If you find yourself at loose ends this weekend, come in and read Christopher Hitchens’s review of the new Charles Dickens biography by Michael Slater, which may help you decide whether you want to take the 696 page doorstop home with you. The review is from the current Atlantic, which you can’t take home with you. (We don’t know whether we approve of the Forbesian Fiction supplement to the Atlantic. Those supplements clutter the hell out of the magazine desk. What’s wrong with a big fat single issue?) There’s a quote from a Dickens letter that’s worth the parking fee and a kiss blown to George Eliot that may divert you to the stacks for – say – Daniel Deronda, bypassing the whole Dickens business. (We have a really beautiful matched set of Eliot in the cage where we keep the increasingly dotty Ex. Dir. Those are the ones you want to borrow as they are just the exactly the right size.) But the Slater is here if you want it.
John Milton Cooper, Jr.’s Woodrow Wilson biography is also on the new shelf, and we are half tempted to keep it out of circulation for ourself to see if Cooper is willing to admit what a nasty piece of work TWW could be, but we won’t as we have a bed to move up two flights of stairs, a garage to re-order, and a sullen washing machine to slap into a better mood.
Although given the dropsy from which we are suffering, we may chuck the above chores and devote our energies to Mending Broken Hearts, Cincinnati cardiologist Donald Harrison’s memoir. We have met Dr. Harrison and would trust him with any of our valves and most of our chambers. V. pleasant chap.
We won’t be reading Elegy for April, the new Benjamin Black mystery because we read it last weekend and found it to be pretentious twaddle. We’re sorry to say that because we liked Christine Falls a lot and really really liked The Infinities (Black as Banville). If we were going to read fiction, we would probably read Lisa Grunwald’s The Irresistible Henry House which might expose us to taunts on the playground, but we’re old and we don’t care.