In which I review/speculate on/suffer mild anxiety about the books piling up at home. In this edition: a picture book, a poetry collection, a modern classic, a book on creativity and business and a local novel by a guy called Paddy.
Boy oh boy, are they piling up. Is it because it’s coming up to Christmas? I don’t know. I’m so not even through the previous piles. Not that I have a problem with any of this, but you know, space. Eek!
I have been in love with the work of Maurice Sendak for a long time. And no, it wasn’t Where The Wild Things Are that got me over the line. It was actually In The Night Kitchen, which I still think is a superb story for kids and grown-ups alike. Since Sendak’s death in 2012, I have thought of him more and more. And I have loved the process of discovering and re-discovering his wonderful earlier work, like his many collaborations with author Ruth Krauss. I’m working on putting together my collection, and this one is a ripper. You don’t see many kid’s books like this anymore – it is not so much a story as random thought-snippets and images on friendship and childhood. It is lovely.
Also, if you click on the hyperlink of the title above, you can view a sample of this book through the HarperCollins website!
I’m a very big fan of Pixar animations, and I’m a fan of the way they seem to treat their stories – they have a reputation for working on scripts for a long time before committing anything to pictures. They value good storytelling and good characterisation and seem genuinely interested in what their work has to say, rather than just how it will look. As a writer and reader and film-lover, all these things feel right. Despite the author’s recent involvement in what can only be described as a bit of a cataclysmic mess as far as the animation world is concerned, which of course will now colour everything I read in this, I look forward to getting to understand more about how business and creativity mix for these guys. The subtitle (Overcoming The Unseen Forces That Stand In The Way Of True Inspiration) is a pretty big statement to make. I have my fingers crossed.
SCANNING THE CENTURY: The Penguin Book of the Twentieth Century in Poetry Edited by Peter Forbes
Do you read poetry? Do you like it? I’m trying to get more excited about poetry. I’ve read some poems that just make my head spin in giddy delight, they are so wonderful. And there are others that I read and wonder how they are anything but a not-even-very-good bout of word vomit. But I try. I picked up this brick of a book (and yes, while it violates my swearing off brick-sized books), it’s really just a big collection I can dip in and out of rather than reading from beginning to end, so it makes the cut. This is an interesting collection too, the idea being that it brings together Twentieth Century poetry about the Twentieth Century. There are chapters on Communism, The Sixties, Civil Rights, The Holocaust, and Science & Technology. I’ve not come across a collection compiled quite like this before. It seems more authentic than just a straight ‘Greatest Hits’ type of compilation, as it’s to do with context and meaning rather than just, well, flowery language.
Also, I love that this particular book once belonged to some poor soul studying English at high school. Inside the front cover, the hand-written name reads ‘Clementine Hubbard, Year 11 Fer’. Hello Clementine, wherever you are! I take it you weren’t so fond of poetry as you gave this volume away. Don’t worry, I will try and take good care of it…
EVERYTHING IS ILLUMINATED by Jonathan Safran Foer
Yeah, yeah, yeah, I really should read this book. I KNOW. My wonderful friend Margaret gifted me this (after working out I had not read it yet) and also the book below for my birthday earlier this year. I think I have been scared to read anything by JSF because everyone seems to have read everything of his, and kinda like the film Titanic*, I get a bit put off. I do need to try though. I also have a copy – someone else’s copy – of Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close, given to me by a writer’s group mate who really wanted me to read it. It has been sitting on my shelf, unread, for at least three years. I got some work to do.
*Yes it’s true, I have never seen Titanic, but more on that another time…
An Australian novel about magical humans, I do so hope I enjoy it. My only knowledge of this book is an episode of the First Tuesday Book Club where most of the panellists didn’t seem too chuffed, as I recall. I look forward to making up my own mind. Also, Paddy isn’t a guy. Rock on.
So, what’s on top of your book pile?