This Valentine’s Day, Use Your Words!

What truly says “I love you” to your Valentine? A fancy dinner out? Good luck getting a table, or avoiding romantic indigestion as you navigate the desperate crush of other romance seekers. A box of chocolates? Hardly original, and not exactly helpful with our New Year’s resolutions. Do diamonds speak louder than words? Nope – not even close:

          Not marble, nor the gilded monuments
          Of princes shall outlive this powerful rhyme…

sonnetsWhen it comes to expressing your feelings, use your words. Or… borrow someone else’s! For millennia poets have spilled out their hearts on papyrus, parchment and paper, and into the air itself. From Sappho to Shakespeare, Ovid to Neruda, Elizabeth Barrett Browning to Mary Oliver, our shelves groan, sigh and sing with love’s burden, heavy as the heaviest heart, lighter than air. Here’s a list of just some of the books at your library packed with moving love poetry from all over the world, and all throughout the ages. Continue reading “This Valentine’s Day, Use Your Words!”

Crime: Is Dorothy L. Sayers still worth reading?

Dorothy L. Sayers in her college days.“Is Dorothy L. Sayers still worth reading?” Well I’ve been reading her lately (in anticipation of the Taproot Theatre’s upcoming production of Gaudy Night), and my unsurprising answer is yes, but why? After all, her hero – Edwardian aristocrat Lord Peter Wimsey – seems at first blush to be just the kind of plummy, pompous plutocrat that we’ve lost all taste for. Although Sayers’ works are drenched in the sort of stylish tweedy Englishness that enthralls Downton Abbey fans, they have not one jot of the latter’s sympathy to the plight of those below stairs, siding firmly and unselfconsciously with the snobs. Wimsey’s man Bunter (one of the great butlers) makes Jeeves look like an anarchist, so well does he know his place. Continue reading “Crime: Is Dorothy L. Sayers still worth reading?”