Monday, 10 April 2000

A slew of books

Listening to:

Brahms, symphony #3 in F, op 90. My traversal has passed through Beethoven and onto Brahms. This CD is the first Brahms CD I ever owned. I remember buying it and thinking, “I wonder if I’m going to like this.” Dear reader, I do.

This is the symphony that features briefly in an episode of Fawlty Towers. Basil is listening to the opening movement on a tape recorder, and Sybil, walking past, tells him to turn off the “racket”. Stridently, Basil replies, “Racket? Racket? This is Brahms’s third racket!”

Just read:

Pick of Punch

I finished this on Thursday night. It had its moments.

Granta 62: What young men do.

I read this in bed on Saturday morning. The previous Sea issue was better, but this was still pretty good. The title piece was all about rioting and carnage in Indonesian Borneo. There was an amusing story in there about a high-heels fetishist, and also a very interesting extended obituary for Martha Gellhorn, a respected journalist. (Well, the writer of the obit. certainly respected her.) She was Ernest Hemingway's second wife as well, and had interesting, and fairly derogatory things to say about him.

Where angels fear to tread by E. M. Forster.

I read this in bed on Sunday morning and thought it very good. I saw the film when it came out in NZ. This was one of at least three Forster adaptations featuring Helena Bonham-Carter that all seemed to come out at roughly the same time.

The book is really quite amusing for most of its length with savage, but funny, portraits of repressed Edwardian sensibilities. Nonetheless, there are dark tones throughout and the ending is definitely dark, if not absolutely tragic. I think I slightly missed some of the impact of the ending because I was reading so quickly, but that's just some indication of the way in which it was a compelling read.

To read next:

The longest journey, again by E. M. Forster. A while back I bought all six Forster novels and now the day of reckoning is upon me.