Monday, April 23, 2012
snake rude sparrows
Urban snake with graffiti.
Is it rude for a visitor to examine the titles of books on his hosts shelves? The question arises while discussing a passage in Lorenzo da Ponte's current work in progress. A character asserts that it is rude. Where Da Ponte himself stands I am not quite sure. When I am a guest in someone's house I make a point of looking at the book spines lined up on shelf, and would not dream of doing otherwise. It has never occurred to me to avert my eyes. If books are displayed surely they are there so that their titles may be scanned. If not they should be hidden in a cupboard. Is it rude to look at pictures on the walls? To make judgements not asked for could in some circumstances I agree be rude. When people visit my house I am often disappointed if my bookshelves are ignored. Apart from reading them I like to talk about books, and books ignored could be a conversational opportunity lost. I suppose the builder who a few months ago while talking to me in my study remarked, "you've got a lot of books," might have been accounted rude by some particularly when he went on to ask "How many have you read?" But not accounted rude by me. It was a natural question from a natural man whom I hold in the highest respect.
Did I mention the sparrow tree? There is a holly tree in the garden of a house next door to The Grove. It is nearly always a-twitter with sparrows. Usually you can hear but not see them. This Spring however they are a fluttering all round the tree as well as a-twittering. Today they fly on to the branches of the oak next door and down on to the grass. Sparrows are supposed to be declining in numbers. Not so here.