Tuesday, 27 May 2014

More Books

A dry northerly had thinned the Saturday crowd by the time I went into town. Books are excellent insulation so I dropped into Charley's for a browse and came out with a few - Enderby by Anthony Burgess, Elements of Metaphysics by A.E. Taylor and The Sense of an Ending by Julian Barnes. (4, 5.5, 5 Euro)

I've been reading the Taylor as a scanned ebook from Internet Archive for a while. The scan is good but footnotes baffle it. On practically every page there are long, intricate footnotes, what I have called voices from another room. One is plunged into another conversation without warning. When ebooks are prepared with links to notes it is easy to navigate and the distinction between footnote and endnote becomes irrelevant. In a printed book I prefer footnotes myself though they seem to have been superseded by endnotes. The worst solution in my opinion is chapter end notes.

Enderby is a comedy, English literary lout. Fun, abroad, bloody.

Julian Barnes is having a late golden period, brooding on finality. It won the Booker which is generally ominous as a quality indicator as that prize seems to be a demographic encouragement. Highgate/Hampstead intellectuals are not an untapped tree so it's probably good.

I am at present reading War and Peace. I shall be gone for some time. It's a very easy book to read with many incidents that are like self contained short stories. The endnotes are informative for an ignoramus like myself (Vintage). Why conclude a peace treaty on a barge in the middle of a river. Or in a train carriage in the middle of a wood? The Shiva of Napoleon is set against the Shakti of Natasha.

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