It is one of the pleasures of writing a book is that, unlike, say, a theatre production, it stays out there, in libraries, on private bookshelves and, often enough, in second hand book stores. Somewhere in the USA, "a teacher" recommended The Book of War to author, Scott Pomfret. The reason I know is because Scott posted a review on GoodReads. For which I am grateful. Thank you Scott!
Meanwhile, the Goncourt brothers, long dead now, have found a reader in me. Their journals are not easy to get. You won't find them at Exclusives. But they are full, as Geoff Dyer says, of strange pleasures: "A ring at the door. It was Flaubert."
Here's some culinary horror. During the Franco-Prussian war, the siege of Paris, and the commune, it became difficult for citizens of Paris to feed themselves. It was not long before they were eating the animals in the zoo.
"December 31. I had the curiosity to call on Roos, the English butcher. I saw all sorts of strange relics. On the wall, hanging in a place of honour, is the trunk of young Pollux, the elephant from the Jardin d'Acclimatation; and in the midst of nameless meats and unusual horns, a boy is offering camel kidneys."
The butcher recommends the elephant sausages, adding that, "there is some onion" in them. Goncourt buys "two larks" for lunch the next day. On New Year's Eve he goes to a restaurant where he finds on the menu, "the famous elephant sausage." He dined off it.