When it comes to poetry I have gone back to T S Eliot. Tough, in some ways savage, but a poet who knew how Europe had been affected by WW1. Particularly on a social level.
Just starting my fourth Graeber book - The Utopia of Rules: on Technology, Stupudity and the Secret Joys of Bureaucracy.
It’s promising to be yet another eye-openening, mindset-challenging book. I absolutely love his style, which is erudite - but never academic or dry (quite the opposite, in fact), and the depth and breadth of his arguments.
Incidentally, his book Debt: The First 5000 Years, which I recently finished, is highly recommended! It’s strangely prophetic regarding the political, economic and moral mess we’re currently in. What a book! I will be thinking about it for months to come…
Recently picked this book back up again. It’s a bit of fun and gives a simple description of each “element” with characteristics and some food matches along with mentions of similar wines you may like if you like the one your reading about. What it did was remind me I was concentrating on a few key elements and could really do with re-exploring. I suspect @Inbar has pretty much covered the table from her Community notes.
Just finished two popular science books by the trenchant Sabine Hossenfelder, Lost in Maths and Existential Physics. Boy would you like to be stuck in a lift with her? Actually , probably yes as I read them both twice after realising I’d got their published order back to front. If you are at all interested in scientific method, quantum physics or busting mythologies of all types( she’s no respecter of person our Sabine) have a look. After two readings of both I realise how much I still don’t understand. Job done Sabine!! We soldier on haha!
Just finished Russian Roulette, a life and times bio of Graham Greene by Richard Greene (no relation). A real insight into GG’s politics and his struggles with catholicism. Held my attention throughout.
Confessional! A long time ago a person very close to me gave me Nelson Mandela’s Long Walk to Freedom then vanished from my life. As a consequence I never read it and it has remained yellowing on the shelves till last year when lack of room meant I sat in front of our collected ouvre with a goal to shift stuff on. Unfortunately I found myself re-reading books from years ago and with relish! This is when my eyes focused on ‘the book’ and with a sizable sense of shame I took it out and resolved to read it. I’m glad I did. Books are so often the commentary on our journey through life. I recovered a part of my own journey as I hitched a lift with Mandela, late, for sure but oh such a great ride . Thank you P , where ever you are.
Pretty much everyone I buy a present for at Christmas gets a book. I wander bookshops sometimes with an idea what I want, sometimes not. I then distribute them, but some I keep.
Being an essentially shallow person I bought a poetry book by Ocean Vuong purely because I liked the name, it’s good. My wife immediately knew him and suggested I read ‘On earth we are briefly gorgeous’. Which I did, it too was lovely. Very lyrical.
I bought a fiction book recently. I tend to buy one every three or four years. My memory is shorter these days so it’s becoming more frequent.
Last time I finished a fiction book was in 2005.
I watch movies though.
First person on here (I think?) to admit to buying poetry books. Well done I’m a great poetry devotee and am on the management team (moderator) of the poetry website ‘writeoutloud’.
Keep the faith!
I think poetry has been mentioned previously. I’m in the middle of Max Hastings’ Abyss about the 1962 Cuban missile crisis which I well remember living through. Very well research and written. Amazed at how many swallowed Soviet denials until photo evidence showed the missiles present.
Massive poetry fan here too! 'twas probably the main reason why I did English Lit at Uni. I read it regularly - mostly old favourites, but also new discoveries.
I keep Francois Villon’s collected poems by the bedside. There is always something fascinating when I dip in.
I’m a serial poetry buyer and a scribbler too, and it’s probably a tiny factor in having a poet daughter. I have a great admiration for Heaney and Larkin and how they are able to draw out from the ordinary , extraordinary insights into the human condition. Well that’s what I get from them and I think it’s a great gift that they shared.
Old Pip is one of my heroes… Not as a person necessarily, but certainly as a poet for the reasons you describe.
Yes, separating the man from his work is my approach too, Larkin I mean. It becomes ever more difficult with people like Wagner, to veer off piste.
Actually, Wagner’s more problematic to the point that I try and avoid dealing with him but can’t help but acknowledge the musical genius when I do hear his works. I remember reading some years ago an article by Stephen Fry complaining of the same malady. Unlike him however , attending one of his music dramas is well beyond me.
For the Haruki Murakami fans here (and I know there are a few!):
Brilliant. I hope we don’t have to wait too long for the translation. Surely David Mitchell (the Cloud Atlas one) is due a new one soon too eh?
With his current international popularity I’m sure the translation(s) is already underway.
I’ve just finished Virginia Woolf’s Three Guineas - her sequel to Room of One’s Own, written in 1938. A thought-provoking (not to mention anger-provoking) book, comparing (not very subtly) Patriarchal structures to Fascism.
Powerful and painful to read at times, even after 84 years and a much better experience as a woman in the 21st century.
Do you know this?
Just a couple of episodes available on BBC Sounds at the moment. Brilliant writing and cast, who must have great fun making it.
Edit: Also ‘In Our Time’ on Radio 4 right now!