The Art of Plague by cOvid

May 19, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Poetry |

Arnold Böcklin, "Plague," (1898)

cOvid wants attention; cOvid just wants love. He went AWOL, attached himself As a hand into a glove; Banished by his Masters, Self-distanced, not alone, Conceived on the wing – loitering, At the window’s secure zone. Bat-munching barbarians Will take official blame; When Dr Who comes calling, Suspects all look the same. Wash the razor with a hose, Sluice the wastage down the drain; Fresh mops and a butcher’s pail Will carry away the stain. Nothing to do with us; We smile, and calculate: The number the next beast into The crock pot shall decimate.

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A Bigger Picture

By Malcolm Turnbull (2020) To re-tell a recent joke, with apologies to Frankie Boyle, Turnbull’s memoir is not like Turnbull the man, in 2 respects: it has a spine, and you may not want to put it down. Yes, we’re on record as not being Malcolm fans, for whom this pretty well written and interesting book is designed, though it holds wider interest in following the August path of destiny for Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, a path strewn with garlands and fleeting triumphs, told in a voice of peerless self-confidence, well described by Jonathon Green in the Sydney Morning Herald…

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Sundog

(Jeff Janoda.  2019) We at TVC are not particularly interested in the experiences of German pilots stationed in Southern Russia in December 1942, and so we would not have picked up Sundog, had we not known that its author, Canadian Jeff Janoda was also the author of the terrific, Saga A Novel of Medieval Iceland.  Janoda justified our faith. It would have been our loss, had we judged this book by its subject matter. The settings of the two novels could not be more different, but the concise, detailed and historically rich style are the same. Sundog is a truly…

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Theft by Finding

April 12, 2020 | Posted by Peter Jakobsen | Fiction, LIFE, Non-Fiction, THUMBNAIL REVIEWS |

By David Sedaris (2017) Having caught his act just before plague was upon us, TVC thought it a lucky ‘Rabbit Rabbit’ move to read his paean to serendipity, Theft by Finding. These are diaries kept by him (much winnowed; the originals comprise 8 million odd words, or 8 Clarissas) from 1977-2002 and as he so rightly argues in his introduction, diaries – proper diaries, the best diaries (Samuel Pepys, Anne Frank) – are written to find oneself, never with an eye to publication. From his wastrel twenties to his successful mid-forties, his circumstances change but he hardly does, either in…

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The Plague Bookclub

Our Plague Book Club recommends the following books for a Plague year: The Alchemist (Ben Jonson) (1610) “The sickness hot, a master quit, for fear, His house in town, and left one servant there.” The Black Death (Philip Ziegler) (1969) “All the citizens did little else except to carry dead bodies to be buried… At every church they dug deep pits down to the water-table; and thus those who were poor who died during the night were bundled up quickly and thrown into the pit. In the morning when a large number of bodies were found in the pit, they…

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