Thursday, 28 January 2010

Are you a good reader?

Trawling through Book blog land this lunch time, I came on this fascinating, and far more intellectually weighty, article on re-reading. Obviously this is something I have been contemplating recently (seeing as the foreseeable future of my life will re reading) and so I was naturally pleased to hear that Nabakov (dead+russian=must be right) believed that re-reading was essential to become A Good Reader.
Actually he said that we should, "notice and fondle." Which quite frankly is a theme that he seemed quite keen on.

He also compiled the following quiz for his students which I have shamelessly stolen from the lovely,

Less of a yes or no type of quiz, it's more of a provoke discussion kind of thing. Just pick the four answers you think are most accurate.

  1. The reader should belong to a book club
  2. The reader should identify himself or herself with the hero or heroine
  3. The reader should concentrate on the social-economic angle
  4. The reader should prefer a story with action and dialogue to one with none
  5. The reader should have seen the book in a movie
  6. The reader should be a budding author
  7. The reader should have imagination
  8. The reader should have memory
  9. The reader should have a dictionary
  10. The reader should have some artistic sense

Personally I'm going with: 2, 7, 8 & 10. But that's just me...

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

A sorbet for you

Bit of a manic week has somewhat slowed down my progress. Fortunately a nice long train ride down to should give me a chance to properly get into Waiting for Columbus. As a substitute for any real review I thought I’d share a little more of Monsieur Trofimuk’s rather lovely words with you.

On his website the, rather ambiguously, titled The Sorbets caught my eye, so I had a little look. In the words of their author Sorbet are, “ Raw, unfinished snapshot poems, or short prose pieces” designed to provide a moment of light relief to his subscribers. Or as he puts it, far more eloquently,

“They are intended as a breath of metaphor, a small poetic break, in between the work-week, and the weekend.”

How nice is that? Well I suppose that is dependant on whether you find raw prose relaxing. Here’s an example on his website from 2007.


this morning I stopped

looked up into the elms –

looked for the black, flirting dots of birds

sparrows, chickadees, maybe a pine siskin or three –

the tough-it-out through winter birds

who, this morning, had the audacity to sing

while my mind was on a thousand other things

like money and daughters and wives and work and writing,

and I really wanted to get back inside the warm car –

to get out of minus C plus a wind-chill

But I stopped this morning and looked up –

breathed bird sound deep into my gut – eyes closed,

I felt something akin to bliss, and inside my exhalation

a smile appeared – a simple, joyous smile, just because.

I felt profoundly happy to be above ground,

shivering on the sidewalk mid-winter with bird song

quivering delightful in my mouth.

If you’re feeling suitably zen-like you might want to subscribe to Trofimuk’s weekly Sorbet dispatch. Follow the instructions here.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Is it bad I want this...

Oh! It's a cow, and it's pink and it's my new antidote to the grotty, duvet-longing days of January! This rather delightful and completely impractical bookshelf is by Brazilian designer, Dennys Tormen. Find it and lots more truly beautiful bookshelves here.

Right back to Columbus...

Not quite the same as mine...

As a footnote to the earlier book cover blunder I have it from a very reliable source that the new cover looks a bit like this. Well actually exactly like this, as it is the cover. Mmmm. Should have gone with the blue.

Meet Columbus

So… New Year, new blog and a new resolution to write at least twice a week.

In keeping (ish) with the new theme I seem to have developed, the first book from the shelf this year is so new it’s not even been released yet. The lovely people at Picador have kindly sent me a proof of Thomas Trofimuk’s latest novel, “Waiting for Columbus” which is due to come out in shops February this year.

Check out his website here.

It’s the Canadian’s third book, though I have to admit I haven’t read either of his previous novels, The 52nd Poem, or Doubting yourself to the Bone.

Never mind though, first impressions are looking good. Lovely blue cover, (which I was admiring earlier until my housemate pointed out this was just the proof paper… oh well.) The blurb says lots of promising kerfuffle too... Audrey Niffegger's name is bandied around, as is Lovely Bones.

And this is what Picador says.

"Found semi-naked in the treacherous Strait of Gibraltar, the mysterious man called Columbus appears to be just another delirious patient, until he begins to tell the 'true' story of how he famously obtained three ships from Spanish royalty."

Right then.