Tuesday, October 15, 2013
My Book Crush
What joy it is to have my books around me. The only thing I'm really liking a lot about our new digs is that the books are once again a part of daily life.
Back at the last two Villas Muscato, you see, we had space and lots of it, so the books lived off in a room of their own, one that for the last three years at least wasn't even on the same floor as the room in which we actually spent most of our time (we called it the sitting room; Mrs. Galapatti-da Silva, however, punctured our pretension by calling it the rec room - where on earth do you suppose she got that? One wonders if perhaps at some point she was on staff at a girls' school...). Now, however, they're back among us, most of them in the back bedroom that is still the last bastion of boxes and chaos, but nonetheless a great deal nearer to hand.
And I'm reading them, which is simply marvelous. Also, for the first time, my extensive collection of biographies are all on one continent, so that when, for example, I read something about Beatrice Lillie in one book, I can run and check that account against whatever the lady herself (or her ghost) came up with in her own memoir, the charmingly ramshackle Every Other Inch a Lady.
And, at the moment, I can rediscover the richness that is The Grand Surprise, the memoir-diaries-letters collection by the formidable gentleman seen above, Mr Leo Lerman. I hope those of my dear Gentle Readers who suffered through my last bout of Lermania will forgive me if he resurfaces here now and again in the coming days and weeks. He is, after all, eminently quotable, and how many people does one run across who were besties with Marlene Dietrich, Maria Callas, and Truman Capote?
As I age, I do look for role models, and I find myself falling, from time to time, into a kind of literary infatuation. When one is a stout party of a frivolous turn of mind, persons after one's own type are not exactly thick on the ground, so the life and times of someone like Lerman are especially alluring. On top of that he had one of the more enviable apartments in all Manhattan, a vast collection of ridiculous and decorative Victoriana and Edwardiana, and loved to throw parties at which he served vast quantities of jug wine and Chinese food. One could do a great deal worse, as one's fifties wear on, than to emulate him. Albeit not, perhaps (at the risk of dissing someone for fifty years involved with fashion magazines - however unlikely he may have seemed at Vogue) in terms of mixing exactly that shirt and necktie...