Speaking of escaping into books during a time of fuckery: the bookshop across from my favourite grocery store where I picked up Decline and Fall as soon as finishing Brideshead Revisited is fucking ace. This weekend I got quite a haul besides the Waugh:
Goodbye to All That - sqeeeeeee! Robert Graves is awesome on a stick. No wonder Ava Gardner hit that when it was already old enough to break. And there's so much more of him to read as I've only had the awesomeness of I, Claudius/Claudius the God and his Greek Myths. Both are really really worth reading no matter what sort of relationship you think you have with classical studies, and the Greek Myths is earth-shaking, as far as I'm concerned anyways. Each chapter tells the myth in a way directly drawn and referenced from a range of source texts, and, following the references, gets re-interpreted Gravesianly - through the lense of murderous fertility cults, matriarchies, and hallucinogenic mushrooms. And he is just the silkiest, friendliest writer - a real sort of formality to his phrasing which is nonetheless inviting, engaging - a nice big wingback easy chair; imposing, but upholstered with comfy velvet instead of patrician oxblood leather.
Mummy won it as a school prize some decades ago and it was sitting on my grandparent's bookshelves when I was a bored 13-year-old; one thing led to another, and, well, I don't think there's a single work that's had more of an influence on my symbolic or metaphorical thinking than that one, for better or worse. I didn't buy into it but I swallowed it whole, if you can see the difference. Part of my brain forever.
Grapes of Wrath - for the F-word. He hasn't read it yet. Enough said.
Far From the Madding Crowd - someone told me that this was the least depressing of Thomas Hardy's books and that it was even more or less funny. Well, I'll believe it when I read it. Personally I didn't think the Mayor of Casterbridge was depressing, I thought it was just awesome. Okay, the will at the end from the guy as read by his !!!SPOILER ALERT!!!! pseudo-daughter was tragic - it was a tragic book - but depressing? Anyways. I'm nonetheless curious about Far From the Madding Crowd. And I'm running out of Hardys that I'm willing to read. Tess of the D'Ubervilles - I gave up on that one halfway when I fully realized what a downer that was going to be - and Jude the Obscure - uhm, no. I've heard too much about it.
Murder on the Orient Express - it's a Poirot novel so I was hoping it'd help with my perceptions of Belgian retardation. It didn't. But I enjoy the language - already archaic - it happens so fast! Pukka sahib indeed.