A selection of words and pictures to represent August’s reading:
a book into which notable extracts from other works are copied for personal use.
Yet even without deliberately attempting to cut and discard pieces of a story, years after giving a full and just accounting of an event, a man may discover himself a liar. Such lies happen not by intent, but purely by virtue of the facts he was not privy to at the time he wrote, or by being ignorant of the significance of trivial events. No one is pleased to discover himself in such a strait, but any man who claims never to have experienced it is but stacking one lie on top of another.
‘That’s just what I feel. What is profoundly personal cannot be exposed without -‘ Emily stopped.
‘Well! But what about our work?’
‘That’s fiction. It’s the stuff of your experience, perhaps, but not the stuff of your souls.’ She spoke quite matter-of-factly and without any special emphasis; yet Anne and Charlotte were silenced.
Two steps. Two steps were all it took. An ocean; a universe. A gulf separating innocence from almost certain damnation. And yet innocence can be a burden and above all rarely profitable. Innocence affords private satisfaction; money and power simple recompense.
“The trouble is,” said Laura, “walking in Venice becomes compulsive once you start. Just over the next bridge, you say, and then the next one beckons.”
Would you really have married the man who’d killed your brothers?
Well, first of all, I wouldn’t have been given a choice. But yes, probably. Yes. I was a slave, and a slave will do anything, anything at all, to stop being a thing and become a person again.
I just don’t know how you could do that.
Well, no, of course you don’t. You’ve never been a slave.
‘Germany will declare war on France tomorrow, if she hasn’t already done so. As for us, we shall be in by Tuesday at the latest!’
‘How can you be so sure?’ Paul demanded. ‘Grenfell rang two days ago and said it depended upon half-a-dozen unknown factors, any of which might result in us standing aside.’
Franz said, ‘My dear boy, the politicians are the clowns who provide the curtain raiser, an entirely different cast act the play!’
‘In my work I never calculate on persons, as apart from what I see them do. A person more or less is of no account in state affairs – it is what he promotes and what he does that I have to reckon with. I see your recent actions and your future intentions, and I hold them to be invidious. So I am not interested in emotional recollections of the kind of person you are, or seemed to be. I only work on what I see you doing.’
A man who carries the blood of Lancaster in his veins and has the Welsh dragon at his heel is a constant threat to York. The time may not be yet, Harri, but when the time comes, it is to you that the followers of the dragon will look for leadership. I look towards the crown for you – a Tudor crown.’
The Tudor Crown by Joanna Hickson (2018)
‘But you see,’ she said, ‘we are not either of them. However much we care for other people, we cannot become them. People can only do as much as they are. It may be more than we could do, it may be less, but very often it will be different. Sometimes that is very hard to bear, as I know you know.’
She looked round the gallery. ‘This is my favourite place in this palace. Where I can walk undisturbed, and rest my eyes on its treasures.’
‘There is much beauty here.’
‘The clocks remind me that however frantically courtiers plot and plan beyond these doors, time ticks by regardless.’ She looked at me directly with her hazel eyes. ‘Taking us to our judgement.’
What a happy woman I am living in a garden, with books, babies, birds, and flowers, and plenty of leisure to enjoy them! Yet my town acquaintances look upon it as imprisonment, and I don’t know what besides, and would rend the air with their shrieks if condemned to such a life. Sometimes I feel as if I were blest above all my fellows in being able to find my happiness so easily.
A serious note crept into Elizabeth’s voice. ‘There is much to be said for a lack of ambition. I would not be sorry should you think less of advancement and more of the content to be had in small things.’
‘No more would I, should we be allowed that luxury.’
She ignored the implication, sought to counter it. ‘Surely we should be able to find much to take pleasure in within our own bounds.’ There was a sound of scuffling from above their heads, followed by a shriek and a succession of giggles. ‘Family for one. Our children healthy and happy and full of life.’
By Sword and Storm by Margaret Skea (2018)
Favourite books read in August:
Fool’s Errand, Dark Quartet, Lamentation and Marking Time.
Where did my reading take me in August?
England, France, Italy, Crete, Ireland, Israel, Ancient Greece, Spain, Germany, Scotland
Authors read for the first time in August:
Lynne Reid Banks, Andrea Japp, Pat Barker, Kate O’Brien, Margaret Skea
Have you read any of these books? Which books did you enjoy in August?