Sunday, 31 August 2008

View from the Sickbed


IF I LOOK towards my knees right now, this is what I can see: A cosy blanket, a kindly cat, and a very big book. Excellent things for colds. I have just returned from a secret surprise mission to London to visit my parents and have returned with leaden sinuses, croaking throat and drooping eyelids. I am quite annoyed as it is the first cold I've had for two whole years.
Still, I am greatly embroiled in the book which is the quite excellent 800 pages of Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke. It is an incredible work which entwines scholarly fantasy and 19th century eccentricity beautifully, and can't really be compared to anything else. Susanna Clarke has imagined a whole magical history which is detailed in extraordinary footnotes that encompass humourous and strange tales and references. Since I am only on page 369, I am deliciously savouring the remaining chunk of pages in which I am sure there will be journeyings into the Other Lands, sad love stories and much more mastery of words. I find I am quite compelled to stay in this world.. which is a perfect place for wandering with a snotty nose, woolly ears and a bunged up head.
I leave you with some fine things others have had to say about this book, and hop over here if you'd like to learn more.

"It is a book for a favourite armchair, for readers in patched cardigans, with log fires and buttered muffins."

"It's funny, moving, scary, otherworldly, practical and magical, a journey through light and shadow... as tangled and twisting as old London streets or dark English woods."

"the book darkens as rapidly as the sky on a wintry English day, becoming an increasingly bleak meditation on professional envy, betrayal, revenge, madness and despair."

"A triumph of traditional imaginative storytelling, this is an energetic, engaging and inventive tale that simply kidnaps the lucky reader to participate in a rare experience."

"Many books are to be read, some are to be studied, and a few are meant to be lived in for weeks. Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is of this last kind ..."

36 comments:

Texas Travelers said...

Sorry you are not feeling well. Drink lots of hot lemonade and rest.

After your description, I will have to get this book and live in it for a while.


I enjoyed my visit.

If you are keeping track,
Alaska Sunday is posted.
It's the trip log with some new photos.
To see the post, Click here.
Troy and Martha

Artwork by Christi Bunn said...

I can see that I must check to find out if my library has a copy so that I can give it a read. It sounds as if I may eventually want to purchase one, if it's as wonderful as the reviews. I really hope you feel better very, very soon; those nasty colds can be so annoying! I feel like I am entering an enchanting world when I visit your site, so I am always tickled when I see your blog has updated.

Be blessed and stay warm,
Christi

panther said...

Get well soon, Rima, watched over by Tui and the kindly cat.

You have persuaded me I really must read JONATHAN STRANGE, etc. This autumn/winter I'm also intending to read the GORMENGHAST TRILOGY.It's going to be wonderful.

Ciara said...

Ah you poor thing, what rotten luck. Despite our wet summer we've all escaped catching cold thankfully (touch wood!).
I was wondering what our next coincidence would be! Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrel is on my bedside table as we speak. I'm on p.198 and loving it, tho I admit to being momentarily distracted by A Room With A View as a result of listening to too much Maria Callas! (Puccini, the Merchant/Ivory film etc). I read it about once a year and couldn't wait until finished JS and Mr.N.
Hope you're feeling better soon, dear one.
C x

Eric Orchard said...

I love this book! Quite visually rich, too.

Eric Orchard said...

Whoops! And feel better, Rima...LOL.

anthromama said...

Quite possibly my favorite novel ever! I'm sure you will love it.

Hope you feel better soon. My kids have a terrible cough right now, so it's hot lemonade time around here too.

I did my post on your work yesterday; hope you like it.

willow said...

Sounds like a great book, Rima. Take it easy and feel better soon, dear bloggy friend! :)

d. moll, l.ac. said...

If it is any consolation the Ancient Greeks thought of colds as a cleansing of the system. Indeed a study shows that women who have a cold a year show a reduced occurance of breast cancer. It's good to see that you are resting, lots of warm drinks. Hope you feel better soon. Book looks great, I'll look for it here.

The Dutchess said...

That sounds like a book for me....Hope you will be feeling better soon..take care!And lots of reading fun..

back to the castle said...

It is indeed a fab read, coincidentally she has written one other that I know of called the ladies of grace adieu, my friend Suzi was kind enough to lent it to me & the cover is lovely (made out of material in a greyish hue with pink flowers on it, well worth a look). Apprently the cure for almost all thinks is a spponful of honey and pure lemon juice (no water, bracing I would imagine). I haven;t felt brave enough to try it yet but should it come to it you have the option.

Love to all

Vikki

miss rika said...

One of my favourite books by a living author! I am quite entranced by this one and recommend it to everybody. It rereads well, too!

I hope you feel better soon. London is sometimes difficult to recover from.

Hot tea, the company of cats and characters, and warm blankets: these are the cures to many ills.

rochambeau said...

Hope you feel better Rima soon!! In the meantime, I'm sure furry nurse is taking good care of you!
Happy you have a good book!
Mostly that you were able to see your family.

xox
Constance

Enelya said...

Ah poor you! Colds are horrible :(, honey and lemon are definately the way to go but they really do taste vile, I'd have a chunk of chocolate on hand to get rid of the taste :P

Hope you feel better soon and enjoy reading the rest of that book, sounds fascinating :).

Enelya +++

(Aww, what a cute cat :), I have 2 cats, 1 very old and 1 very young)

Shelley Noble said...

That's one of the world's best views possible I think. Is there much better than a cuddling cat and a great book under warm blanket? Except for the feeling poorly bit.

Get well soon, Rima!

Jess said...

Hi Rima,
Sorry to arrive back in Blogland to find you full of cold! I hope you emerge from your Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell world energised and renewed! Jess x

mariel said...

Hi Rima, I really enjoy reading your blog and love your art.

Jonathan Strange is one of my favourite books, and I'm currently reading The Ladies of Grace Adieu, short stories set in the same world.

And what a beautiful furry companion! I hope he helps you feel better.

Vita said...

first of all--get better!
second --great photo:) a very comfy stilllife to be sick in,
third--honey, lemons,rasberry jam, garlic and the such like should also be in the picture:)

Yoli said...

Oh my sweet Rima! I hope you feel better soon. It is horrible to sufer through a cold. I had three last year. Keep warm with that deliciously fluffy cat and your wonderful book. I have to buy a copy now.

acornmoon said...

Get well soon Rima. I have heard that the weather outlook for the next few months is favourable so maybe you will have pleasant wonderings in the van? Let us hope so.

laughingwolf said...

sorry you're ill, rima... prayers for a speedy recovery

thx for the book info, i'll have to buy it asap....

Ellen-Mary said...

Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell are good company anytime especially when your are sick. It is one of my all time favorite books. I enjoyed it so much I gave copies to my father and sister for Christmas.

I don't know how easy it is to get salsa in Scotland but it is wonderful at opening up a leaden nose; the spicier the better.

I hope you feel better soon.

mama p said...

I hate to say this, but I'm actually feeling a bit nostalgic for a cold...and a kitty, and a fluffy blanket, and this amazing book :) It's more fun than packing up my house for the big move, anyhow! Get well soon Rima :)

PG said...

I cannot imagine a better book for getting through a cold with. I have a rare proof copy of this, as I had to review it for a book magazine a few years ago before it hit the bookshops. I only had about 200 words to review it with...
They tried to wangle the copy back off me when they saw proofs were going for upwards of 100 quid on ebay, but I was having none of it! I found it a bit long winded myself, with all the detail, but that's just me. :)

Carolee said...

I read this book last winter and loved it - beautifully and magically written, really transports you to another world - just the thing to read while you're under the weather.

Sending wishes for a speedy recovery. :)

~ Carolee

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Oh, I am sorry you feel bad, but I am so envious of you reading Jonathan Strange for the first time. It is one of my absolute favorite books! I loved entering that marvelous world each time I opened that book! That "man with thistle down hair" is one dreadful fellow.

Feel better!!

Robyn said...

Hot lemon, honey and ginger...and a good book. Get well soon.

Vickie said...

So sorry to hear you're under the weather! The cozy blanket,kind cat, and wonderful book do make good sickbed companions though. I think I'll have to check out that book. It looks like something that would hold my attention quite well.

tut-tut said...

some of us are going through what you have here. But we have a copy of that, and we haven't read it yet . . .

Gwen Buchanan said...

I hope you are feeling better now, Rima... always good to snuggle down with a good book and a cat any ol time though!!!

I am treasuring your postcard pictures just below.. !!

Bimbimbie said...

Enjoy your down time ... sometimes everyone needs to enjoy a warm blanket with a cat and a thick book ..
I should say get well soon only that book sounds so interesting, I'd try and linger a little longer if I were you*!*

Russet said...

Love you blog. come away truly inspired

herhimnbryn said...

Rest, heal, rest and drink lots of fluids.

Crafty Green Poet said...

A good book and an adorable cat always help me feel better too! I really enjoyed that book too!

Carl V. said...

I echo the sentiments in hoping that you are better soon. If you haven't read it, I also recommend Clarke's short story collection, The Ladies of Grace Adieu. It is magical to read and is accented by wonderful Charles Vess illustrations. Definitely worth reading, and re-reading.

Griffin said...

Dratted cold! Still you do have a fluffy cat to keep you warm and that book is fab. She has also written the Ladies of Grace Dieu which is also pretty good and just as fantastic.

Death to the cold virus!