The sun broke through today. The dog is asleep on the couch in a wide beam of it, and the trees are dripping glory from mossy limbs. We are slowly working our way through the plates of cookies and dishes of apple and berry pie. I am working my way through two novels: Elizabeth Goudge's Island Magic and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina. Bernard Williams spoiled the ending of AK for me, but I'm undertaking it anyhow. Maybe reading it will change my view of Williams' claims in Moral Luck. If you haven't read any Elizabeth Goudge, my mother and sisters and I highly recommend her. (Island Magic is my first full Goudge--I started but never finished her Green Dolphin Street, though I may have to revisit it now that I've discovered the pleasures of IM.) What I like best about Goudge are her perceptive, funny character sketches.
Here is one of my favorites:
Colin had not at this period of his life, nor at any other, the smallest objection to telling lies. He liked things to be pleasant and agreeable all round, and he had found from painful experience that the giving of truthful answers to direct questions bearing on his recent whereabouts and behaviour invariably led to unpleasantness. Therefore in conversation he aimed always at giving pleasure rather than accurate information, and was throughout his life universally beloved. (12)