Saturday, December 10, 2016

Strange Times

On the way down to Devon I bought a copy of the Times Literary Supplement when we stopped off at one of the services between Birmingham and Bristol. In previous visits to the UK I've generally purchased magazines and newspapers quite freely and, as a result, found myself with too much to read. This time round I brought with me on the trip the recent copy of The New York Review of Books I picked up in Holland Village and only half read, and an untouched issue of Philosophy Now, with the idea that I'd only start buying new stuff when I'd got one of these out of the way. (Buying The Big Issue I count as a necessary exception.) Since I completed the NYRB issue the other day I now feel free to get hold of some new stuff. Mind you I'm still a bit wary of buying one of the thick Sunday newspapers here with all the various enticing supplements. Much as I've enjoyed these in the past they take quite a bit of reading, leaving little time for actual books. (I'm moving on in Daniel Deronda at the moment, but progress is slow what with having so much to do over here.) Indeed, it took me a couple of days to do justice to a unexceptional mid-week copy of The Guardian such is the depth of coverage provided by the quality papers.

Finishing the issue of the NYRB proved to be quite a melancholy experience, by the way. It was the 'Election Issue', printed before the results of the presidential election became a surreal, bitter reality. It featured a number of commentaries by the great and good and sensible, only one or two of whom took at all seriously the possibility of the result which we actually got. That result is dominating the news here, along with the bewildering puzzle of how the equally irrational Brexit is to be achieved. Strange times.

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