My new year treat has been to ignore all comments about atheism on the Guardian site. 320 at last count. Instead, I went for a long walk and caught up with the LRB and TLS. The personals in the LRB are wonderfully back on form. “I found yours”, my wife said, passing over the one that said “Everyone. My life is a mind-numbing cesspit of despair and self-loathing. Just fuck off. Or else write back and we’ll make love. Gentleman, 37.”
Doesn’t everyone lie about their age?
But there were many other winners this week,and the most encouraging thing was that so many were short, including “I make my own sexual lubricant. The secret ingredient is Bovril. Man, 56. Congleton.” Is this down to the influence of twitter, of the credit crunch, or is it the beginning of a new literary movement?
Over at the TLS there is an interesting and moving piece about Mary Woolstonecraft’s suicide attempt and a really interesting-looking book of ghost stories but the moment that snapped my neck around came at the end of a long piece on Milton when I was assured that one essay was worth the price of a whole anthology. Uh, OK: 288 pages, binding unspecified but probably hardback – £50. By some measure that qualifies as the most enthusiastic review I have ever read.
Happy New Year to all of you. And I know I owe Mrs T a piece about Franco.