Two summers ago, my first Sunday in Oxford, I was at church, meeting lots of new people and one of those was a a guy named Simon. After some casual conversation, I learned that he was "reading" English Literature for his D-Phil at Magdalen, specializing in obscure female authors of the 1930's. Oh, and he works for the school library - which in his case, happens to be the Bodleian. Impressive. But then he mentions, yah, he has a blog...
Come to find out he has a rather famous book blog,
"Stuck in a Book." Famous as in: several hundred followers, gets
invited to Penguin events, and the official Lizzie Bennet Diaries
facebook page - they follow Simon's blog. Oh and on top of being a grad
student, working part time for the Bodleian, now and then, part time
for Oxford University Press
(I'mnotjealousI'mnotjealousI'mnotjealous...), he must read 130+ books a
year and then, of course, blogs about them. I consider myself lucky to
count Simon as a friend and fellow Janeite, to have discussed LBD
episodes via facebook comments, to have followed his trips to Chatsworth
and the home(s) of Virginia Woolf, and to have taken up some of his
book recommendations [I'm sorry I didn't love Agatha Christie more, but London War Notes was beyond compare!]. And I've mentioned him here before for his review of Peter and Alice. I'm sure he's going to go onto an illustrious
career in publishing or writing or blogging or academia or whatever he chooses to
All that to say... He has branched out from book reviews to post some short creative writing, like these witty poems. Each little one is
dedicated to an author and they go something like this:
What the dickens?
Oh Charles, you saw
The humble poor
In such disarming detail -
But somehow missed
In all of this
A single real female.
Dear Aunt Jane
"Sweet, ineffectual Jane, the dear!"
Of all misreadings, wrongest.
Her barbs will last two hundred years;
Her laughs, both loud and longest.
Aren't those fun? Do check out both parts 1 and 2
Also quite good is his "One place, Many Simons" article, regarding the idea of the same place becoming part of our story in many different ways.
Today, though, he outdid himself. A fan of hilarious, literary, and/or witty short stories? Read "Jane Austen wrote the works of William Shakespeare." Having experienced one or two academic conferences and after writing my thesis on the critical history comparing Austen to Shakespeare - this made me cry with laughter. Such a joy!