SNB-logo-small-e1393871908245Yes, the latest issue of Shiny New Books, #12, is out today and you can read all its bookish loveliness here.


I have a couple of reviews this time, and I’ll point you today to my thoughts on Vicki Baum’s “Grand Hotel”, reissued in a beautiful edition from NYRB. I absolutely adored the book, with its wonderful cast of characters and brilliantly captured setting, and you can read my full review here.


Today is also National Poetry Day in the UK, and so I took a few moments to read a poem this morning before leaving for work. Oddly enough, I’m actually in the middle of a Philip Larkin book at the moment, but it’s prose not poetry, so that doesn’t count. However, I keep stumbling across the work of Louis MacNeice, and I’m intrigued by what I’ve read so far. So I picked up a little Penguin volume of poetry from the 1930s and read this one today:

The Sunlight on the Garden

The sunlight on the garden
Hardens and grows cold,
We cannot cage the minute
Within its nets of gold,
When all is told
We cannot beg for pardon.

Our freedom as free lances
Advances towards its end;
The earth compels, upon it
Sonnets and birds descend;
And soon, my friend,
We shall have no time for dances.

The sky was good for flying
Defying the church bells
And every evil iron
Siren and what it tells:
The earth compels,
We are dying, Egypt, dying

And not expecting pardon,
Hardened in heart anew,
But glad to have sat under
Thunder and rain with you,
And grateful too
For sunlight on the garden.

It’s an elegiac piece, written on the eve of the Second World War, and makes me very keen to read more of MacNeice’s work – so much so that I’ve requested his book with Auden, “Letters from Iceland”, from the library!

And finally a couple of pictures!


These are my Penguin Modern Poets – as you can see, by no means a full set as yet though I intend to get there eventually. Really must get onto the next one…


And these are a few others lurking on the shelves – of course there are many more on the other shelves plus individual poets like Plath. And I’ve just picked up a volume of Sitwell I want to start soon. Oh for more reading time….