It’s that time of the week again – it’s so nice to have a little place on my blog to mention things which wouldn’t fit in elsewhere, or books which are going to be read gradually, so that you don’t have to wait months to hear about them. I’m getting rather fond of my weekly miscellany, and I hope you are too.
You find me in a house of sickness. I’m not ill (yet) but my housemates are suffering from colds in various stages of heaviness… but today I made a coconut cake to cheer everyone up. I indulge in coconut cakes quite a lot now, since Our Vicar and Colin are both firmly anti-coconut, and thus it would be unfair to make them at home. Mmm… coconut cake… This isn’t it, but it is a nice picture I stole from Google Image Search…
1) The book(s) – I’ve been meaning to read George Orwell’s essays for a while, or at least dip into them, and when I spotted that Harvill Secker had just published two collections in rather fetching paperbacks (cover illustration a very good job by John Spencer) I wrote an email wondering whether they’d like to send copies to Oxford… which they did, hurrah! They are companion volumes – Narrative Essays and Critical Essays. The former has things like ‘Bookshop Memories’, ‘Some Thoughts on the Common Toad’, and ‘A Nice Cup of Tea’ – though also ‘Looking Back on the Spanish War’ which, if his excellent Homage to Catalonia is anything to go on, probably isn’t very cosy. Critical Essays, as might be expected, investigates individual authors – T.S. Eliot, Rudyard Kipling – and literary topics, like ‘Good Bad Books’, which sounds fascinating. I’m looking forward to dipping into these, and might well report back later – but I think they’re a safe bet for books worth having on the shelves, and there is no author who makes great writing seem more effortless than Orwell does.
2) The link – a while ago I reviewed Michael Greenberg’s Beg, Borrow, Steal: A Writer’s Life (which I thought captivating and very well-written, despite being out of my reading comfort zone). Do check out his website, michaelgreenberg.org, which is intended to be an interactive site meant to recreate the spirit and experience of the book visually. And do get hold of the book if you can, it‘s quite a find.
Another link? Oh, why not – Picador emailed to say that they’ll be giving away a box set of the excellent Paris Review Interviews vols.1-4 – follow them on Twitter to find out more. (Incidentally, do many of you use Twitter? It baffles me. I do have an account, but have yet to use it properly…)
3) The blog post – well, there’s been so much buzz about Susan Hill’s Howards End is on the Landing, why not pop along to Bloomsbury Bell’s blog and see what she has to say about the book which inspired the title, EM Forster’s Howards End? I haven’t read this novel yet, though I bought it a couple of months ago, and Bloomsbury Bell’s thoughtful review has intrigued me afresh. You can read it here.
That’s all for this weekend, I’ll see you on the other side…