Books are like old friends

Books are like old friends. That's certainly the case with this one that an old (and still) friend presented to me as a gift 60 or so years ago.
It says something about the nature of gifts back in those days - the pleasure of the printed word.

It's on my reread list and I'm wondering whether it will feel dated by today's standards.
That's because I reread King Solomon's Mines a while ago and felt that some of its themes and attitudes were of their time and could be considered inappropriate by today's standards.

So in preparation for my reread I did some background research into the Coral Island.
That's a story in itself.

I'm still going ahead with the book and will try to recover the experience of that first read. Six decades ago.
I love the gift of the printed word.  A gift that keeps on giving.

Yes, books are like old friends...the older the nicer.

Interested in the book, its author and creation? Check out the Wikipedia article here.

Latest Read: June 04 2019

The Western WindThe Western Wind by Samantha Harvey

Glad I stayed with it. ****

I almost gave up on this book as initially it moved too slowly for me but I'm glad that I stayed with it and almost wish it hadn't finished. The story unfolds in 15th century Oakham, a village backwater in Somerset. Its central character is a priest, John Reve who narrates the story in reverse chronological order about a wealthy parishioner, Thomas Newman, who has been swept away to his death in a nearby river. I wondered about the unusual chronological device and the reason for it becomes clear in the final chapter. I found myself going back to the beginning to try to ascertain the ending!
Much of the story takes place in the village church and particularly in the new confessional booth that has been constructed there. Parishioners confess litanies of sins in the run up to Lent but will anyone confess to the killing of Newman? It becomes clear that the priest John Reve has a secret of his own, something he does not dare to admit or confess to his own superior, a local Dean who has been summoned to the village to investigate the mysterious death.
The Dean is an ominous presence and Reve's feelings toward him ebb and flow in a gentle exploration of the nature of authority. I didn't much care for the Dean but felt that Reve, despite his flaws, became more likeable.
I also liked very much the many descriptive passages and turns of phrase, stopping every now and then to go back over them and reflect on the point being made. And this then was for me the ultimate appeal of the work, its saving grace. It developed a meditative quality, a kind of examination of conscience and an exploration of guilt.
Glad I stayed with it.

View all my reviews

Tiger resting haiku

Could not see at first
Pictured where others pointed
Lone tiger resting.

- Ranthambore National Park, India 


What a difference a year makes.

There you go! It's been nearly a year since the last post and the intervening period has marked the end of the freelance role and launches a new chapter in which I'm constantly thinking of ways to repurpose this blog.  I've been here before of course with my old improvingwithage blogspot but this time the intention is to carry on with a new (middle) focus on things that catch the senior eye - old dog, new tricks comes to mind or maybe that old Yiddish expression - Too soon old, too late smart!

Retirement has been gentle so far and has offered plenty of scope for reflection. Maybe some of that thinking and new/old insights will find their way into this blog, who knows? The past year has been a time of letting some things go, holding on to others and finding new things to seize upon.

A friend once remarked that retirement is so good that he wished he'd done it when he left school!  Don't know about that but I can honestly say that I'm enjoying this time as the last year has seen visits abroad, cuisines sampled, dozens of books read, films viewed and new music heard.

Turn back time?
No thanks!
Growing up we learned that one door never closes but another opens. My dad, who worked for a while in a watchmakers, once remarked in the face of a major political upheaval that "there are some clocks that cannot be put back!" - referring to the fact that the mechanism of some old clocks had to be adjusted in a clockwise direction, letting them chime out each hour.  Patience, Time was needed for the recalibration.  Taking the quick and easy approach of turning the mechanism anti-clockwise risked upsetting the delicate balance of the timepiece.

Retirement is rather like that. There's comfort in slowing down from a busy career but also excitement - experiencing new things, places and people; savouring refreshment. But always moving forward - Clockwise.

So the posts here will continue but with different chimes, different focal points; reflecting new directions or giving vent to new insights on old interests.

We'll see where it goes.  One thing's certain: Time may pass but friendship remains.