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Dark Puss

For myself I don't really agree with Manguel and thus, dare I say it, with you on this matter. I am in a completely different world when I am reading a novel, and whether my mood beforehand was quiet and contemplative or whether it was on edge and hyperactive does not I think determine how I am going to chose what to read nor how I will feel when actually reading it.

Of course I am hardly detached enough to really judge, but it is what I think is the case. Certainly I do not seek out a particular type of book when I am in a certain mood; either to match it or as an opposite to provide a counterbalance.

On a completely tangential point, does Manguel offer any suggestions for books for reading after lovemaking?

Margaret Powling

I really don't know what I should read in extremis, but what a coincidence your post is ... I have just been reading the first few chapters of von Arnim's The Solitary Summer and she mentions reading the right book in the right place. She is in her garden in May:
"I can see the reeds glistening greenly in the water, and when I look up I can see the rye-fringe brushing the sky. All sorts of beasts come and stare at me, and larks sing above me, and creeping things crawl over me, and stir in the long grass beside me; and here I bring my book, and read and dream away the profitable morning hours, to the accompaniment of the amorous croakings of innumerable frogs."
The book she is reading is by Thoreau and she says why:
"He is a person who loves the open air, and will refuse to give you much pleasure if you try and read him amid the pomp and circumstance of upholstery ..."
For indoors she would read Boswell:
"Imagine carrying him off in company with this great friend to a lonely dell in a rye-field, and expecting them to be entertaining. 'Nay, my dear lady,' the great man would say in mighty tones of rebuke, ' this will never do. Lie in a rye-field? What folly is that?' So I read and laugh over my Boswell in the library when the lamps are lit, buried in cushions and surrounded by every sign of civilisation, with the drawn curtains shutting out the garden and the country solitude so much disliked by both sage and disciple [i.e. Bosell & Dr Johnson.]"
I think this sums up beautifully "the right book in the right place."
Maybe von Arnim would help me in extremis!


To answer your question, not that I've come across.


That's lovely, Margaret, and just the sort of thing I (and Manguel, perhaps) had in mind.

Simon T

What a rich book Manguel's is - I'm enjoying dipping in and out of it. I certainly agree that certain books work at certain times; at the moment I am supposed to be reading Hardy, and it is not working... whereas I loved Hardy last year.

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