currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “All Creatures Great and Small”

“All young animals are appealing, but the lamb has been given an unfair share of charm.”
– James Herriot, “All Creatures Great and Small”

that line. Not only is there the absolute ring of truth {lambs do possess a great deal of charm}, but “an unfair share of charm” is one of those phrases that trips merrily off the tongue. Say it. “unfair share of charm.” The more it is said, the more charming the phrase becomes. Rhyming helps, of course, but that phrase is one that either came to the writer’s mind in a quiet flash of truth or required a great deal of thought. I’m thinking it was the former.

currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.”

“With an unprecedented degree of leisure time, and more media access than ever before, the fifties woman was the single most vulnerable woman in American history to the grasp of prefab wholesale thought, and by extension, to the men who made it.”
– Sam Wasson, “Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.”

In a fascinating study of how the movie “Breakfast at Tiffany’s” and, by extension, Audrey Hepburn changed the face of multifaceted women in film, Sam Wasson lays out the history of the short novel by Truman Capote and the backgrounds of the men who were up against the Code and each other to make a smart, funny, truthful film about people who have sex, as people do.

By taking the reader through the back story of Hepburn’s career and how the American public had {have} been forced to view life through the camera lenses of Hollywood, Wasson provides some insight that still resonates today on how people in general and women in particular are often at the mercy of the men who decide what we watch.

The quoted line could just as easily include today’s women, though I’d suggest we, perhaps, have less leisure time and at the very least more methods of media consumption, though whether our choices aren’t as neatly made by prefab wholesale though is up for debate..

currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “Riding the Rap”

“Raylan…did something every lawman knew guaranteed attention and respect. He racked the pump on the shotgun, back and forward, and that hard metallic sound, better than blowing a whistle, brought the two guys around to see they were out of business.”
– Elmore Leonard, “Riding the Rap”

Leonard knew just how to set the tone for a story and to explain the actions and motivations of a character in the quickest of ways. I think I”ll go want the pilot episode of Justified {the FX series based on a short story Leonard wrote about Raylan Givens, which incorporated parts of the story of “Riding the Rap” in the third episode of the first season} now.

currently reading, musings on art, quotes

currently reading: “The Jungle Book”

“Now, Tabaqui knew as well as anyone else that there is nothing so unlucky as to compliment children to their faces.”
– Rudyard Kipling, “The Jungle Book”

Somehow, this is the first time I am reading “The Jungle Book.” That quote jumped out from the second page, highlighting the differences in parenting from the 1890s, when it was written and published, to now when every child is a special unique snowflake. Perhaps English children are still protected from excessive compliments, but I doubt it.

Books written years and centuries ago are such wonderful repositories for the common thought of the time, especially ones such as this that were written to teach children lessons. Even this lesson is multi-layered: it reinforces common thought that too many compliments will lead to inflated self-esteem, but it also reminds the children listening or reading that they may be receiving compliments, even when they never hear them, and to not give up hope.



“there was a consequential good taste in the plainness of her clothes, the blues and grays and lack of luster that made her, herself, shine so.”
– “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” Truman Capote

The most chic of women so rarely call extraneous attention to themselves by overdoing things. Instead, the silent siren of good fit and lasting quality calls our attention to their own beauty instead of the distraction of clothes.



“Reading alters the appearance of a book. Once it has been read, it never looks the same again, and people leave their individual imprint on a book they have read.”
– “The Old Patagonian Express,” Paul Theroux

Well-worn books have their own catalog of memories, little hints left of those who have read them and those moments the book has shared with a reader. &, of course, that delicious smell. Used books are nearly always superior to brand-new ones.