It’s so dark, guys. It gets dark while I’m sat in the office, and I’ll be driving home in the dark until February or March or something. But – on the plus side – that does mean evenings curled up in front of my
log burner electric heater made to look like a log burner.
I’m still intending to give a proper overview of my trip to Canada, and talk about the many books I got my birthday earlier in the week, but those things will wait til next week. For now, I’ll give you a book, a blog post, and a link.
1.) The book – is What Might Have Been by Ernest Bramah, which I’ve picked to represent Handheld Press. It’s a new publishing house started by my fellow book fox Kate, and they’ve published a couple of classics so far (with new fiction also on the horizon). Bramah’s novel was published in the early 20th century and is a political satire often said to have influenced Orwell’s Nineteen Eighty-Four.
2.) The blog post – you might know that I loved Diary of a Bookseller. Well, let the review at Beauty is a Sleeping Cat further convince you.
3.) The link – my friend Kirsty recommended the Radio 4 programme The Adoption (available as podcast download). Each episode is about 10-20 minutes – currently 16 of them – and it follows the adoption process from more or less the beginning, interviewing birth parents, birth grandparents, adoptive parents, social workers, etc. It’s non-fiction, very moving, and a sensitive insight to a complex process.
It’s been another busy week, and I feel like I’ve hardly been in my flat at all – so it’s nice to be here for the weekend, and I’ve got various friends coming around too. The more people who see it, the more it feels like home. And I’ll give a proper tour before too long, I hope!
Hope you’re having a good weekend – and here is the usual weekend miscellany round-up of book, blog post, and link.
1.) The link – is an exciting new initiative called Bluestocking Book Tours. Lauren got in touch to tell me about it, and it sounds fantastic – 2.5 hours of a guided specialist tour of some of London’s bookshops, with different themes for different tours. The link above has details about when and what they are, and if you come on the 18th November one then I’ll be there too! I’ll also report back fully on the tour I attend, of course.
2.) The blog post – I’m over at Shiny New Books writing about one of the best books I’ve read this year. It’s The Diary of a Bookseller by Shaun Bythell, and it’s hilarious. Anybody who loves non-fic about books will adore this one – think of it as a slightly more cynical version of 84, Charing Cross Road.
3.) The book – I think David mentioned this on Facebook, though could have misremembered – it’s This Little Art by Kate Briggs, about translation. It’s part of a series of interesting essay collections, beautifully and simply printed by Fitzcarraldo Editions, and one I’ll probably give in and buy at some point when Project 24 is over…
It’s been quite the week. I burst a tyre! I changed a tyre! I got Shania Twain tickets! Well, that’s the rollercoaster over and done with. I suppose it hasn’t really been quite the week, all things considered, but it feels more active than usual. And I’ve come oh-so-close to finishing unpacking in my new flat, and there’s basically no room for any more books. And – spoilers – it’s quite possible that I’ll buy more books at some point. I guess I’ll cross that bridge when I come to it… but, for now, here’s a book, a blog post, and a link.
1.) The link – is a book group that I wish I could get to, but can’t. All the Forgotten Fiction book groups at Gower Street Waterstones in London look amazing, but their fifth one – on 25th October – is a dream. It’s Shirley Jackson AND Barbara Comyns! I would be there in a heartbeat, but I’m going to be on holiday. If you can go, please follow that link and let me live vicariously through you.
2.) The blog post – it was published nearly two months ago, but I loved this list of 10 Books Set in the English Countryside, at Bag Full of Books – the seven I’ve read are all rather lovely.
3.) The book – Bello keep reprinting loads of my favourites – whether coincidence or not, who can say – and I’m thrilled that they’re bringing back some A.A. Milne titles, as Print on Demand and ebooks. All the available books are here, and include some titles which are very tricky to track down. You’ll never find Lovers in London except in Print on Demand, for instance. But I’ve highlighted It’s Too Late Now – his autobiography – which is one of my favourite books, and good homework before you see Goodbye, Christopher Robin at the cinema!
It’s been quite a busy week, but I’ve managed to read a book that I completely loved – Shaun Bythell’s The Diary of a Bookseller, a non-fic about running a bookshop in Wigtown. It’s hilarious and perfect for booklovers – watch this space for a full review, which will be appearing in due course as one of the Editor at Large slots on Shiny New Books.
On Saturday, I’ll be up in London going to a matinee with Colin – and on Sunday I am doing blissful nothing. Reading, I’d say, if I were a betting man. But, for now, I’ll leave you with a book, a blog post, and a link…
1.) The book – is one I saw somebody talk about on Facebook. Scott? John? Somebody. It’s a graphic memoir by Sarah Laing called Mansfield and Me and it parallels Sarah’s story with that of Katherine Mansfield. It looks wonderful and basically I’m going to need somebody to publish it in the UK… because at the moment it’s only available in New Zealand. Lucky New Zealand.
2.) The link – The Fortnight in September by R.C. Sherriff is now available as a Persephone Classic, and at the special offer price of £7.50. A great time to snap up a really beautifully told novel. I can’t think of a way to word this that isn’t hideously promotional, but… it’s great. Read it this September!
3.) The blog post – it’s always fun to see people discover my own favourites and, while Shirley Jackson’s We Have Always Lived in the Castle isn’t exactly a little-known secret, it’s certainly become much more popular in the years since I started blogging. Back then, particularly, nobody in the UK knew who Jackson was. Anyway, there’s a great new review of it over at BookerTalk – enjoy, and if you’re one of those people who’ve yet to try Jackson, hopefully it’ll twist your arm.
The weekend is already halfway over – and I spent Saturday in London, catching up with friends and seeing the excellent Lettice and Lovage, starring Felicity Kendal and Maureen Lipman. So wonderful to see two such talented actors performing complex, unusual, and amusing characters – it was a real joy. It’s sold out, I’m afraid, but maybe it’ll transfer? Anyway, here’s the book, the blog post, and the link – as C.S. Lewis almost called his book.
1.) The book – how did I not know about Insomniac City: New York, Oliver, and Me by Bill Hayes? A zillion thanks to Jenny for mentioning it in the comment section the other day – it’s written by Oliver Sacks’ partner, and you know I can’t get enough of all things Oliver Sacks. Having not bought a book for six weeks, I’m back on track for Project 24… so this could be one I end up treating myself to…
2.) The blog post – is by me, I’m afraid. I wrote (over at Vulpes Libris) about a book that was very famous in the early 20th century – An Adventure, purporting to document two women’s inadvertent time-travel to Versailles just before the French Revolution.
3.) The link – the ‘long read’ at the Guardian is about the word ‘banter’. That doesn’t sound promising, but I found the 7000+ word essay a fascinating look at sexism, popular culture, and the ways in which a very British sense of humour can get distorted and turn dangerous.
By the time you see this, I’ll probably be driving off to a dear friend’s wedding – thankfully the temperature has come down a bit, so the idea of putting on a suit doesn’t make me collapse in a puddle of tears. I hope you’re having a great weekend, wherever you are – and I’ll help you along the way with a book, a blog post, and a link.
1.) The book – Scribbles in the Margins: 50 Eternal Delights of Books by Daniel Gray. WILL people please stop publishing books about reading while I’m on Project 24?? It’s the greatest temptation, and I very much want this. I went to school with a Daniel Gray, but I suspect it’s not the same one… though, who knows, maybe all the cool kids are bibliophiles now too.
2.) The blog post – be beguiled by this collection of excerpts about glass, courtesy of Jane at Beyond Eden Rock. Even more beguilingly, she doesn’t introduce it – so we have no idea why or how or when the idea and selection came to her.
3.) The link – Behind the GIFs. Silly but brilliant.
Hiya everyone – hope you’re having a good weekend. It’s finally summer, so obviously I’ve got a cold. I’m surrounded by tissues and lemsip and cups of tea and whatnot – and a pile of books, which I am alternating with Netflix. I’ll kick off your weekend with a book, link, and blog post…
1.) The book – I really want to read My Life With Bob by Pamela Paul. ‘Bob’ is a journal of the books that Paul reads. Yes, it’s a book about books. A book about reading. I want it so much. I have so many books about reading that I haven’t read. (I want it so muuuuuch.)
2.) The link – is one of my favourite Instagram accounts. If you’re on Instagram, you probably already follow most of the book accounts I follow – but I wanted to highlight Maren’s. Her wildlife and nature photography is just so stunning. And, yes, I first met Maren through Virago Books – so books lead to all sorts of delights!
3.) The blog post – is a giveaway of Elizabeth Taylor novels over at Ali’s. I haven’t seen this lovely new Virago editions before – a definite improvement on the previous incarnation (though not, of course, as perfect as the bottle green Viragos that surely will come back around one day). And one of those Taylor novels will be getting a StuckinaBook review next week…
I’m off to Mottisfont by the time you read this (or, indeed, I may well have come back and we’ve carried on with our lives) – there’s an exhibition of Rex Whistler art that I’m excited about seeing. But that doesn’t mean that I’ll leave you miscellaniless (yes, it’s a word).
1.) The blog post – do see Kaggsy’s round up of the 1951 Club. And we’ve picked our next club year! Actually – you’ve chosen it: in the comments on our round ups, 1968 got the most votes. So, 23-29 October 2017 will be the #1968club! I’m already excited about it, as it seems (somewhat to my surprise) that I have lots of books from 1968 that I want to read. Maybe I’m not quite such an interwar-reader as I thought?
2.) The book – is by Will Rycroft. Will – erstwhile blogger, Waterstones employee, actor, and generally lovely bloke – has written about his experiences performing in War Horse, with the excellent title All Quiet on the West-End Front. It’s with Unbound – in case you’re unfamiliar with the format, it’s a crowd-funding publishing house. To find out more about the book, and look into funding options if you’re interested, head over to Unbound.
3.) The link – treat yourself to a video of a grammar/punctuation vigilante. My brother Colin and my friend Mel both live in Bristol and love good grammar, but promise it wasn’t them.
It’s sunny! The flowers are out! It’s probably freezing! I’ll find out shortly – but, before I head off for the day, I’ll leave you with a book, a blog post, and a link…
1.) The blog post – sorry, egomaniac alert, it’s one of mine: I was over a Vulpes Libris earlier this week, writing about C.S. Lewis’s book Letters to Malcolm: Chiefly on Prayer.
2.) The link – if you’re on Instagram, get voting for your favourite Agatha Christie book in a knock-out competition at The Year of Agatha.
3.) The book – I keep championing the latest Furrowed Middlebrow books, partly because Project 24 means I can’t rush out and buy them all. But I can heartily recommend Tom Tiddler’s Ground by Ursula Orange, which I am halfway through (and will be reviewing for Shiny New Books, and discussing on Tea or Books? soon).
Well, my weekend is going well – I’d planned to go on a National Trust jaunt, but had a lie-in instead – but later on today I’ll be going BOWLING for the first time in about eight years. Maybe I’ve just got better at it, without practising? Right?
Anyway, let’s stick to books for now – I feel on more secure ground there.
1.) The book – writing poetry every day without ever reading any is making me feel rather a fraud. And I was tempted by Zoo of the New, edited by Nick Laird and Don Paterson. The name is very silly, because this isn’t new poetry – it’s from Sappho onwards, excluding any living poets under sixty – but a flick through made it seem rather appealing, and not just the usual suspects. Anybody looked through this? Supposedly it’s published on 30th March, but it was in my local Waterstones last week. (Great cover, incidentally, which this blog tells me is designed by Richard Green.)
2.) The link – I’ve not read this yet, but my housemate was reading excerpts from the Guardian article about what happens when (if??) the Queen dies. It sounds fascinating – and I suspect the author was rather relieved that Her Maj didn’t die during his research period. As were we all, of course (love you, Lizzie!)
3.) The blog post – I’m just going to keep providing the world with links to reviews of The Lark by E. Nesbit until everybody gives in and just reads it. This week’s is from Call Me Madam!