Those who may have read my first blog, "Some Words on Books," may remember my writing about the blowup in my Reader Redux Toronto bookclub, in May. One month on, I still smart from that. It set me musing on how a seemingly small nastiness can worm its way into your thinking and your days. The woman in question has not communicated, but is supposedly seeing a film tonight at my expense (in the good days, I booked a ticket for her.) Another woman has left the group, because, so she writes, the books were not to her taste. In future I should present a proposed list to the members, or have them suggest titles, which is often done elsewhere.
It is now only one month until our holiday in England. It will be an active and stimulating two weeks, with several productions (in Cambridge, Chichester and London), museums, parks, and, of course, bookshops.
I went to see the new Jane Austen film Love and Friendship last week at the Toronto International Film Festival hall (the Festival is not on until September, incidentally). I was very much impressed by the film, especially by the young actors. One young actor from Northern Ireland, Conor MacNeill, had a small role as a young curate, to whom the widow heroine, Lady Susan, appeals when her emotions threaten to get the best of her. His scene happens in a church, and for a moment my heart stopped. "Good heavens," said I to myself, "there is my relative Robert on the screen!" My relative Robert, two years my junior, is an Anglican priest in the west of England. Conor and Robert could be identical twins, in speech, appearance and profession!
The blight to which I allude above spread its gloom. I withdrew from the Meetup groups which the second lady and I shared; I guess I am a coward. I really was looking forward to the discussion in James's Classic Book Club of Pearl Buck's Pulitzer Prize winner The Good Earth (1931); I am reading it for the third time, over two decades or so. The copy I bought recently is a Pocket Book (remember those?) printed in 1961. At that time my copy, a mint one, cost the huge sum of thirty-five cents. My favourite used bookstore asked for five dollars for it. Changed days!
The blight has also caused me to realize again -- and appreciate always -- my real friends. Recently, thanks to Facebook (which I hitherto disliked) I have linked up with friends in Calgary, my hometown, whom I have know for fifty years. Thank you to I, M. P. H. and M.
I am still in search of a good congregation.