There's so much more to reading than simply reviewing, and that is what I wish to capture here. The joy of discovery, random thoughts that drift through one's mind while reading, how where and when one reads a book impacts on the response to it.
A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness, that I borrowed from the library and read earlier this year but wanted a copy of my own to keep . It is a beautifully produced book, one I could flick through for hours just looking at the illustrations. Like the art of Shaun Tan, it would be suited to enlarging and framing and hanging from the wall. Well, if it weren't so dark and foreboding, anyway.
As if that wasn't enough books to keep me busy, on returning to work I found a mound of books that I had requested from publishers. Forthcoming and recently published books by the likes of Joe Dunthorne, Dalgit Nagra, Hari Kunzru, Anna Funder, Esi Edugyan, Erin Morgenstern, and more. It was like having my birthday all over again, and when I came to the last pile I couldn't believe my luck. There, on the bottom of the pile, were proofs of Murakami's forthcoming 1Q84. I hadn't expected there to be proofs, much less that I would be sent one!
Expecting to get something I've put on my birthday list, lets me anticipate it, get used to the idea of wanting it, and plan when to read it. I love it. But presents are best of all when they anticipate what you most want, and give you a complete surprise. Nothing could have beaten the excitement I felt on finding the Murakami proofs.
I'm off to Edinburgh this week, to check out some authors at the International Book Festival, and play an ingenious place specific poetry game at the Fringe Festival. Run by Cambridge poet Ross Sutherland and social games entrepreneurs Hide and Seek, Hinterland is, according to their website, "about the space that appears when we speak languages that aren’t our mother tongue. And maybe also a bit about how rubbish so many of us tend to be at speaking languages other than English." I don't fully understand it, as yet, but it sounds intriguing, and the collage poem Ross created as a result of their last collaboration recreated the atmosphere or walking alone through an urban night, and is well worth a listen.
I'll let you know what it's like, and which authors caught my eye, next week. In the meantime I have twelve hours or train journey's ahead of me in which to read some of the books I haven't had a chance to yet this year. I'm definitely taking Naomi Wood's The Godless Boys, and probably The Echo Chamber by Luke Williams. But what else I haven't yet decided. Could go for highly rated The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern, or possibly The Street of Crocodiles. I'm saving 1Q84 for a luxuriant treat when I get back home.