Lit Chic: Part 2 – Lit Wits

Need an inspirational theme for your next soirée? Take a page from the lit wits, who are leading the way with book-lined parties. It's the hottest thing in entertaining at the moment – or should that be the wittiest thing? If you love books and want to incorporate them into your next dinner party or 'do', begin with some of the beautiful ideas on sites such as and other bookish sources.

Here are a few of my favourite pix from the Random House Pinterest page, including this (above) - a catalogue of guest seating cards. {Detailed sources from each individual image on this site. NB If I have featured your photos and you would like to be credited here as well as on Random House's Pinterest, please do just let me know,}

The Photo For The Wedding Invitation
I think this image may have originally come from Brides magazine but it's now turning up on a lot of sites. I love this. It could also be a wedding photo.

The Photo of the Dress
Needs no introduction, really. Nor even a foreword.

 The Cake
Seems a shame to slice into it.

The Manicure
Might be going a bit far, but still cute.

And if you're a book lover AND a film lover, you may like to see a new film that's being released next month (it's just been released in the States), called The Words. It stars an impressive cast, including Bradley Cooper, Jeremy Irons and Dennis Quaid, and is being billed as a "layered romantic drama". I suspect it's more than that. It may not be Henry James but I suspect it's a lot more than Fifty Shades of Grey.

The story follows young writer Rory Jansen (Mr Cooper, as brooding as always) who's a struggling writer with aspirations to be the next great literary voice. When he discovers a lost manuscript in a weathered attaché case that he and his wife found in a shop in Paris on their honeymoon, he realizes he possesses an extraordinary book. It's just a shame he didn't write it. After much thought (okay a fleeting moment of guilt), Rory decides to pass the work off as his own. He is soon a literary superstar. However, he soon learns that the words are only the beginning. The trailers look great - here

On another note (or page), I was saddened to read on the weekend that writer Bryce Courtenay only has a few months to live. Whatever you think of his books, he is a magnificent writer. Even his off-hand quotes are ridiculously brilliant. I’ll always remember a fantastic line he spouted when he was asked whether he ‘embellished’ the truth.

“Do I exaggerate? You bet I exaggerate! I take a fact, put a top hat on it, a silk shirt and a bow tie and striped trousers and a tail coat and a pair of tap shoes and I do a Fred Astaire with a fact. But I don't ruin the fact. I never ruin the fact. I'm just giving it life.”

Courtenay also said: "Writing a book is never easy. It takes guts, patience and a huge amount of self-discipline to succeed." Courtenay has written 22. Can you imagine how many hours it would have taken, sitting in a room alone, to produce that much work? The man needs an award just for his Hemingwayesque productivity.

Someone else who is staring at his last words is Clive James. Mr James has also announced that he is fighting the Grim Reaper, who wants to make him pay for his excessive and indulgent life of drinking, smoking and eating quality nosh – and lots of it – at top London restaurants.

I have had the extraordinary luck to have met and interviewed James on two occasions. He was the most delightful, convivial, self-deprecating, fiercely witty and fantastically humorous man I've ever met. He didn't just answer your questions with a Kingsley Amis-style sneer and then stare around the room for something better to entertain him. He truly engaged with you, person to person, with spark, warmth, interest and genuine friendliness. He didn't need – or deserve – the horrific publicity that A Current Affair gave him earlier this year.

Did you read the (more pleasing) article about him in The Weekend Australian Magazine recently? I loved the quote by Martin Amis. Amis said that Clive, when asked how he'd like his steak, always replied "Knock off its horns and wipe its arse!" Only Clive James could get away with that.

But he is more than the classic Aussie wit with a dry bite and a sense of humour from left field. He is also a great writer. One of James' critics, the Oxford academic Peter Conrad, now regrets giving him a bad review and says "As an essayist, he is up there with Hazlitt, Wilde, Chesterton and co."

According to The Weekend Australian Magazine, Clive James is fighting for his life. But he has sold his Cambridge house to move closer to his London doctors. When the Australian's journalist, Bryan Appleyard, visited him for the story, the only things left were a single Sidney Nolan painting and piles of books on the floor. "I couldn't bring myself to sell them," confessed James.

Oh Clive, how we shall miss you.

PS Apologies for my absence on this blog. I, too, am holed up in self-imposed isolation writing several books. If I haven't yet emailed you, I am so very sorry, and promise to reply soon. Please wait for me: I shall send a personal reply to each and every one who has kindly written very shortly. I also promise that the itinerary for the The Grand Botanical Tour will be up this week! Can't wait to see you all next May. It will be such a lovely trip! xx

No comments:

Post a Comment