Thursday, 22 February 2018

Personal Collections

The other day, my granddaughter helped herself to my collection of old, treasured books and proceeded to read me a story which she made up herself, pretending to read it from the book she had to hand. Quite remarkable for a three-year old or regularly informs me that she is “Four in September . I mention this to illustrate that books are still alive, well and exist in the world of an infant, as well as that of their owner, a 64 year old who treats these books like old friends and is precious about their wellbeing. Having said that it is a delight to me that my darling Elsie shows as much interest in the dusty volumes, and their 100 year old cabinet, as my older human fiends, who like me still hold books in a higher esteem than most E Readers available. Yes, I do own a Kindle Fire for travel, and it works well when I’m on the road. But like a real fire and a Sunday roast, there is nothing, in my world at least, that comes close to hunkering down with an old book that like me, has seen better days.

Monday, 8 January 2018

Alternative Travel Guides.

Go into any bookshop or look online, and you will find countless travel guides for all corners of the UK and worldwide. I have mostly resisted this kind of book, as they usually trample over the same ground as other guides, with similar or matching information shepherding tourists down the same streets and alleyways, which can be dull and overblown.

What I tend to do is find an alternate guide, a novel, an old map etc; and go off looking for something underneath the regular information. For instance, this Spring I’m planning a two day jaunt in London UK, walking in the footsteps of Charles Dickens with two fantastic books ‘Dickens London’ and his famous ‘Sketches By Boz’, both rich in description of a London long gone, of which snippets can still be traced.

This I’m sure will be much more fun, more entertaining as I read the beautiful text and see London of old come alive off the pages.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

The Space Between Christmas & New Year

The period between December 27 and December 31, can be a kind of ‘no mans land’, and needs filling with something worthwhile. For me it’s a book, always a book and/or a movie. This year I’ve struck gold with AndrĂ© Aciman’s utterly brilliant, funny and moving book ‘Call Me By Your Name’.
At the time of writing I’m well into the book and viewed the film trailer a dozen or so times.

It’s the quality of the writing that’s keeping me up reading well into the small hours, and every spare moment as we snow board into the new year. I don’t normally read books a second time, but with this stunning piece of work, there might be an exception. Back in 2018 to talk about the film adaptation.

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

From Book To Film

Some books don’t really take to the big screen, but ‘Stories Of Your Life’ which was adapted to become ‘Arrival’, was done with precision. Ted Chiang’s short story about the unannounced visit to Earth by twelve alien spacecraft,  and the first contact by an expert in linguistics, is moving, thought provoking and chilling in parts.

My advice would be to read the book first, then go to the movie. This is more than your average SciFi  book or movie. For weeks I couldn’t get either out of my head, but that wasn’t an unpleasant experience. Over Christmas I will watch the movie again, as I have so many books to read. Easily the best and most joyous read of 2017.

Friday, 27 October 2017

A Lost Poet? Maybe?

Over the years William McGonagall has had a bad press. Those 'In the know' often say he was no poet, just a mediocre writer who dabbled in verse. I understand where they are coming from, but I don't think he was as bad as that. This book is the complete collection of a man who is not so much forgotten, but one who academics like to forget. I found this book highly entertaining, and would recommend it, just to give one an opportunity to make ntheir own minds up, and not to be talked down to.

I Love A Diary

I have kept regualar diaries for over 25 years, to me it's an essential part of my life, who I am, and in recording history as I see it, helping historians many years from now make sense of the life of a simple man. That was quite a mouthful, but I am a true lover of diaries and journals and this one 'The Diary of a Nobody' , should be read by everybody who keeps day to day journals. It's the kind of thing that wouldn't be printed in these politically correct times, with it's vivid descriptions of life in a 'middle' class London Superb. I believe it's still in print and is a bloody good read.

Tuesday, 10 October 2017

Fiction Within Fiction

To be honest, this book would be better understood and appreciated if you take a look at Series One of 'Californication', which starred David Duchovny in the role of the book's author, 'Hank Moody'. In other words the book is taken straight out of the series in it's own right and is a excellent read.

It's a coming of age tale by college dropout and all the baggage that he collects along his road to a living hell.  Beautifully written I have to say, and great to read as you watch the character Moody bumble in and out of explosive situations, throughout the series, particularly the first.