30 January 2009

Eyes and Ears - 30/01/2009

USSR:

Last week New Girl and I took a spin up to Pickwick Papers (a second hand book shop in Kalamunda) where the odd but kindly owner was having a sale - 50% off all books priced at under $199 or under; 20% off all books $200 and over. If you're in the area, the sale is still on this weekend. We'll be there again buying up BIG - so, like, just back off, okay??

The owner has taken quite a shine to us based on the tomes we've bought there our last couple of visits. It really doesn't matter what our other flaws may be, in his eyes we are untouchable because we enjoy fine literature. "How did you two young ladies come by such good taste in books?" the old honeydripper asked. "Superior breeding," I told him. Unfortunately, he seemed to take this in all earnestness.

So this time round I bought, among other volumes, a book called Haunted England, which is a collection of ghost stories, lore and legends from around, well, England would you believe? It's a pretty simple little book, but entertaining, and has kept me nicely diverted as I've trundled to and from work on the bus this week.

Equally absorbing but far, far heavier going has been Ted Hughes' Birthday Letters. Last week as I browsed the shelves of Elizabeth's with Heidi, I briefly contemplated buying a collection of Ted Hughes' letters (I think I'll go back and get it this weekend - so, like, just back off, okay?) and commented to Heidi, "What I'd really like to see here is Birthday Letters." And then, lo and behold, there it was. So I got it. I haven't read it cover to cover; that would be too much. But I have jumped around, slowly working my way through each poem that I come across.

For those of you not in the know, these poems are all about Hughes' relationship with Sylvia Plath from the time of their meeting to her suicide - and beyond, I suppose, as he wrestled with the aftermath. The book is filled with drama and sadness and psychological upheaval. Also, importantly, love and admiration. I thought Grumpy and I had a fairly volatile relationship at times, but it never made me want to stick my head in an oven (the fact that I could only ever find electric ones is a side issue). My favourite so far, because it is the most hopeful, is the first poem in the book, 'Fulbright Scholars'. You can read it here.

High Rotation:

You're in My Heart - Rod Stewart ("My respect for you immense" - oh suuuure)
And I Moved - Pete Townshend
Life is a Highway - Tom Cochrane
Never Satisfied - Living Colour
What Deaner Was Talkin' About - Ween

3 comments:

Susan said...

I know of Ted Hughes because I am of Superior Breeding.

Karen said...

Ted Hughes is evil and I can never, ever admire anything of his. I do, however, own a copy of (Sylvia Plath's) Letters Home, bought second hand.

I'd be one of those people who constantly scratch the name "Hughes" off of Plath's gravestone -- if I had ever visited her gravesite.

I'm not sure this qualifies as superior breeding.

hazelblackberry said...

Yes, I used to be a bit anti-Ted Hughes and then I started reading some of his stuff and I decided he wasn't so bad after all.