It’s not surprising that cookery books are the ones that come in for the most punishment. This one gets referred to mainly for the Christmas Eve meal (several courses, most of them fish, in great haste, between the carol service and Midnight Mass) and flavoured vodkas (most of them go like this: dump flavoured component in vodka; leave to steep; strain).
I don’t drive. I do cycle, though. So do many other people in my life. I bought this book for one of them as a birthday present and restrained myself with great difficulty from reading the whole thing before I wrapped it up.
Active Anglicans may well know Dave Walker from his work for the Church Times. His cycling cartoons are just as funny and well-observed.
Quite often, a book catches my eye and I know the name because it’s been mentioned in another book. Here’s a case in point. Edmund de Waal is Elisabeth de Waal’s son; he talks about The Exiles Return in The Hare with Amber Eyes:
In December 1945 Elisabeth decides that she has to return to Vienna to find out who and what remains. And to rescue the picture of her mother and bring her home.
Elisabeth wrote a novel about her journey. It is unpublished. And unpublishable, I think, as I appraise it in typescript, 261 pages with painstaking tippexed corrections. The rawness of its emotion makes for uncomfortable reading.
It did in fact get published: Persephone, who specialise in obscure and out of print titles by women, brought it out in 2013. I bought it the other week, having read, and loved, The Hare with Amber Eyes earlier in the year.
This book is rather interesting: it’s a collection of poems chosen by modern poets, who in turn write a poem inspired by or addressed to or arguing with the poem they chose.
I don’t know about zero tolerance, but some of the poets have very little patience with the poems they’re talking to.
Did you know E. M. Forster wrote sci-fi? I didn’t!
The Provincial Lady inhabits a very different world from the one that we live in, but her constant battle with domestic chaos is nevertheless familiar. And very funny.
Is it possible to get earwormed with a fictional song? A song that exists only in a book? I think Ann Leckie may have managed this with:
My heart is a fish
Hiding in the water-grass
In the green, in the green
and particularly with:
It all goes around, the station goes around the moon, it all goes around…
… My mother said it all goes around, it all goes around, the ship goes around the station