Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Real Life Is Worrisome So I Talk About Dead Irish Wits Instead

I had big plans for this week. I was going to come home from beach weekend refreshed and inspired, and get a lot of writing done and tell you all about it. The first part went okay - beach weekend was very nice - but the rest did not go according to plan. I came home to find that a long-simmering family crisis had boiled over, and also my refrigerator had broken. So I've been trying to deal with that and have barely gotten anything done this week at all.

Instead, I will distract you and myself by telling you about a new-to-me author I've found! After dinner on Saturday, Cousin Disco and I were sitting out on the porch drinking wine and discussing how to bring down societally imposed gender roles (as you do) when her father Uncle Disco came outside.

Uncle: Since we were talking about books before [as we were, of course] - have you read Myles na gCopaleen?
Felicity: No.
Uncle: You have to.
Felicity: Okay. [I try to be agreeable.]
Uncle: S.J. Perelman called him "the best comic writer I can think of."
Felicity: Well, then. If S.J. Perelman says so.
Uncle: I'll put it on your pillow...
Felicity: I'll read it!
Uncle: ...but you can't take it with you. It can't leave the house. You have to buy your own.
Felicity: ...okay.
And really, I understood. People are funny about their favorite books.

Later, when I went upstairs, I did indeed find the book on my pillow - it turned out to be funny columns from an Irish newspaper from the thirties and forties. (Here it is.) Okay then! That's the sort of thing I would like. I was just looking at it when Cousin Disco knocked at the door. I opened it and she was holding a book:

Cousin: I think this was meant for you.
Felicity: *looks at suspiciously similar book* No, I got one too.
Cousin: Is it...?
Felicity: *fetches book, compares* Yes. Identical.
Cousin: If he has two, why won't he let you borrow one?

And at that point we had to concentrate on keeping our laughing from waking up the rest of the family. Anyway, next morning, Cousin Disco asked her father about the duplicates. "It's my favorite book," he said. "I can't be without it." Totally fair. I may have more than one copy of certain books myself.

I read the first 60 or so pages while I was there, and I would definitely recommend it if you like WWII-era Irish humor that is silly and bitter all at once! And very, very educated and cultured. There are a few other collections, too, and he also wrote novels under the name Flann O'Brien, so I'll be trying to work my way through all of it eventually. Remember: Doesn't leave the house. Buy your own copy. Buy two.

1 comment:

  1. I do that too. For my favorite books, I'll buy them in paperback and hardcover. I lend out the paperbacks to friends, but the hardcovers have to stay nice and pretty and on my bookshelf. ^_^