My favourite British daily newspaper is the Guardian (and its Sunday sister paper, the Observer). I don't see a copy every day, but I do buy the Saturday edition whenever possible, mainly for its excellent Review section on the arts. It's so well written. If I have the time, I'm quite happy to spend an hour or two doing the Quick Crossword, then reading/skim reading the whole supplement from cover to cover, perhaps marking out bits that have caught my attention. I see I've highlighted these three pieces from last Saturday's Review:
Nicola Barker on Thomas Merton:
'Up with the revolution of tulips. Tulips are not important, they are essential. Yes, sing. Love and Peace, silence, movement of planets.'
As soon as you start reading him [Merton], you find yourself transported to the wooden porch of his hermitage in Gethsemani, Kentucky. It is night-time. The crickets roar. You are perched on an uncomfortably comfortable stool, watching the fireflies flit through the darkness. 'Lord God of this great night,' Merton sighs, 'do you see the woods? Do you hear the rumour of their loneliness? Do you behold their secrecy? Do you remember their solitudes? Do you see that my soul is beginning to dissolve like wax within me?'
Stuart Jeffries interviewing the Swedish author Sven Lindqvist:
One of Lindqvist's earliest books was called Advertising Is Lethal. 'It's a critique of advertising and marketing. I wrote it when I had recently married and we had to buy everything to make a household. I revolted against the idea that I would have to do work I didn't want to do just in order to pay instalments on a sofa. I'd much rather not have a sofa and use my time to do some reading, writing, loving and experiencing life.' (Me too! SW)
My mind was racing.
It was some years from now.
We were together again in our old flat.
You were admiring yourself adjusting your hat.
'Oh of course I was mad then,' you said with a forgiving smile,
'Something snapped in me and I was mad for a while.'
But this madness of yours disgusted me,
This gorgeous madness like a tinkling sleigh,
It carried you away
Snug in your fur, snug in your muff and cape.
You made your escape
Through the night, over the dry powdery snow.
I watched you go.
Truly the mad deserve our sympathy.
And you were driven mad you said by me
And then you drove away,
The cushions and the furs piled high,
Snug with your madness alibi,
Injured and forgiven on your loaded sleigh.
All wonderful quotes, don't you think?