"The Leopard was published posthumously. His wife didn't care about literature, she liked smoking and clothes. He was an aristocrat. They lived in Palermo. That's everything in the world right there."
––James Salter, in conversation last night at the Center for Fiction, with executive director Noreen Tomassi (in response to a question about which books he might have like to have written himself, or would regard as great novels of the world in history)
Cold Comfort Farm has lots of lovely associations for me, not least of which is the fact that it's an immensely charming comedic novel of what it means to be essentially human. I plucked it off the shelf at a genteel old club in London in the spring (on the kind of trip where the missives began, "Today it rained..."), and read it in one furious gulp curled up in front of a roaring fire in the library, my favorite cucumber sandwich and tea laid out on a tray before me and disappearing in bits and bites with whatever distraction I could muster for my free hand. When I returned to New York, I think I was swanning around after midnight with one of the proprietors of a truly beloved vintage jewelry shop in Fort Greene when he said he'd have to send it to me (I'd read it because I remembered he'd once mentioned it in passing. Say something once to me and it's etched in granite, evermore). A little while later, a gorgeous old edition of the sequel showed up in the post, followed by a crisp new edition of the original. More recently, I was traveling around the country a few weeks ago with a dear friend who I think of as a twin flame to mine, when he told me about his partner's exquisite ceramic artistry. No surprise there.
[Milk Bottle Vase, around 40 dollars from 229 Ceramics]
Windowlicker is from the French for browsing: faire du lèche-vitrine.