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2016

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Jan 2017

4th January

[T]ights donít bring me joy. But if I didnít have any, that would bring me a lot of un-joy. Indeed, if I chucked out everything but joy-generating clothing, I would be left with one cardigan and I would have to stay in.

Zoe Williams, Did Marie Kondo's Spark bring me Joy? (2016), The Guardian, 2 Jan 2017

11th January

[H]e did not hate people. He did not run after them - to that extent he was a solitary. But if they came his way and liked him and were the sort of people he liked being liked by he was gratified.

Sylvia Townsend Warner, TH White: A Biography (1967)

18th January

[I]t will we hope be clear that not by any stretch of the too willing imagination could it be said that Robin was in love with Anne. Had that glorious passion filled his heart, he would not for a moment have considered his future wifeís happiness or convenience, being fatuously convinced that with HIM her life would at once become a bower of roses.

Angela Thirkell, Peace Breaks Out (1946)

25th January

The naively cynical measure a piece of legislation, a victory, a milestone not against the past or the limits of the possible but against their ideas of perfection, and as this book reminds you, perfection is a yardstick by which everything falls short.... The deeply engaged well know that the particular bit of legislation under discussion isnít everything we hope for, doesnít get us all the way there, and also know that it can be a step forward from which further steps can and must be taken, and that change is often made incrementally, not by a great leap from evil to pure goodness.

Rebecca Solnit, Hope in the Dark: Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities. Third Edition, with a new foreword and afterword (2016)

Feb 2017

1st February

The humble omnibus. The humble omnibus may be thought by some readers too democratic a kind of conveyance to be considered in a book on Manners. Not at all! There are several reasons why it should have a place in such a volume.... A fine field for true courtesy.True courtesy, for instance, will prevent a man from infringing the rights of his neighbours on either side by occupying more than his own allotted space. The man who wants all the room. Very stout men are obliged to do so, but at least they need not spread out their knees in a way that is calculated to aggravate the evil. Nor need they arrange themselves in a comfortable oblique position, with the result of enhancing the inconvenience they must necessarily cause to those near them. Even a thin man can take up a quantity of room by thus disposing himself at an angle of forty-five with the other occupants of an omnibus.

Mrs CE Humphry ('Madge' of Truth), Manners for Men (1897)

8th February

Thereís so much pressure on women now to be sexy, to become educated, to have a fulfilling relationship. And - oh yes! - you also have to have children, and youíre supposed to be very happy when youíre doing all of this. Itís impossible. You donít have to do everything. Just do a little bit at a time.

Annette Benning, Interview, The Observer, 5 Feb 2017

15th February

[I]t was a hard lesson for a prince to learn. He was accustomed to command, and you cannot command yourself to know. Knowledge is granted; knowledge is gained; but it is not commanded.

Sarah Tolmie, The Stone Boatmen, (2014)

22nd February

Donít you see that the real truth about Truth is that he is not sober, but drunk - drunk as a lord? Wild, crazy, splendid, heroic, shameful, spectacular? Nothing more hideous, noble, lovely and absurd has ever been invented by the craziest lunatic than the things that are truly happening in this world at this moment?

Winifred Holtby, 'Truth is not Sober', in Truth is Not Sober and Other Stories (1934)

Mar 2017

1st March

First of all, it's important to realize that the absence of formal prohibitions against committing art does not preclude the presence of powerful, informal ones.

Joanna Russ, How to Suppress Women's Writing (1983)

8th March

This meaningless chatter about intuition is due to the duplicity of women. When one tells a fool something and the fool wants to know how one knows it, and one cannot be bothered explaining one's mental processes, one alludes mysteriously to 'feminine intuition'. It is a social ruse[.]

Rebecca West, 'The Nature of Woman: Every Home a Little Earlswood', review of The Nature of Woman by Dr Lionel Tayler, The Clarion, 7 Mar 1913, reprinted in The Young Rebecca: Writings of Rebecca West, 1911-17 (edited by Jane Marcus) (1982)

15th March

Bureaucracies almost by natire lack excitement, glamour, or charisma. We often live for fleeting intensities and charged moments, and celebrate marginality as a kind of permanent desideratum. But if bureaucracy and routinization have their costs, so do marginality and charisma. Marginality and momentary excitements are intrinsically fragile, evanescent, and unstable.

Gayle Rubin, 'Geologies of Queer Studies' (2004) in Deviations: A Gayle Rubin Reader (2011)

22nd March

People like stories. Not as much as they like food or shelter, but a lot. And a good story is held together by one question: what happens next? Itís a question for the audience to ask and the storyteller to answer. Itís something an entertained audience wants to find out, not decide. Thereís no suspense if the denouement is of your own devising.

David Mitchell, Choose my own Netflix adventure? No thanks, The Observer New Review 19 Mar 2017

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