"It's really a very simple story. What happened was this: I met this girl and did a very stupid thing. I fell in love. Hard. I know that to some people that makes me an idiot and a loser. What can I say? They're right. I did some extremely foolish things; I'm the first to say it. And they've left me in jail and alone."
So begins one of the most compelling, emotionally charged, and affecting novels you are likely to read this year.
Although the Tiny Goddess and I had spent some time in the UK before (especially her), we resolved to see many new things on this trip. And with three full weeks – one in London, two driving around -- we had the time.
Here are the best of the new things:
THE VICTORIA & ALBERT MUSEUM
I've been in London a few times before, but somehow I'd never been to the V&A, the world's largest museum devoted to decorative art and design. (The TG had been there a long time ago, in her college days.) This time, we spent an entire day there, and it was as exhilarating experience as I've had in a museum in a long time. I had done my research about things to see that aligned with our interests (the William Morris material, the Raphael cartoons, etc.), which we then supplemented with the museum's "20 Greatest Treasures" list. We didn't hit them all, but we caught The Great Bed of Ware, The Ardabil Carpet, and Tipu's Tiger. We criss-crossed the V&A several times, trying to "see everything," or as much as we could of its seven miles of galleries.
We especially enjoyed the exhibits on theatrical costumes, jewelry, ceramics, Asian art, John Constable, and medieval art. We did moderate business at the gift shop – writing down the names of books we wanted to buy later, instead of buying them then and having to schlep them around with us for the entire trip. And we had tea in the magnificent dining room, designed by the great William Morris.
We got to the V&A early; it was only two stops on the underground from Victoria, our home station. By the time we left, it was swarming with people. We were there in mid- September; I can't imagine what it was like during the summer at the height of the tourist season. (You can say that for every place we went.)
Watch my award-winning short film Lunch With Louie
everyday THE NEW YORK TIMES, THE LOS ANGELES TIMES, and THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ... Svetlana Alexievich ... the new New Yorker and the new New York Review of Books
Deezer! ...Howard Stern and Thom Hartmann always... lots of COSI, lots of KEITH JARRETT ... ... too much Pandora (but I made a new Children's Indiestation) ... and tons of Van the Man ... and Ryan Adams and Emmylou Harris and Bill Evans!
MSNBC and Fox and CNN ... Rick Steves' Europe and SEINFELD(comfort watching) ... Turner Classic Movies... and the struggles of the Dodgers