March 7, 2014
david sylvian, the ink in the well
…. possibly because of all the arty French references!
But it’s a beautiful song anyhow!
March 6, 2014
hemingway, world book day
Today is World Book Day in the UK – one of my favourite celebrations for obvious reasons! There are so many quotes about books, but this one kind of sums it up:
“All good books are alike in that they are truer than if they had really happened and after you are finished reading one you will feel that all that happened to you and afterwards it all belongs to you; the good and the bad, the ecstasy, the remorse and sorrow, the people and the places and how the weather was.” – Ernest Hemingway
Another excuse for a day of reading….
March 5, 2014
elizabeth goudge, hesperus minor, the runways
Those of you with better memories than me will recall that the lovely people at Hesperus Press launched their children’s imprint, Hesperus Minor, last year – and also announced a competition to suggest a lost children’s classic!
And the winner is:
Congratulations to Adrienne Byrne, who suggested the book and therefore provides the introduction to the book – it sounds like a great read!
Hesperus Minor have published two other lovely titles:
Both of these two I recall being around quite a lot when I was a youngster, but the Goudge is new to me so I’m very pleased that I’ll be able to read and review it soon! As is usual with Hesperus, these are beautifully produced books with French flaps and very lovely cover illustrations – so ideal for any young (or not so young!) reader of these classics!
March 3, 2014
Bruno Schulz, Javier Marias, jules verne, mary kingsley, osfam, Virago
And from that title you might guess that a few more volumes have edged their way into the house from the local charity shops…..
Well, from one in particular actually – the Oxfam of course. I didn’t actually go into most of the stores this week, but I did intend to pop in to the Oxfam because I’d spotted a Virago Traveller the previous week – but as I didn’t have my trusty purple notebook, in which I list all my Viragos, with me, I was stuck. Turns out I didn’t have it, so “Travels in West Africa” by Mary Kingsley came home with me.
And here are its friends!
First up is a 99p bargain:
I enjoyed “Journey to the Centre of the Earth” so much that I want to read another Verne, and this is a title I also remember from a film!
I’ve also had Marias on the to-be-explored list for a while, so a nice copy of “The Infatuations” (a hardback, no less!) was impossible to resist.
The final book is a bit of an oddity:
I’ve never heard of Bruno Schulz before – but this is a Picador (and I like their books) and seems to be the only work of his which survived (as he’s another tragic war victim). A bit of a risk, but it may be good and I love discovering new authors.
Pretty good for just over the cost of one new paperback. Now I just to clear a bit of shelf space….. :s
March 2, 2014
dr. seuss, i had trouble in getting to solla sollew
When I was a mere slip of a girl, one of my biggest treats was visiting the local library. In those days, it was at the bottom of town in an old building next to the river – you could look out some of the windows and see the ducks going by, and also the lovely architecture of the 1950s style bus station that was at the other side.
One of the books that really fired my imagination, and which I took out over and over again, was “I Had Trouble in getting to Solla Sollew” by Dr. Seuss. I guess it was the combination of wordplay and the surreal drawings that captured my imagination – but I just adored it, and read it over and over. Much, of course, I bought my own copy, which I still have…
I still think the images have a dreamy, larger-than-life quality, and I’m happy to look at Dr. Seuss’s work for hours!
Much later I discovered his other works, and read “The Cat in the Hat”, “The Lorax”, “The Sneetches” and many others to my own children, who also love his books. Truly, he’s a one-off:
Happy birthday, Dr. Seuss!
March 1, 2014
bely, chunkster, petersburg, russia
Every so often I feel the need to dive into a chunkster – I got through a few last year, including “Anna Karenina” and “The Brothers Karamazov”, as well as “Life: A User’s Manual”. All hefty tomes, but it’s so enjoyable to sink yourself into a big book and really wallow in it for a while, not worrying about rushing to finish it and letting all the other books go to the bottom of Mount TBR…..
So what’s the large tome I’m involved in at the moment? It’s Bely’s “Petersburg” (yes, another Russian!)
I had a bit of a grumble about the translations here, and the indecision I was having about which version to read. In the end, I think I knew what my decision would be, but I rationalised it thus:
- The first, the Cournos translation, has been criticised
- The most recent by Elsworth has no notes!
So it came down to between the two Penguin versions, the long 1916 book translated by David McDuff or the shorter 1922 by Maguire and Malmstad. I went for the McDuff because I like his work and it’s the book as Bely originally published it. So far, I’m a few chapters in and loving it – I was slightly apprehensive, as “Petersburg” has been described as the Russian “Ulysses” – oo-er! It’s strange, dreamy, hypnotic, wonderful prose and I’m looking forward to seeing how the book pans out – watch this space!!