I gave myself a subscription to the London Review of Books, as an additional Christmas present, partly because I could not resist the offer of the very nice calendar that came with it. That was, however, just an added incentive. As a literary review magazine it tops everything else here in England I think, and to do it justice you have to give some dedicated time to the various excellent (and extensive) reviews. The first issue I received (5th January) has an in-depth review by Stephen Holmes of the Luke Harding book on The Mafia State, convincing me that I must somehow or other find the time to read it in order to understand more about Putin‘s present day Russia; there is also an enjoyable and persuasive analysis of P.D. James‘s take on Jane Austin’s Pemberley characters in ‘Death comes to Pemberley’; these two essays are for starters only. All in all the magazine has plenty to offer for a couple of hours on this Saturday afternoon, and has given me the perfect excuse not to write the reviews I had promised myself I would do this afternoon.
I shall get on with that soon, I promise. It’s just that I feel rather jaded after a long Friday ‘out’ with over 250 work colleagues, which included a very early start and a long drive, a morning of company presentations, followed by an afternoon of group activities such as charades, ice-skating, sleighing, quizzes and other such wonderful pastimes, and then came a run for showers and changes of clothing in order to get ready for a dinner, concluded by a restless night’s sleep in a hotel room and a two and a half hour’s drive back home early this morning. Perhaps it’s not surprising that I looked for an excuse for not doing any demanding mental exercise and chose the path of least resistance; and I will admit that whilst reading the London Review I fell asleep for an hour or so.
No, that’s not me!