Tuesday, 11 April 2017

Remembering the poet William Jones.

This year I'm on a mission to bring due recognition to a poet, whose body of work has been long forgotten. His name is William Jones, born in Cosby, Leicestershire, and died in Pelham Street, Leicester in January 1855, age 47.

Sons of poverty assemble,
Ye whose hearts with woe are riven.
Let the guilty tyrants tremble,
Who your hearts such pain have given.
We will never from the shrine of truth be driven.

From Spread The Charter far and Wide, 1842

He was a chartist and work activly for many years with the movement in Leicester. Although not a great poet, his work deserves a wider audience, and my intention is to organise some public readings and give talks about hime and his life. His gravestone is now visible in the churchyard of St. Michael and All Angels, in the village of Cosby. Pelham Street still exists, but nothing remains of his house where he lived with his wife Sarah for many years.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

Each And Every Day

For many years, I've been a sucker for 'Every Day' books, a poem, saying, verse etc, and my three constant companions are the three shown here. The Tolstoy was a present for my 50th birthday, thirteen years ago. The Words of Jesus came from one of these overstuffed book outlets, and the Read Me, A Poem A Day, I rescued from a damp boys outside a second hand book shop in Leicester. All in there own way add to may day or night, depending on when I choose to read.

These kind of books tend to be the Christmas or birthday present that nobody wants. And after a suitable period of time are discretely loaded into a plastic bag with other non desirable, and shunted into the nearest charity shop. But I love them, they are I suppose a kind of comfort blanket in my twilight years and for that alone, I make no apology.

Saturday, 21 January 2017

A Man Who Stood For His Principles

It's fair to say that the majority of Joe Public have never heard of Desmond Doss, the Seventh Day Adventist, who received the Medal of Honor for his incredible bravery on the island of Okinawa, in the Pacific theatre of World War 2 Desmond was a conscientious objector, but chose to enlist and work as a non-combatant.

Seventy five wounded men were caught in the crossfire of what was nothing less than a bloodbath, but Doss scaled the cliffs and one, brought them to safety. His story and bravery have now been dramatized in the film 'Hacksaw Ridge', directed by Mel Gibson. This book however, written by his wife Frances, is the real deal, rich in detail, it tells of the everyday humiliation Desmond endured from his fellow soldiers, and how he bolstered by his Christian faith, came to be respected by all those he saved, and many more besides.

Free of gushing sentimentality, 'Desmond Doss Conscientious Objector' is both a fascinating and moving read and well worth seeking out if you intend to see the movie.

Wednesday, 5 October 2016

Who Were You?

When I go shopping for second hand books, which I do quite often, one of the first things I do is look inside the front and back covers for inscriptions, labels, stickers, anything in fact that sheds light on previous owners. I have a number of books now that have left clues and sometimes trails as to who owned or skipped through the pages.

This one for instance belonged to a Luther Buckler for Sunday School Attendance. Given out on January 24, 1932. What a beautiful snapshot of a time now long gone before the catastrophe of the war that followed. I wonder if Mr Buckler survived?, but whatever happened. His achievement at the Sunday School in Chapel End, is preserved in my bookcase. 

Saturday, 3 September 2016

Summer Reflection

We are just into September and the rain is falling, signalling I fear the beginning  of the end to the hot days we've been all enjoying of late. And for me, to look back on my summer reading list, to see if I've achieved all that I wanted in book consumption.

I don't think I've done too badly, about 12 to 15 books either completed, and/or in the process of being finished. There has also bee a dramatic shift in my book habits, with listening more than ever to 'audio or talking books', and watching movie adaptations of famous and not so well known books, like Erskine Caldwell's 'God's Little Acre'.

So all in all I've had a wonderful literary summer, with the inclusion of lots and lots of poetry, and an abundance of journal writing. More of the same I hope, although mostly indoors I guess, for thre coming Autumn. 

Monday, 25 July 2016

Summer A Time To Read

Books are my passion, if there was one thing I couldn't do without it is a pile of books, pretty much any kind to pass away the hours, especially during the summer months. Either under a large umbrella in our tiny back garden, or just inside the conservatory door, escaping the downpours, devouring pages of an 'unknown' chapter, or revisiting an old favourite, reading is my drug of choice.

So far this season, I've consumed twelve or more books, and my life is richer for the process. Writing about them is another story, so all I can do is recommend, sometimes on mass, different books that have passed through my reading list. One that has stood head and shoulders above the rest is 'The Curate's Wife' by E.H. Young, an author who has been sadly neglected in the last forty years or so. Another book to recommend is Dorothy Whipple's 'Someone At A Distance'. Written in 1953, it deals with the breakup of a highly respected family by a French au pair, and the consequences that follow. Highly controversial for the time.

So there is two to be getting on with, more to follow. Happy reading. 

Friday, 4 March 2016

World Book Day

World Book Day was actually yesterday, Thursday March 3, 2016. The reason I'm a day late in talking about it is 'Technology', or my lack of understanding of how things work. I tried last night to enter this blog post on my IPod Touch, but for the life of me, it wouldn't have it. But the day panned out well, and I indulged in my passion of books from dawn to Dusk, highlighting the books that I've read or caught my eye recently, and making images of them.

I'm now living the retirement I always dreamed about, each and every day there is a book to hand to cherish, share, write about and to make an image of. There are writing conferences and poetry festivals ahead, and there are some truly excellent poetry podcasts to listen to. So here are the images from World Book Day 2016. The only disappointment this year is that I didn't have the chance to give books out to friends and neighbours as I have done in the past. But World Book 'Night' is not too far away, maybe then I can take on the roll of 'Book Santa'. Back soon.