to buy it, and the Faber edition has such an attractive design that I borrowed it when she was through with it. Shame about the book, really. Briefly: Emily Witt is a US writer in her mid 30s, and this book is ostensibly an exploration of 21st-century sex. It begins with Witt single and looking for purpose in h ...
Michael Bond
There goes another one..... Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond is dead at 91. Somehow Paddington's path and mine have never crossed. It seems like just the thing my mother would have read to us, but she never did. Was he a political bear, at all?
Paul Theroux
This belongs in its own spot

Back into the travel genre for me, like a bug to a bug-zapper. However, it hasn't killed me yet.

Paul Theroux  has apparently run out of places he hasn't visited before, so he's revisiting the scene - or scenes - of his epic 1973 loop from London to the Far East, mostly by rail and back by the Trans Siberian Express, which he turned into the book The Great Railway Bazaar. He is suitably hard on himself for doing it.
'You think travelers are bold, but our gui ...
In Search of England by H.V. Morton (1927)
I have just a review in The Oldie of The Village News by Tom Fort about villages "a chatty, often amusing summary of his enquiries into twenty-odd English villages, toughened by affectionate common sense".  

In it, though, he seems to criticise some writers that readers here at least value:  HV Morton ('sentimental inter-war notion of English and Englishness, but was mostly made up') and Laurie Lee in Cider with ...
Alan Bennett
Not a play but I am reading Alan Bennett's memoir/autobiography, A Life Like Other People's. I don't know if this has been discussed before or not - the search feature here is not the best.  You don't seem to be able to narrow the search by putting the quotation marks around the words.

I am about a third of the way through this, our book club book this month.  Have to be finished it by Wednesday.  It is not hard reading, though very interesting. &n ...
Away for a week
I am just using this old thread to say I will be away for the next few days.  Off to Christchurch to stay with our son, who has recently shifted there.  And his wife and sons, Peter and Henry.  I am taking with me the crime novel I am reading, a Phil Rickman one that I have already mentioned, Alan Bennett's A Life Like Other Peoples (ditto) and The Old Curiosity Shop (re-ditto).

Might also choose another one.  See ...
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