Monday, 19 January 2009

Ready? Let the intellectualism begin.

It would seem an opportune time to do a post about books. Because we haven't had one for a while and because, well, I need the proof. When I first started blogging, I thought I would use it as a way of recording books I had read.

Weeks have passed, and I have given you complaints about being tired, pictures of a bike taken by a four-year-old, and a conversation overhead in a ladies' toilet about suitable shoes for older men. You can be excused for having thought of me as someone who never reads any books.

So here is pile of some of my recent reads that I just flung (flung! I say! I didn't arrange them, of course not) onto the floor.

The Power of Now, by Eckhart Tolle, recommended to me by a yoga teacher, is a book about living in the present moment. It's an ongoing project - not an easy one for someone like me who has practised anxiety almost professionally for many years. Sometimes I read the book and think, yes, this is IT! And other times I read it whilst muttering and frowning unattractively.

The Art of Happiness by the Dalai Lama. Look, I know my limitations. I'm not going to try to paraphrase the Dalai Lama.

The Room of Lost Things, by Stella Duffy. I get so bored of literature being All About London, that a book focused on the people living in a small area of London didn't immediately appeal. But in fact it was a wonderful read, an insight into the shifts in a community over generations, a book of connections and loneliness.

The End of Mr Y, by Scarlett Thomas. Mr Coffee read this and went on excitedly about how much he had learned about quantum physics and other worthy subjects during his enjoyment of it. I read it wondering why on earth people were talking about quantum physics and other worthy subjects all the way through, particularly at times when men were trying to track the characters down and kill them, or when they were alone in a room with the love of their lives never knowing if they were ever going to meet again. It was exciting; it was frustrating: personally, I didn't come away remembering a thing about quantum physics.

Never The Bride, by Paul Magrs. Oh, this is FUN. So much fun. Dark and insane and FUN. Two little old ladies - one with a hidden past - encounter gothic horror, dark magic, ancient vampires, alien visitors and evil hoteliers as they take their tea in the atmospheric seaside town of Whitby. Insane and fantastic. I have the next two books in the series in a pile at the side of my bed.

The Telling, by Jo Baker. Maybe you're looking for a ghost story, or maybe a love story. Perhaps you want to read about a contemporary woman; or maybe you fancy something with social history woven into the story. Obviously something with strong characterisation and emotional truth; a page-turner, a beautiful read. Well this is ALL THAT and more. And I'm not just saying that because the Eldest Latte knows the author's son, because if I didn't like the book I could have just hidden it behind the sofa and pretended I'd never read it, couldn't I?

And now for the latest project. Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell by Susanna Clarke.

I have read - ooh, 20 pages now, and it is very good. But it is BIG. Look.

I have measured it in the accredited Coffee House Unit of Measurement for Books, and it is scary. It is bigger than a whisky. It is bigger than an espresso.

Wish me luck. I'm going in.


  1. oh real books! this year so foar I've read Robert the Rose horse, and too much Horrid Henry.........

  2. Someday I'll actually finish the Eckhart Tolle...apparently my Pain Body doesn't want me to do it. As for the Dalai Lama -- heck, you don't even have to read the book; just bask in that smile! Finally, not all literature is set in London; it's set in London and New York City. BOR-ing. (Can't wait to sink my teeth [haha] into the vampire/alien/hotelier book...)

  3. OK, your pile makes mine look positively lightweight.

    Though Jonathan Strange - lovely stuff! I have read and loved a book of short stories by the same author (The Ladies of Grace Adieu) and am waiting for my turn with the big book ...

  4. So far this year I've read "The Reader," "Miss Buncle's Book," and "Rebecca." Right now I'm in the middle of "Elizabeth and her German Garden."

    I will add your recent reads to my reading list as well. I'm all geared up to read 52 books this year!

    PS- 2008 = 37 books (fail)

  5. OOh Mr Marmalade read that same book (the big one) and also commented just that "it's a big book - it's going to take ages", but I am happy to report that he was glued to it and thoroughly enjoyed it! x

  6. I hope you do like Jonathan Strange. It is very big, but I liked it a lot. I will try a few of yours -- maybe Never the bride -- Thanks!


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