This month, it feels like I mostly forgot how to write stuff in coherent paragraphs. I read a whole bunch. I made a whole bunch of notes, and bullet points of interconnected ideas. It’s probably about time I did that whole join-the-dots together with actual words and thoughts thing. Also, it’s time I dusted off some of the things I have written, in more tortuous form, over the summer, and make them blog-able. Wouldn’t that be nice for you? In the meantime, this was the month that was…
(1) Things which I have read and enjoyedI done reading this month. I killed at it. Admittedly, I spent ten days on holiday in Cornwall and on the Isles of Scilly (it looked like that photo, pretty much), which basically equals ALL OF THE READING.
The Ocean at the End of the Lane - Neil Gaiman. Me and Neil Gaiman go in fits and starts (Neverwhere, Stardust, Good Omens = big yays; American Gods = much less yays; knowing too much about the author because of social media = much, much less yays, unfortunately), but I really really liked this, which makes sense as I like his shorter, more fairytale-y stuff, and this was really nicely English and folkie in a lot of ways. It charmed.
Eleanor and Park - Rainbow Rowell. OMG YOU GUYS, OMG. I read Fangirl earlier this year, and loved it. I think this might be even better. It’s so astute in its take on its subjects, and so captures that ‘oh hey, you too, I thought I was the only one’ feeling. It broke my heart in all the right ways.
The Bone Clocks - David Mitchell. See here for my reflections on marmite-like book. I like marmite (I don’t know why people don’t like marmite).
Vile Bodies - Evelyn Waugh. Nuh-ah. Sorry Waugh, didn’t work for me. I like my satire less all-over-the-place, apparently.
A Tale for the Time Being - Ruth Ozecki. Aka the book that inspired me to have a conversation with my vicar (who was a physics teacher) that went something like:
Me: “So, the multiverse… do you have a theological perspective on this?” Him: “Nooo, I’ve not really thought about it.” Me: “Because I’ve also been reading about open theism a bit, and I’m wondering if they might work together in some way to talk about foreknowledge and free will and…”
I’ll explain that more at a later date. But for now, I really very much enjoyed this, even before it got into quantum mechanics and philosophy, and it’s nowhere near as hard work as any of that makes it sound.
(2) Things which I have watched and enjoyedA Most Wanted Man, which was a really good, grown up film about grown up things, that took its subject and its audience seriously, without being precious. I happen to think the book is one of Le Carré’s best post-Cold War books, but I also really liked the way the film gave a different perspective on it from the novel, so they can stand alone and together. Also, Philip Seymour Hoffman was phenomenal, and, ultimately, heartbreaking. If you know what happens at the end of the story, you’ll understand.
I also saw Francesca Hayward’s fabulous debut as Manon at the Royal Ballet. It was everything the Guardian review said it was, and I’m so glad I accidentally bought matinee tickets and took a half-day off because I didn’t notice that she and Ed Watson were on in an afternoon when I eagerly picked them as my pair for it.
(3) Things which I wrote that I’m fond of… I wrote about The Bone Clocks (see above) and also about the pain of trying to get rid of books when preparing to move house. I am still offering up duplicate ancient history works, and also the later work of Giles Foden (Zanzibar and Turbulence - both in hardback, if you fancy that kind of thing). There’ll probably be more.
(4) Most Distracting Thing on the Internet Still the San Francisco Giants, who are in the postseason, and still coming to me through live-streaming.
Times you wish you weren’t superstitious about sport and the idea that once something goes well for your guy(s) you can’t leave your spot? 3am on a Sunday morning in the 16th inning of a ludicrous play-off game. I once watched the fifth set of a Wimbledon final with a pillow on my head, though, because that’s how I was when Federer won the fourth set, so it’s not like its anything new for me. I’m totally realistic about my ability to alter the progress of sporting events halfway around the world with the power of mind and the position of my body on a chair.
None of this really has anything to do with the internet…
(5) In the pile for October I’m part way through both Station Eleven and The Brothers K, and if I could read one through each eyeball, I would do that.
Then I have some beautiful new editions of Richard Brautigan, which I’ve never read, and Marilynne Robinson’s latest, Lila, is in the mail to me. Oh, and I need to read Hons and Debs for book club.