Two fantastic books in the last week: Dickens’s A tale of two cities.  Why have I never read this before? The language is beautiful, the story is gripping, the whole thing is much tauter than Dickens usually is (while still not actually being taut, of course). Here’s a beautiful quotation, with such a wonderfully ambiguous, subtle reaction to the French revolution:
Along the Paris streets, the death-carts rumble, hollow and harsh. Six tumbrels carry the day’s wine to La Guillotine. All the devouring and insatiate Monsters imagined since imagination could record itself, are fused in one realization, Guillotine. And yet there is not in France, with its rich variety of soil and climate, a blade, a leaf, a root, a sprig, a peppercorn, which will grow to maturity under conditions more certain than those that have produced this horror. Crush humanity out of shape once more, under similar hammers, and it will twist itself into the same tortured forms. Sow the same seed of rapacious license and oppression over again, and it will surely yield the same fruit according to its kind.
The other book was Herbert Marcuses’s An essay on liberation. Rollicking, New Left stuff, fabulously polemical and joyous and angry at the same time. Highly recommended. 
Books for this weekend – some decent reading towards my Linguistics essay, and the rest of Freud’s Short introduction to psychoanalysis. Freud’s also good fun. You’ll be trotting along, enjoying the slightly dry, infinitely sensible writing style, and out of the blue suddenly he brings up your mother’s penis. Not her actual penis, of course; just the penis that you as her son imagined her to have had – which in itself leads to your terrible fear of a similar mutilation. Good fun, and another writer I must read more of.