Look At Me: Reading Anita Brookner

‘Once a thing is known it can never be unknown. It can only be forgotten.’

My friend Kate Rodenhurst and I both read Anita Brookner’s ‘Look At Me’ in the same month, in the same city, long after it had been published and independently of each other. Having discovered this coincidence and both been strongly affected by the book, we decided to think about doing this writing together. To help others discover the beauty of a piece of work that had so long eluded both of us.

I’m starting the writing then to get this written version of our long conversation going. And Kate will reflect and respond where she likes along the way. Reflecting our actual conversation round at Kate’s house. One that was no more a review or a detailed critique than this is likely to be, but more an appreciation of what so fascinated us both. Here goes. Continue reading “Look At Me: Reading Anita Brookner”

Elmet: “Having already got out all our words for the day”

I loved everything about this book.

There, that’s the criticism out of the way, now let’s get down to details.

It arrived as one of many I’d laid in for the quiet days as work was put down and Christmas waited for New Year. I didn’t pick it up to read first or even third though. Attracted as I had been to the glorious cover I worried a little about ‘dreamily poetic’ in one of the review quotes and also had a sense I was going to find bleakness within its pages. After a difficult year I wasn’t immediately ready for bleak. Continue reading “Elmet: “Having already got out all our words for the day””

For the Love of Secondhand Books: A Digression

It’s a perfect example of what it is, a secondhand book. It’s got other well used books on its cover, it’s on a ‘vintage’ imprint and I bought it from a secondhand  bookshop.

It is also, by the way, a perfect book. Tom Hanks says it as well as I ever could in his review quote inside the cover:

“It’s simply a novel about a guy who goes to college and becomes a teacher. But it’s one of the most fascinating things that you’ve ever come across.”

Read that aloud, please, in your best dry, wry and enquiring Tom Hanks voice and I think you might both get the idea and want the book. Which you can have any day soon if I give you its catalogue number: Continue reading “For the Love of Secondhand Books: A Digression”

Imagine, Liverpool Central Library.

A post from Sarah, on today’s visit to Liverpool’s new library.


It’s Sunday, it’s the end of our seemingly endless heatwave, and finally cooler. Last night it rained. Lovely, heavy summer rain. It smelt divine. Today showers are forecast, and I’ve known it was going to be like this so am not planning on visiting Plot 44. Instead, we’re going into town, to the ‘new library’. This is Liverpool’s Central Library, which re-opened in May this year after a huge refurbishment. Ronnie wrote about its opening here. Me, not being one for crowds, didn’t go along, but was looking forward to my first visit.

Today we drive into town and park above the entrance to the ‘old’ Mersey tunnel, Queensway, which opened in 1934, and for such a utilitarian piece of architecture (a road under the river Mersey), it is a lovely structure. Continue reading “Imagine, Liverpool Central Library.”