Friday, November 30, 2007
One of our less than gracious family traditions is to sit and admire our shopping purchases or gifts we have received. We call it 'gloating time' and, having paraded and extolled the virtues of the said items, the owner dons a smug smile and says "Good swag!" Yes, I know it's pathetic but it's what we do!
I'm sitting with a smug smile looking at some of the good swag I received for my birthday, yesterday. One glance will tell you how well my nearest and dearest know my tastes: I have books to read, notebooks to write in and a bottle of Baileys. A late-November birthday is the perfect excuse for lazy self-indulgence.
My son always manages to buy books that he knows I won't have read but will enjoy. Here he has chosen Oscar and Lucinda by Peter Carey and Suite Francaise by Irene Nemirovsky. Peter Carey is the only Australian writer that I can think of, which is undoubtedly more of an indictment of my knowledge than of Australian literary talent. I read and enjoyed his Jack Maggs a couple of years ago, thanks again to Andrew's choice of gift.
His second choice, Irene Nemirovsky's Suite Francaise, is described as "a masterwork of literary accomplishment" in the Sunday Times. Irene Nemirovsky was born in Russia into a rich, Jewish family. They fled the Russian Revolution to Paris, where Irene became a successful writer. She planned to write a sequence of novels about the experiences of ordinary people living through the occupation but she died in Auswitch in 1942 before completing them. The two completed works, Storm in June, set in Paris, and Dolce, set in a small rural community, were discovered and published as Suite Francaise in 2004.
My third treat is Advent and Christmas: Wisdom from G.K. Chesterton, a gift from MBFIATW, Crinny. This will provide daily reading for reflection during December. (We claim a very tenuous family connection with GK: our nephew,Allister is married to one of his distant relatives!) I love this picture of Chesterton from the book's Introduction, "In him was a humor akin to humility: a humor that delighted in life but refused to take the enigma of being human too seriously, a joyous humour with a sane estimate of itself and others, a holy humor that lived lightly because it trusted God for maintaining the universe." He would have been a most welcome visitor on Random Distractions!
The gorgeous notebooks and diary are from my husband and daughter, who know that I love writing on beautiful paper and that purple is one of my favourite colours.