My Books of the Week #1: Jerome K. Jerome and Francesco Guccini

As part of my obsessive explorations in the arts, I try to read two books a week. Here are the two books I read last week.

Nuovo Dizionario delle Cose Perdute (“New Dictionary of Things Lost,” Francesco Guccini, 2014)

Penned by one of Italy’s most acclaimed singer/songwriters and a sequel to a previous book listing things that used to be popular but no longer are – from habits to objects and beyond. It’s a bit of a witty boomer-fest but also a bit charming.

Three Men in a Boat (Jerome K. Jerome, 1889)

An amusing take on the travelogue and a witty satire on masculine rituals with scattered moments of poetry. At times appears to anticipate the spirit of early slapstick comedies, which it predates by some decades, particularly those of Laurel & Hardy.


10 Great Quotes from Jerome K. Jerome’s “Three Men in a Boat” (1889)

I recently read Jerome K. Jerome’s novel, Three Men in a Boat, originally published in 1889. Here are ten quotes from this novel that particularly stood out to me.

“Throw the lumber over, man! Let your boat of life be light, packed with only what you need—a homely home and simple pleasures, one or two friends, worth the name, someone to love and someone to love you, a cat, a dog, and a pipe or two, enough to eat and enough to wear, and a little more than enough to drink; for thirst is a dangerous thing.”

“I don’t understand German myself. I learned it at school, but forgot every word of it two years after I had left, and have felt much better ever since.”

“Heavenly melody, in our then state of mind, would only have still further harrowed us. A soul-moving harmony, correctly performed, we should have taken as a spirit-warning, and have given up all hope. But about the strains of “He’s got ’em on,” jerked spasmodically, and with involuntary variations, out of a wheezy accordion, there was something singularly human and reassuring.”

“We are but the veriest, sorriest slaves of our stomach. Reach not after morality and righteousness, my friends; watch vigilantly your stomach, and diet it with care and judgment. Then virtue and contentment will come and reign within your heart, unsought by any effort of your own; and you will be a good citizen, a loving husband, and a tender father, a noble, pious man.”

“Fox-terriers are born with about four times as much original sin in them as other dogs are, and it will take years and years of patient effort on the part of us Christians to bring about any appreciable reformation in the rowdiness of the fox-terrier nature.”

“I resolved, when I began to write this book, that I would be strictly truthful in all things; and so, I will be, even if I have to employ hackneyed phrases for the purpose.”

“It always does seem to me that I am doing more work than I should do. It is not that I object to the work, mind you; I like work: it fascinates me. I can sit and look at it for hours.”

“There was a time, long ago, when I used to clamour for the hard work: now I like to give the youngsters a chance.”

“The pool under Sandford lasher, just behind the lock, is a very good place to drown yourself in.”

“We said we could not expect to have it all sunshine, nor should we wish it. We told each other that Nature was beautiful, even in her tears.”