The calm after the storm.
After last week’s rant I have taken stock and decided that this week should be a far more optimistic piece looking to the future rather than dwelling on the rather bleak present. And to that end I spent a good couple of hours doing something that will never not be a sublime pleasure.
Browsing in a book shop.
I did this in Aldburgh a couple of weeks ago and the wonderful independent bookshop there had a brilliant system that meant you wore white cloth gloves whilst browsing therefore encouraging you to pick books up and browse. Once you’ve bought a couple and I imagine everyone does you then leave them at the exit to be rewashed for the following day. A lovely system to behold.
Not having a local independent, I took to Waterstones and still had a good rummage around the shelves despite being gloveless! This tradition set up my summer hols before teaching; with only 14 days off in the summer I would inevitably buy 14 books for the two weeks, to see them sitting on the bedside table a constant reminder that good times are around the corner. And so it still is, doesn’t matter where the holidays are, I’m taking lots of books! Tried a Kindle, not for me, I like the physical page-turning thing. So as well as the sounds this week you get three books for the summer to investigate. I enjoy a page-turner but also am becoming a huge fan of non-fiction concerning the countryside and ecology (no clue why, is it an age thing?)
The best two ‘thrillers’ I have read this year are Don Winslow‘s The Force – a stand alone book about policing New York and the fine line between greed, ambition and retribution. He writes with such elegance; sparing prose and snappy dialogue propel this character led charge to the bloody denouement. Fantastic and very tough to put aside. Secondly, John Connolly’s The Dirty South ( a nod certainly to Patterson’s boys Connolly being a ferocious music fan who has created playlists for many of his novels) , a prequel to his Charlie Parker series of gothic crime series. Connolly’s style is deeply poetic and this is as much a meditation of grief as it an investigation into a grisly series of murders. If you’ve not come across him before start with this or Every Dead Thing. Extraordinary writing from the top drawer.
The best recent book concerning things rural I have come across is a 1973 book by Richard Mabey The Unofficial Countryside which is both prophetic and timely all at the same time. Understated and full of gorgeous imagery and allusion. Something to stir the heart and the soul.
And so to the sounds, this week finds me on the margins. First a name that might be new to you Francis Lung with his baroque pop, secondly the late lamented Gin Blossoms and finally Jay Farrar’s best track.
As ever take what you want or need.