27 Ramadhan, 1439
Now reading Nathaniel Hawthorne's The House of the Seven Gables. Read The Scarlet Letter many years ago, at university I think, and didn't much enjoy it. Also read a number of the short stories over the years, with a bit more appreciation, but never quite seeing quite why Hawthorne seems to be so rated - or, at least, I assume he is - over the water at any rate. But at the halfway mark of Seven Gables I think I'm beginning to get some of his appeal. There are enough biting phrases and even memorable paragraphs to give the alert reader a sense of a keen and searching intelligence at work, even if that searching seems to take an unduly long time.
Loved this description of the restorative powers of a good cup of coffee, as it works on the generally dreary Clifford Pyncheon:
In a little while, the guest became sensible of the fragrance of the yet untasted coffee. He quaffed it eagerly. The subtle essence acted on him like a charmed draught, and caused the opaque substance of his animal being to grow transparent, or at least translucent; so that a spiritual gleam was transmitted through it, with a clearer luster than heretofore.
"More, more!" he cried, with nervous haste in his utterance, as if anxious to retain his grasp of what ought to escape him. "This is what I need! Give me more!"
I'll no doubt be repeating that final demand when quaffing a teh tarik after breaking fast this evening.