Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Autumn reading and other matters

These are busy times. Last week, my Italian exam and my son's grammar school entrance test. This week, a job interview and graduation at the Bridgewater Hall in Manchester. It's times like these when reading gets pushed to the edges of my days. Yet it's at these moments when reading can keep me sane. Given all that's going on at the moment, it's good to have some things to dip into. I'm enjoying my Litfest related reading. Gillian Clarke's poetry and her reflections on the relationship between language and places in At the Source are a joy to read. I find myself reciting her lines out loud in the bath. 

Ear to the wall of the night. Listen
to your blood beat in the pulse of your pillow,
the water table rising in your bones,
the future drumming the ground like a train on the track.
I have short stories to entertain me too - Zoe Lambert's collection The War Tour and David Constantine's Tea at the Midland and other stories. The Midland Hotel in Morecambe is one of my favourite places. It was the subject for one of my first posts on this blog. I've always thought it would be a good setting for a short story and I'm rather miffed that Constantine beat me to it. I must admit he made a rather good job of it though, winning the 2010 BBC National Short Story Award.

On the prose front, I'm currently re-reading The Outsider by Camus. This book bowled me over when I was seventeen and I'm curious to see what effect it will have on me now. As you can probably tell, my Classics Club Challenge has taken a back seat over the last few weeks, so I'll be looking forward to getting back in the swing of things with Daphne du Maurier's My Cousin Rachel. Rebecca is the only du Maurier I've read until now, so this will be my literary box of chocolates over the coming weeks.

Finally, thanks to Lizzy's Literary Life I have The Bridge of the Golden Horn by Turkish writer Emine Sevgi Ozdamar. The story of a young Turkish migrant worker who comes to Germany, the review describes it as 'a witty, picaresque account of a precocious teenager refusing to become wise.' This was the second book I have won this year. Perhaps I'm on a lucky streak. I certainly hope so.


  1. Does every large town have its Midland Hotel? Certainly, Birmingham does. I wonder if it's something to do with the railway companies that ran between particular places? I'm not a railway buff but I think there was a company with Midland in the title.

    1. The railway connection hadn't occured to me before, Alex, but I think you're right.

      The Midland Hotel in Morecambe has in my biased opinion has to be one of the best. The views over Morecambe Bay are stunning. Well worth a trip if you're ever this far north.


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