Used & Rare, Slightly Chipped and Warmly Inscribed

And when you’ve read 84 Charing Cross Road, what is more natural than to polish off Used and Rare, Slightly Chipped and Warmly Inscribed in quick succession?

I see from the archives that I must have neglected to record my first reading of Warmly Inscribed, which is annoying, but most of what I said for the first two hold true for this one as well – the difference, if there is one, is that larger sections of the book are dedicated to single «stories», such as that of the New England forger of the sub-title. This is in no way a bad thing, and like the two first, Warmly Inscribed is a bit of a must-read for any bibliophile.

84 Charing Cross Road

In which we sigh gratefully

Having read somewhat too much of a book I really didn’t want to read just now, I picked 84 Charing Cross Road out of a pile which is intended for RABCKs (I have another copy, obviously, but this one was at hand) to indulge myself. Oh, what a lovely feeling. This book of course, a must for any bibliophile. It is probably also a must for any anglophile, though I have a hard time imagining an anglophile who is not also a bibliophile, and so it is a bit difficult to say.

Amazon.co.uk somehow managed to offer me Henry Miller’s Tropic of Capricorn as the «Perfect Partner» for Hanff (if you buy both, you get a discount). Can someone please explain to me how that happened? Is it simply because Miller is tagged as a «classic» and any classic goes with Hanff? Because, quite frankly, I fail to see the connection otherwise. If you really wanted a perfect partner for Hanff, how about this one? The ideal match, of course, would be any of Q’s lectures, but the best amazon can do is this, which he edited.

But Miller? Honestly!

Reading Lolita in Tehran

I’d been half-heartedly searching for Azar Nafisi’s Reading Lolita in Tehran ever since I saw it at Malmö train station in May (didn’t buy it there because it was ridiculously priced and we already had too much luggage). Found it in Ottakars in Elgin (after we – on our tenth visit or so to the town – found that Elgin had an Ottakars completely by chance, but that’s another story), and of course had to begin it pretty promptly.

The main point of departure for the book is a reading group Nafisi started after she had to stop teaching at the university in Tehran following various changes introduced as a result of the revolution. She and her girls read novels that are forbidden, or at least frowned upon, by the regime and their discussions of and reaction to the novels and authors, provides an interesting contrast to the snippets of memoirs of the actual political situation and how it affects their lives. As regards the politics, Nafisi’s account is both critical and sympatetic at the same time, which makes it more interesting than the majority of the commentaries I’ve read before.

It’s pretty much as interesting as expected, with a few unlookedfor side-effects. Half-way through I had to find my post-it index tabs and start marking the places I’ll want to refer to later. I’ve been wanting to start seriously looking at my studies – most specifically this doctoral thesis I was planning to write at some point – again anyway, being in an academic atmosphere is catching obviously, but this book certainly provided fuel for that particular flame.

A book to be recommended if you are at all interested in the study of literature, and probably also if you’re just interested in an intellectual (dare I say: intelligent) view of the Iranian regime from «the inside».

84 Charing Cross Road – Helene Hanff

In the meantime, 84 Charing Cross Road popped up in two quite unrelated discussions during the last week. So guess what I reread yesterday? My paperback copy has The Dutchess of Bloomsbury Street in the same volume, so that’ll be my reading for tonight. After that, it’s back to the search for the perfect book about Scotland. Only eleven days to go before I will be there myself.