Natalie’s reading: April, 2017


I am about to do a full immersion into Tana French, but I’ve been reading other things lately:  in no particular order:

Biographies of Prince Charles and Joan Crawford.   I have a strong loyalty to the Royal Family and to old Hollywood when things were black and white and smokey.  The recent series FEUD, depicting Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, reawakened my interest in them.   They were  “writers” too:  I remember devouring “My Way of Life” and  “The Lonely Life” when I was in my early 20s.


_Esther Waters_ by George Moore.  It’s an 1890s novel about a servant girl who gets “in trouble”  Moore is very sympathetic to Esther’s plight.


Some books on birds, flowers, and I am sampling books about natural history.


Leave a comment if you do not want to start a new entry on what you’ve been reading!


See you next week!




Happy Birthday to Henry James!



1. “Deep experience is never peaceful.” (Madame de Mauves, 1874)

2. “True happiness, we are told, consists in getting out of one’s self; but the point is not only to get out — you must stay out; and to stay out you must have some absorbing errand.” (Roderick Hudson, 1875)

3. “Three things in human life are important. The first is to be kind. The second is to be kind. And the third is to be kind.” (Qtd Leon Edel, Henry James: A Life, 1972)

4. “Don’t mind anything anyone tells you about anyone else. Judge everyone and everything for yourself.” (The Portrait of a Lady, 1881)

5. “To take what there is, and use it, without waiting forever in vain for the preconceived — to dig deep into the actual and get something out of that — this doubtless is the right way to live.” (Notebook entry, 1889)

6. “However incumbent it may be on most of us to do our duty, there is, in spite of a thousand narrow dogmatisms, nothing in the world that anyone is under the least obligation to like — not even (one braces one’s self to risk the declaration) a particular kind of writing.” (Flaubert, 1893)

7. “Live all you can — it’s a mistake not to. It doesn’t so much matter what you do in particular, so long as you have your life. If you haven’t had that, what have you had?…Live!” (The Ambassadors, 1903)

8. “It takes a great deal of history to produce a little literature.” (Hawthorne, 1879)

9. “Experience is never limited, and it is never complete; it is an immense sensibility, a kind of huge spider-web, of the finest silken threads, suspended in the chamber of consciousness and catching every air-borne particle in its tissue.” (The Art of Fiction, 1884)

10. “Life being all inclusion and confusion, and art being all discrimination and selection, the latter, in search of the hard latent value with which it alone is concerned, sniffs round the mass as instinctively and unerringly as a dog suspicious of some buried bone.” (The Spoils of Poynton, 1897)

Today I remember a delightful conversation I had with Judi Christopher about Henry James.  Her perceptions were bright and brilliant and her enthusiasm was deep and insightful.  She liked Henry James a lot, so today I salute her and her memory.  It’s hard to believe that she’s been gone almost 6 years.

Hello, Eclectic Readers

After tonight’s book club meeting I thought it might be fun to have an absolutely voluntary group-blog to which any of us can contribute.  We can add photos.  This might be a good place to share book reviews, photos, deep thoughts, elegies,  affirmations, journal entries asking for feedback, general questions.   After we set it up so that any members who wish to belong are added as “authors” of the blog, then we can make it private so that the nobody can hunt us down.


We can add additional thoughts about books we have read.  We can stay in touch with members who have gone on holiday or moved.  What do you think?


Natalie Tyler

Last night’s meeting was scrumptious


I want to thank Joanna for her splendid hostessing.   What wonderful food!  Did you know that she made her red pepper hummous by hand?  I am not an adventurous cook, so I imagine Joanna somehow transported to a middle-eastern desert pounding chick-peas on an old-fashioned washing board and plucking red peppers … from where?  The sky?  A tree?  A pepper patch?   I’ve only plucked mine from the shelves of grocery stores.  It was delicious, classy, and everything else was likewise superb.

I also want to thank Vicki for the ride.   I am dependent on getting rides after dark.  I decided to sign up for Uber and Lyft and have tried both:  they work very nicely and therefore I don’t want anyone to thank of me as the person who must be driven.

It was great to see everyone.  I thank Anne for leading a provocative discussion and Betty M. for her added material:  an art book about gardens from an exhibition in Clevelend.

Right now I am listening to Trombone Concerto opus 81 by Gunnar de Frumerie, a 20th century Swedish composer.  It’s very melodic.  It’s part of a self-improvement program in which I am listening to the top 50 Woodwind and Brass Concerti (as determined by a panel of classical music specialists).   I think I started my first self-improvement program when I was about 4.  I don’t know if I’ve successfully followed through on any of them.

What’s everyone reading?  I just started the most recent Booker Award winner, The Sellout by an American, Paul Beatty.   It might be a bit too rambunctious in its wit for me.  Here are a couple of excerpts, chosen by opening the book at random:

“I suppose that’s exactly the problem–I wasn’t raised to know any better.  My father was (Carl Jung, rest his soul) a social scientist of some renown.  As the founder and, to my knowledge, sole practitioner of the field of Liberation Psychology, he liked to walk around the house, aka “the Skinner box,” in a laboratory coat.”


“Always fast on his feet, Foy countered my insolence and Oreos with a bag of gourmet cannoli.  We were both too good to eat the crap Dum-um Donuts served up.”

“Insolence and Oreos”–that sounds like a rhetorical figure that Vicki might come up with.

Once again, thank you to everyone for last night’s meeting.


Today in literature:  it’s the anniversary of a couple of deaths:

1964—Rachel Carson, author of The Sea Around Us and Silent Spring, 56, in Silver Spring, Maryland
1986—Simone de Beauvoir, author of The Second Sex and The Mandarins, 78, in Paris
“Love is never completely directed at you,”  Henri thought.  “Friendship is as precarious as life.  But hate never misses its mark, and it’s as certain as death.”
                                                                        —Simone de Beauvoir, The Mandarins