I’ll be trying Richard Ford’s ‘Lay of the Land’. I’ve read The Sportswriter, the first in the trilogy, three times and its time to move on. Even so I’ll probably crack on with a second run through Sebald’s The Emigrants. The Whitsun Weddings is always light in the luggage. And I’ve ordered all four back issues of Archipelago – which isn’t. For fishy words I’ll be packing At The Loch of the Green Corrie by Andrew Grieg, which I’ve started but would rather read on when I’m in Scotland. And Viz of course.
Jostein Gaarder – Through A glass Darkly. A great short book from the author of Sophie’s World, its about a young girl who has terminal cancer, and her conversations with an angel whilst her family huddle around her, already in grieving mode. They talk about the wonderment of all the things in nature and life that we take for granted, until confronted with mortality that is! The stuff we all forget about whilst fiddling with our I phones, Yes it is all a bit hippy diddly, but it made me step outside myself, which is what books should do.
The Canal by Lee Rourke (Melville House). In his first novel – his acclaimed short story collection Everyday came out in 2007 – Lee Rourke captures that sense of modern urban alienation that is only enlived – or sometimes heightened – by chance encounters. The London canal formes the centre point for one such couple’s encounter as Rourke stylishly meditates on the philosophy of boredom. Boredom as disease, as indulgence and ultimately as a viable antidote to hollow 21st century living. Pigeons, urban development and the invisible drift of the murky waters are all signifiers brilliantly conspiring to re-create a world any city dweller will recognise.