I had a bit of a wobble about moving “Talk about books” from Substack when I realized that each current subscriber will be asked to confirm — an opportunity to lapse — when I add their email address in Micro.blog. But I don’t want to retain inactive subscribers through inertia

I just finished reading The Buried Giant. I enjoyed it better than anything else I’ve read by Ishiguro, including Never Let Me Go. (I haven’t read Klara yet.) I’ll try to write something explaining my reaction but it might take me some time to do so 📚

I really don’t want to learn Hugo. I’ve been trying to create an archive page, based on the category “newsletter” (which will automatically be assigned to posts with titles), but it requires a knowledge of Hugo page templates. For now, I’ve made a “hard-wired” page. Hang on …

I’ve upgraded to a premium subscription on Micro.blog and, all going well, I’m going to move Talk about books over from Substack. I’ve a few things to work out, like what to do with the existing archive, but I hope to have it all set up in time for the next issue on 22 December.

The latest issue of my Talk about books newsletter is about Andrew Marvell’s poem, “A Dialogue between the Soul and Body”. The previous issue discussed 9 crime novels (out of a series of 11). This one discusses a 44-line, 17th century lyric poem.

The previous post was kind of a test. I wanted to see what would happen if I used <cite> tags in a post. They had no effect in the timeline but the book title was italicized here. That’s good — another reason to switch Talk about books from Substack.

Last week I began to reread Milton’s God. I haven’t made quick progress: Empson’s argument is dense and typically idiosyncratic, but I’ll keep at it. I thought I was going to use his passage on Milton’s Mortalism in this issue of my newsletter, but didn’t need it in the end 📖

This is what I was eating yesterday evening as the storm raged outside: canard à l’orage

I’m listening to Esbjörn Svensson Trio Live in Hamburg (2007) for the first time in at least a couple of years, maybe much longer. I had persuaded myself that I prefer the studio recordings of these particular songs, but it ain’t so 🎹 🎶

I’m supposed to be writing my newsletter today, so I’ve tinkered with the Hugo theme of my Micro.blog to add a link to my Bookshelves page just below the navigation and make the theme credit in the footer a bit more accurate. I have good excuses for this procrastination.

John Naughton, who owns a Tesla, characterizes Elon Musk as “three-parts genius and one part fruitcake”. A bit like Dryden’s “to madness near allied”, I suppose.

To prove I can be ruthless, these are the only editions of Marvell’s poetry that I’m keeping. To be honest, I’m not sure I need both first (hardback, 2003) and revised (paperback, 2007) editions of Nigel Smith’s The Poems of Andrew Marvell, but best to be on the safe side.

The overflow carpark is seriously overflowing this morning.

I’m not watching You Don’t Know Me on BBC1. The library has the ebook but it’s not available till March, so instead I’ve reserved Imran Mahmood’s next book, I Know What I Saw, which is available tomorrow (though I won’t have time to read it immediately) 📺

Ted Gioia writes that, when Czesław Miłosz wasn’t allowed back into the US, his wife Janka Miłosz

… angrily confronted a bureaucrat at the State Department, shouting in his face: “You’ll regret it, because he is going to win the Nobel Prize.”

How did she know?

Chris Noth on The Good Wife’s Peter Florrick:

“I don’t feel any connection to [it]. It’s odd, because I know it was well received. I have an emotional void about that part, I don’t know why”

The episodes in which Florrick featured prominently were never among my favourites 📺

The inclusion of Danielle McLaughlin’s novel, The Art of Falling, in John Self’s pick of the year’s fiction in The Critic, reminds me that I’ve been meaning to read more of her short stories, having loved the few I’ve found in collections or online 📖

It wasn’t until I’d read more than half of the series that I began to see the pattern: he gradually but perceptibly becomes less conscientious and less law abiding from book to book, at least for the first eight novels.

My newsletter issue about Michael Dibdin’s Aurelio Zen 📖

I found the pdf copy of my 2016 piece in Essays in Criticism, “Andrew Marvell’s Gender”. I still had the proof (also pdf) but I’d given up hope of finding the final version (and haven’t institutional access). Of course, I’d renamed the file to make it easier to recognize.

One reason I hate streaming and music download services is that the metadata is rarely clean. Seems the same may be true of some book data used by Bookshelves. “(James Marwood & Cat Lovett, Book 1)” shouldn’t be in the title field of The Ashes of London 📚

I’ve had another go at customizing a Hugo theme but, as before, I’m finding that I can do most of what I want simply by editing the CSS. I’m having problems with the alignment but I think I can sort it out. Got a bookshelf from @moondeer’s plugin but need to customize it.

That’s the 3rd day in a row I’ve had to reboot the MacBook Air to force it to sync with iCloud — and this time it didn’t even work. I seem to be permanently stalled at 93KB out of 93KB. What’s up, Apple?

A tweet with 1000 likes and 17 angry vicious replies will still look like a dumpster fire, even though almost everyone liked it!

In How to fix Twitter, Noah Smith advises Twitter to add Dislikes; but wouldn’t it be better to go back to the time before it had Likes?

So, here is the explanation I promised as to why Literal.club is not for me. I don’t need an alternative to Goodreads: I’m happier when I’m not keeping track of my reading.

The upshot is I’ve no longer had it with Apple and I’m no longer (particularly) glad that I resisted the temptation to get an M1 MacBook Air!