Saturday, March 26, 2011

Today's Top Tip

The Spoken Word: British Writers, 3-CD Set, The British Library

I know to a lot of people, including some of my near relations, including my offspring, listening to old recordings of famous writers is an activity with all the appeal of, say, sitting bare-bottomed or a block of ice, or having a series of inoculations. Of course, those people are just flat wrong, but what are you going to do? Just play the CDs loud and never mind about the people screeching from the back seat as though they were being stabbed.

I took this British Writers set out of the library last week and have not quite worked my way through the first of the three CDs. I had a chance to listen in peace this afternoon to Somerset Maugham, in his old age, summing up his career, his plans for the future, some general thoughts about his times and times to come and it was so beautifully wrought - and spoken with equal grace -that I wanted to weep. (You know me). I came to the internet tonight to see if the speech had been transcribed, but I couldn't find it for you so all I can do is steer you to the CD. You know you can trust me.

This set includes the only known recording of Virginia Woolf, and I am looking forward to that. Rudyard Kipling, poor, despised and left behind Rudyard Kipling, gives speech of perfect eloquence to the Canadian Royal Society for literature, albeit with references to the great racial history of Canada, "the English and the French who refuse to be de-civilized no matter the cost." (I heard a dramatic reading "The Ballad of East and West" on my satellite radio recently and I thought it was great).

I am so glad I have two CDs left to hear. It's like having money in the bank. If only I had a little more alone-time in the van... I thought you all might like it too.


R. Sherman said...

Thanks for the recommendation. This sounds right up my alley. (Some years ago, I heard a lecture by C.S. Lewis which was broadcast on a local Lutheran Church Missouri Synod Station. Really great stuff about The Abolition Of Man.


P.S. More Arkansas mountain photos next week.

Lulu LaBonne said...

Sounds right up my alley, soul-soothing stuff xx

KSV Woolfoot said...

R - I am going to look for that. And yet another Missouri surprise - Lutheran radio. Can you pick the station up in Arkansas?

Lulu - I think you would love it. I just got to listen to Alistair Cook interviewing PG Wodehouse.

Nan said...

I have heard the VW. But Kipling, oh Kipling. I may be wrong but I think that the tide is turning back to him. I have a biography (which I haven't read yet). I still think If is one of the best lessons for living, ever.

Now, the real reason I'm writing is that I'm reading this book right now that I'm quite, quite sure you would love (is that too mushy?). It is by Amy Krouse Rosenthal, a 2004 book called Encyclopedia of an Ordinary Life. Her sense of humor, for lack of a better phrase reminds me of both you and me. The book is utterly original, funny, witty, and real.

Nan said...

It is me, (I) again. I'm still reading the book I mentioned because my Kindle book mystery was so good I brought the K. downstairs to keep reading it. Unheard of. Which is neither here nor there, but I had to tell you there is a quote from Amy's son which reminds me of your boy: "Justin came home from school with the announcement that he had just learned what even and odd numbers were. Okay, I said. So tell me: What's infinity, even or odd? I certainly didn't have an answer in mind; I posed it only as a fun, unanswerable kind of question. He thought about it for a moment, then concluded: Mom, infinity is an 8 on its side, so it is an even number"