The subtle art of going all-out

I like the feeling of giving something my best shot. It tickles me and makes me feel alive

Read this and weep

If you have ever had reading as a passion, it can be painful to see it regarded as an antiquated pursuit

Hopeless and romantic

Must romance, by its very nature, always be fleeting, a glimpse of something about to happen?

Cheery by chance, not design

I am all for cheering yourself up, of course I am, but the preparation, the rituals, the rules . . . 

It’s my party and I’ll fine if I want to

Leaving the party early with the four nicest people would incur an on-the-spot fine of £10

The cream cheese dilemma

How much of our lives is used up in the active shilly-shallying of things that don’t greatly affect us?

Go easy on yourself, for once

I think the comfort zone is becoming harder and harder to access, yet more and more necessary

Happiness is a life below zero

Seeing my gloves on my feet, in the street, in museums, in a pizzeria, I kept bursting into laughter

Confronted by an age-old truth

In some ways I get younger and younger but this week something happened that made me feel old

All I want is a room somewhere 

‘I could switch everything off for a few hours but it feels brutal to be one of those do-not-disturb writers’

Room for improvement

Ordinarily I love hotels, the privacy and indulgence. I love the way they make you the subject of the sentence

Seasonal contradictions

If you can’t be merry at Christmas, there is something seriously wrong with you

Glamour and grit behind the veil

Despite five layers of frills Ada Katz looked intrepid in her wedding gown, like a spy or a genius codebreaker

Why I’ll always be a wrap fan

Armed with the right gift, one can correct ills, reverse fortunes and nourish and nurture. A good present can change everything

Comforts of the space age

You could watch ‘The Philadelphia Story’ for the 47th time but if you do that now what will you have to look forward to in your old age?

Rules and rudeness

Drawing attention to poor conduct, we surely make ourselves worse than the other fellow

The hope inside a box of delights

I have started imagining people going through my things after I am no more

Hold your hats and hallelujah

The attraction of a childhood whose natural end is not adulthood but stardom cannot be denied

High on praise in the compliment zone

You only need six chocolate teaspoons on a nice plate for folk to think you’re really something

A music-hall knees-up with an urban flavour

I don’t think of myself as a purist. I have even been known to put vanilla in a fruit cake


Susie BoytSusie Boyt writes a column on shopping for the FT Weekend supplement. She is a novelist and lives in London.

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