04 May 2007

Tagged for a Meme

Mac, over here, tagged me for a meme: what books are you reading at the moment?

You and the other reader will have realised that this is a house of books. There are more books than I can count. I have never got rid of a book because each book is a bookmark in my memory. I am dyspraxic, and have an extra-developed sense of memory to compensate for an inability to organise and plan.

I always have at least four books on the go: one for the bus, one for picking up and putting down, and two for when I read before I go to sleep according to the mood in which I go to bed. At the moment there are two for the bus.

I live in a parish where the dismemberment of anything which might remind anybody of what the Mass should look and feel like, in a way that might be familiar to anybody who lived from the third century up to about 1970, is underway. I retain a bewildered loyalty to the idea that my Bishop is in communion with Rome and that sooner or later he will right the wrongs that are occuring. I escape from what is going on by reading a 21st Century edition of Fortescue's "Ceremonies of the Roman Rite Described", updated with all that is necessary. I try to remember a time when every action, every word, of the priest was so circumscribed by the rubrics that he could not say or do anything which would not make the Mass a blessed and holy ceremony, replete in every gesture with meaning.

"Pies and Prejudice: In Search of the North" by Stuart Maconie was a present. Everybody sniggers when I tell them that I have (had) never heard of somebody I understand to be a well known radio presenter. All I can say is that I have never heard him on Radio 3. A chap from Wigan, living in London, who realises one day when he is looking for sun-dried tomatoes for brunch, that he has become detached from his roots goes back to find out what the north is like. I left Manchester for ever many years ago, and apart from visits to family, never go back. But Manchester has not left me, and this book is convincing me that it never will.

Volume 5 of the History of British Intelligence in World War II is by Michael Howard and is all about Strategic Deception. One of the great stories of WWII is the way that the intelligence services managed to convinve the Nazis that their agents in the UK were working for Germany, when in fact every single one was working for the UK. Prof Howard's history is a masterpiece: scholarly and erudite, yet still a page turner. I have a theory that my generation - the generation of children whose parents fought in WWII - is as affected by the war as its parents' generation. If anyone is still reading and is interested, I am happy to expatiate further.


Finally, "Brewer's Rogues, Villains and Eccentrics". This is an entriguingly interesting Encyclopaedia of everybody who has gone to the bad in an entertaining sort of way in the UK in the last three hundred years or so. If you are the sort of person in whom George Orwell's essay on "The Decline of the English Murder" resonates, then this is the book for you. The Murder might have declined, as have no end of other sorts of crimes, but our tradition is proud, and even in our days, men and women are doing the sort of bizarre things that their forefathers did. This is the "dip into" book: there is nothing as satisfying as a brief entry on a mass murderer when you are trying to do the cooking.

3 comments:

Mac McLernon said...

Excellent... I might even buy the one on Mass Murderers...

Ttony said...

If you look it up on amazon.co.uk, you can read the first few pages for free!

Anonymous said...

I am reading "How the Catholic Church built Western Civilization" by Thomas E. Woods.
I am finding it fascinating.
JARay