You are currently browsing the monthly archive for June 2012.
It’s been a while since I updated everyone on my book purchases, probably because I’m hugely embarrassed that my self-imposed embargo on new books has imploded in a manner rarely seen these days. So as confession is good for the soul, these are the items bought since my last post at the end of May:
- Team Cul de Sac, edited by Chris Sparks – a tribute volume to the cartoonist Richard Thompson, with proceeds going to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research; i read this as soon as it arrived being a huge fan of the comic strip and it is just sublime;
- The Addams Family: An Evilution by Charles Addams – um, it’s the Addams Family, why wouldn’t I buy it? Yay Morticia!;
- Oscar’s Books by Thomas Wright – tells the story of Oscar Wilde through his reading;
- Hot Flushes, Cold Science by Louise Foxcroft – a history of the modern menopause (because I am a woman of a certain age and it looked fascinating);
- Cosmopolis by Don DeLillo – haven’t read any DeLillo for a while, and the film version looks interesting so thought I would give it a go – nothing to do with R-Patz on the cover.
Other bits and bobs:
- Blue Nights by Joan Didion – because I hugely admired The Year of Magical Thinking (as both a book and a play);
- Maps & Legends by Michael Chabon – a series of linked essays in praise of reading and writing according to the blurb, part of my love affair with books about books and reading;
- Vox by Nicholson Baker – about time for a re-read I thought, then realised I didn’t have a copy of my own;
- Talulla Rising by Glen Duncan – so impressed by The Last Werewolf I went and bought the sequel.
From my first trip to Daunts bookshop on Cheapside, courtesy of Silvery Dude:
- The Horror of Love by Lisa Hilton – the story of Nancy Mitford’s relationship with Gaston Palewski, part of my ever-growing Mitford library;
From a trip to Waterstones Piccadilly to hear Ben Aaronovitch speak (more of that in a second):
- When Nights Were Cold by Susanna Jones – came in under my radar, sole survivor of an all-woman expedition to the Alps, an unsettling historical thrillery sort of book as I understand it
So you can see why I might be embarrassed.
I have managed to finish a few books in this time (though as always not as many as I would like): Team Cul de Sac as mentioned above, Kings of Eternity and The Last Werewolf – reviews of the latter two will follow, and I’m currently enjoying Whispers Underground.
Which brings me to an evening with Ben Aaronovitch at the end of June, where I was able to hear him speak about his writing and got my book signed and also one for Silvery Dude who couldn’t come along because of a family emergency. Very enjoyable, funny and engaging evening which just proves that I need to make time for this sort of event more than I do currently.
Have a good reading week!
The Baskerville Legacy was not at all what I expected. When I saw it in the book shop I was immediately attracted by the cover and the subtitle “A Confession”. Ah ha, I thought, this is going to be a lovely Holmesian pastiche telling the true story of the Hound of the Baskervilles; not a straight retelling because Conan Doyle himself appears all the way through, so not a version of Holmes but a “how it came to be”. Which it was and wasn’t.
There isn’t actually a mystery here. It’s the story of how The Hound came to be written; the germ of an idea by a friend of Conan Doyle, a man called Bertram Fletcher Robinson, worked on jointly or so it would appear. But in many ways the tale being written is incidental, as this is a book about friendship, writing, collaboration, professional jealousy, talent or the lack of it and the impact of a dissolute lifestyle. Oh and of course there is spiritualism.
It’s a really enjoyable short book, and one of the most interesting things (apart from the portrait of Conan Doyle who isn’t always the jovial chap he was often portrayed as) is where the author has taken real events and changed or elaborated on them to produce his novel. because Robinson and Doyle were friends, holidayed together, and appeared to have collaborated though Doyle is the sole author on all published versions. there seems to have been a real controversy over this though as the author says none of the correspondence between the two men (if it still exists) has ever been made public. The author’s note at the end is a fascinating read all by itself.
I very much enjoyed this story, with its unsettling air of creepiness, of jealousy and strong feelings, and would recommend it as something a little bit different on the whole Holmesian thing. So not what I expected as I said, but a very happy accident.
This was my second Readathon read.
I liked this very much, but especially so with added Van Gogh
The Art of Living
I had slept
Without a mosquito net
On my first day in the new city
Did I say slept?
That isn’t even an exaggeration
That’s an utter lie
The room, the cot, the night, the sounds
The earth itself
May have slept
Me and the mosquitoes didn’t
And I was not deadly bruised
I was totally mauled
The next morning saw me
At the nearest mall
Searching for a mosquito net
Then on every night
I would spread the mosquito net
Over my bed stead
And by that time
All the mosquito’s in the room
Would be inside it
Happily I would close the net
Insert all the corners under the bed
And sleep on the floor