Hello, friends. I hope you’re having beautiful, restful, joyful holidays!
This week, I want to gloat over my recent haul of books. My birthday falls soon after Christmas and while this is sometimes a disadvantage (after all the December festivities, nobody ever wants to go out for my birthday), it’s delightful to look at the stack of fantastic books I’ve accumulated in just a few days. This year, I was especially thrilled to receive these:
From the top:
A. Roger Ekirch, At Day’s Close: Night in Times Past. Ekirch argues that nighttime, far from being an uneventful pause for sleep (or tossing and turning), used to have “a distinct culture, with many of its own customs and rituals”. As an intermittent insomniac, I expect to find this inspiring!
Jo Shapcott, Of Mutability. I’ve long loved Shapcott’s poetry. This collection is haunted by illness, aging, and the spectre of death. The title poem begins, “Too many of the best cells in my body/are itching, feeling jagged, turning raw/in this spring chill. It’s two thousand and four/and I don’t know a soul who doesn’t feel small/among the numbers. Razor small.”
Ali Smith, How to Be Both. I’m not-so-secretly intimidated by this one, which starts like a roared poem. I’ll need to be fully awake to keep up.
Caitlin Moran, How to Build a Girl. I love Caitlin Moran but this is a PG blog. You may google it for yourselves.
Martin Amis, The Zone of Interest. Who else would dare to write a satirical novel about the Holocaust?
A. N. Wilson, Victoria: A Life. The jacket flap describes her as “one of the most passionate, expressive, humorous and unconventional women who ever lived”. I imagine that Wilson would strongly disapprove of my borrowing of Queen Victoria in The Traitor in the Tunnel, but I’m not interested in his approval. Bring it!
How about you, readers? What books did you give or receive? Oh, and Happy New Year! I’ll see you back here next week, in 2015.