Tuesday, 31 August 2010


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Monday, 30 August 2010

Passion... or the world well lost for love.

As I read Therese Raquin earlier today (about 3/4 of the way through and loving it, though I do think the translator has over used the word egotism) I got to thinking a lot about passion. One of the reasons Germanicus and I split was that I considered him to lack passion. He never seemed to be passionately in love with me, was never carried away on the wings of love to do anything remotely wild and exciting in the heat of the moment and always refused to kiss me in public. As regards the latter I also consider making out in certain public places inappropriate but I was not asking for wild kissing in an expensive restaurant but merely to kiss my lover on a park bench or as we strolled through moonlit streets at night and so on. He lacked passion for me in general and although he did love me I found that love became a little muted with the passion absent.

In Therese Raquin the lovers get so carried away by passion that they commit murder (I am not really giving anything away here as unfortunately nowadays book covers have the perfectly horrid way of telling you the whole plot). I can't imagine Germanicus so much as insulting someone let along carrying out an act of violence due to passion. Perhaps he was a bit too staid for me? And yet I don't actually want a wild passion crazed man, not really my style at all, rather I want someone who is passionate in love and lust. Germanicus, oh Germanicus... you are not one who considers that the world would be well lost for love.

While discussing the matter over with a friend recently I commented on his lack of passion and there was a little pause in the conversation as she clearly prepared herself to say something she had been wanting to tell me, she replied to the effect that it was much better to have ended the relationship for to be with someone who doesn't care madly for one is not enough and that I deserved more. My other close friend and flatmate (should I give close friends names out of literature as well since I will be bound to mention them sometimes... I shall but will take some time to think of appropriate ones ) has also on many occasions since the split implied strongly that it is for the best, and my mother has also. They none of them seem to have anything to say against Germanicus, simply that the split was a good idea. In fact they have all been so adament on that point that I have only told my flatmate and no one else that I have met up with him since splitting.

Love should be passion filled and have its crazy wonderous moments that carry you away. Unfortunately Therese Raquin is not a great example of this for although they definately are carried away by their passion it does not benefit them in the end and instead destroys them. However, as I am not looking for a lover to be so wild about me that he has to murder someone, I think I can still quite safely look for passion!

Sunday, 29 August 2010

Having a perfectly charming Sunday filled with good food, the Sunday Times and a Blandings P.G. Wodehouse. I adore Blandings and it always makes the world seem a better and happier place. In my mind I am still alternating between wanting Germanicus back and deciding that I am better off single. Recently I have been picturing what it might be to find someone else and I am growing rather fond of the idea. I long to find a man I can discuss books with, enjoy good food and wine and perhaps go to the opera with also. It is quite exciting thinking about the marvelous men I might meet and date... It being a long and pretty boring summer I expect I have allowed myself to dwell on memories of Germanicus and day dreams about us reuniting. But more and more I am getting myself used to the idea of a fun dating life with other men.

I feel I need to find a book I can really sink my teeth into and become totally absorbed by. But it is so hard to find such a treasure. The last book I read like that was 'War and Peace' but the one that most enthralled me was 'Nineteen Eighty-Four'. I got so sucked into it that for months afterwards I could remember the feel of it in my mind. It was the love story in it that captivated me most, especially the haunting little poem at the end. I find a large proportion of my life is spent in search of the perfect book or in a state of abject mourning because I have just finished one.

Saturday, 28 August 2010


Thinking a lot about the way in which a relationship can develop from love to friendship and vice versa. The ex and I might be classified as friends now, and he certainly used that term to describe us the first time we met up after splitting. I would like to be his friend if we aren't going to get back together, he is lovely and sweet and so nice and I love having him in my life. On that theme I spent this morning re-reading 'Anne of the Island' in which Anne Shirley finally realises she and Gilbert are meant for each other. I adored the Anne books when I was younger and this one became the most re-read for some reason. Not really sure why as it is not the best, but perhaps it is because Anne is still young and lovely rather than immature and silly (which becomes rather a pain to re-read when one is older) and is still not yet sold down the river to motherhood. Commenting in my last entry about poor old Natasha getting a raw deal at the end of 'War and Peace' reminded me very much at the time of Anne Shirley. She was terrificly wonderful, popular, intelligent and had aspirations to write books, but she hankered after Gilbert Blythe and as soon as that wedding ring was on her finger she became boring and dull, had no career or life of her own and started to pop out lots of children. Said children she didn't even really bring up but had a full time nanny and indeed in the later books Anne is only a shadowy sort of figure in her children's lives. I hate this about old fashioned books: we want our heroine to marry the hero but after the bells have finished pealing I for one would like them to remain intelligent and interesting and not just some sort of facet of their husband and am empty vessel about the home.

Anyway I think my original point was that relationships can alter and become something quite different. The ex and I were not friends before we got together but I really hope we can become friends now. It is best that I get myself used to this idea in fact as I don't think we are going to be anything else and I want above all for him to remain in my life. Let us go with the notion of friendship. About time I moved on properly, it has been over two months now, but the summer vacation is so horribly long that I think I will allow myself these additional two weeks until term starts again before I make myself pursue other options and other men. I am also already sick of referring to him as me ex, I don't like that term and so I have decided to give him a name out of one of my favourite books (and of course of the real list historical figure) and so I have gone with Germanicus, out of 'I, Claudius'.

Thursday, 26 August 2010


A few weeks ago I started writing emails to my ex-boyfriend by instead of sending them to him I have saved them all in my draft email folder. It feels really cathartic and cleansing to be able to tell him all the things I feel about our split and about him, and yet for him not to know or respond. While we were together I used to tell him about how I felt and he used to not properly listen/ change the subject/ totally forget what I had said a few minutes later and so this way works even better as it means there is now no reason for me to get cross with him for having failed to listen to me.
I used to think that men in real life were not a patch on men in books and while this remains largely true I must add the caveat that men in books also fall short of the ideal. I know think that ideal men are probably best illustrated by film rather than fiction. Mr Darcy in ‘Pride and Prejudice’ was a cold fish who was very rude to Lizzie Bennet and his only redeeming feature was his wealth, Anna Karrenina and Madame Bovary had a rotten time with men, Rhett Butler only amused himself with Scarlett O’Hara and then left her for merely being the same person she was all along and I can’t think of a single book in which the man both beautifully professes his love and then manages to live up to it afterwards. 
My ex and I have been split for slightly over two months now, two very long months in which I have not had nearly enough to occupy my time and so I have brooded rather while he has made himself very busy indeed and underwent no period of mourning where you don’t stir out of pjs all day and eat way too much while watching a lot of Murder She Wrote… We met up a couple of weeks ago to exchange our things which I found weird but he seemed to like. He wanted to see me again, in fact was most eager to do so and on Monday we did. We not only had lunch together but then met again in the evening for dinner and drinks. I am not being vain, I truly am not when I say that he wants to get back together. From some of the things he said, the way he tried to hold my hand several times etc. He does. And yet he doesn’t. He is not the kind to make any great romantic running after me, he is the type to sit back and see me lots of times and just wait for something to happen without planning anything romantic and without even thinking to himself that he should dress up, take me somewhere special and say wonderful things before kissing me. He will have no plan because that was the way it was when we got together in the beginning, he just kept asking me out and eventually things progressed.
I don’t want to sound bitter, I am not. In fact I was the one who split up with him. I am only confused and unsure of what I want. He is lovely and although there were other things behind the breakup the catalyst was definitely his pulling out of our plans to live together. That is what makes it so confusing: I split up with him because I loved him enough to live together but because he didn’t and I felt a great need to protect myself by not staying with someone who didn’t love me as much as I loved them.
What makes it all more confusing is that I can’t think of a single book where there is the same dilema! Even the torrid romantic life of Natasha in ‘War and Peace’ did not encounter this problem. On a side note I was frightfully disappointed by the way she ended up. She was stunningly beautiful and charming and catnip to men and yet she ended up with the most boring chap in the whole book and turned out frumpy, fat and a complete housewife. I was horrified! I saw the opera of the same book last year and thought it rather marvelous although in it for some ridiculous reason they missed the whole ending and Natasha actually didn’t end up with the bore which I found rather amusing!

Monday, 23 August 2010

Pullman and Mitford.

I am currently nursing a broken heart and waiting not so very patiently for the next university term to begin so I have turned to blogging with some vague idea it will make the time pass faster. Reading books is my now my one great love. My other used to be my boyfriend but sadly that is no longer the case so love can now be devoted solely to the wonderful world of fiction.
Feeling that there is nothing quite so good for cheering one up as new books I spent a wonderful hour in Blackwells last week. My purchases were the new Philip Pullman ‘The Good Man Jesus and the Scoundrel Christ’ and Emile Zola’s ‘Therese Raquin’. I have always adored Pullman right back to my childhood days when I read the entire ‘Ruby in the Smoke’ series and ‘His Dark Materials’ I consider to be a modern masterpiece. Though I must admit to being a lot less keen on the third book in the trilogy for reasons I have never quite decided upon but suspect it has something to do with Lyra not being the total focus as the first book where she is the main character I find most compelling. I also disliked the way in which she allowed Will to take over so easily and felt it was a subtle implication that while a strong woman is good up to a point as soon as a strong man appears she gives up her power unto him, rather like the old fashioned view of marriage. Zola I only very recently discovered and this is my first book by him. By all accounts it should be very good and it is jolly exciting to go to the classics section in a bookshop and actually find there books I have not either read or dismissed! I reckon I have read or dismissed about 70-80% of all books in any good bookshop’s classic section (the emphasis being on read I might add, perhaps I have now read about 60% of them). While commendable this is not entirely down to my devouring good literature but also to the bookshops in question filling at least one shelf with different versions of Jane Austen’s books and another with the complete works of Charles Dickens who though terrific is not a terribly enjoying author to read.
Just finished ‘Highland Fling’ by Nancy Mitford who is a huge favourite of mine. I have had it on pre-order for Amazon for months as though it was originally published in 1931 it fell out of print and copies were impossible to get hold of until this new re-run. Earlier in the year they also republished ‘Wigs on the Green’ which was smashing and roaringly funny. ‘Highland Fling’ was rather fun but although very much Nancy it lacked the spirit of even her next book ‘Christmas Pudding’ which was only published a year later. The fling was her very first book and it is worth reading but mostly for Mitford fans like myself and I fear it might put others off reading more of her work were they to start with this one. I did adore its highland setting as I myself an Scottish, and the marriage of Walter and Sally (which also pops up in ‘Christmas Pudding’) was beautifully painted, but I did feel the love story of Jane and Albert didn’t ring true. I have now read all of Nancy’s fiction bar ‘Pigeon Pie’ which seems to be the only one failing to get republished but I have ordered over Amazon Marketplace and am very much looking forward to it. Her best books without a doubt are ‘Love in a Cold Climate’ and ‘In Pursuit of Love’ which I have reread more times than I would care to admit and like my Adrian Mole books and ‘Diary of a Provincial Lady’ are my constant standby choices.