Vincent Van Gogh
It is the artist's business to create sunshine when the sun fails
Romain Rolland French writer 1866-1944
The weather is foul - where and why is the Sun hiding itself? Derek Brockway, our lovely Welsh TV weather man says it’s all to do with the Jet Stream that is sweeping over us - I’ve never heard of it before but I wish it would sweep somewhere else. I think I will be curling up with a good book later when I have done a little more work on the family tree. Before I do though I promised I would tell you what books I have been reading, so here goes, there are some old, some new.
The Story of Lucy Gault - William Trevor. I love William Trevor books and always thought I had read this one but surprisingly it turned out I hadn’t. I happen to believe it is his best.
Now another Irish author - I hope I am not too biased.
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
This man writes so well, I have read all his books and this one is so lovely. It goes its way slowly, gently but so so smoothly and I am sure you will enjoy it.
The Road Home by Rose Tremain. I am reading this at the moment and I don’t like putting it down. It is not a ‘happy’ read, it’s about an economic migrant and doesn't exactly lift my mood in this grey weather but I will persevere as it is such good writing. I recommend it highly, every sentence is just perfect and a joy to read.
I am just about to read the new Salley Vickers. Did you know why she spells her name Salley by the way - it’s all down to Yeats and his poem Down by the Salley Gardens. Yeats was her father’s favourite poet. Salley means ‘willow’.
Also on my to-read shelf is The Reader by Bernhard Schlink - this has been recommended to me by two people, one is my daughter. I don’t think this will be a cheerful book either but I will read and report on it.
I have really enjoyed David Lodge’s Deaf Sentence - I won’t say any more as the Purplecoo Book Group have chosen it for discussion in a couple of month’s time. I would force it on you though as a must-read. Lodge is another of my favourite authors - he makes me laugh out loud. This book has more than just humour though……….
I am sure to find a laugh or two as well in Lucy Mangan’s
My Family and Other Disasters. I used to enjoy her extremely funny columns in The Guardian.
In a car boot sale recently I found a Diana Cooper book on angels - Angel Answers. If, like me, you believe in angels and have questions to ask, you will enjoy this one.
For my ever-present poetry-hunger I have borrowed from the library’s new additions:
Long-Haul Travellers by Sheenagh Pugh
And more poetry-food has been bought in Hay (as very cheap bargains)
Not in these Shoes by Samantha Wynne-Rhydderch.
All Alcoholics are Charmers (great title and written by Martina Evans who grew up in Cork).
Exemplary Damages by Dennis O’Driscoll, another Irish poet (Tipperary born).
Last but so very far from least comes a great favourite of mine, the great Kerry writer Brendan Kennelly and his book of three-liners called Now.
Here is a taste … I will open it at random., I am a great believer in oracling, what will it tell me I wonder?
Looking forward, it seemed like eternity.
Looking back now, it’s a moment.
I’ll settle for now.
When words make love to each other
some beautiful children are born
and the occasional monster.
How much of a man is lost in success?
Quite a lot she thinks, looking at the man
To whom she almost said yes.
Before I go I will give you a song version of the aforementioned poem: I sing this around the house or in the car myself when no-one is around.
My favourite YouTube version of the song could not be embedded - do go over and listen to Maura O’Connell and Karen Mathesa singing it together, it sent shivers down me.
Here are the words.
DOWN by the salley gardens my love and I did meet;
She passed the salley gardens with little snow-white
She bid me take love easy, as the leaves grow on the
But I, being young and foolish, with her would not
In a field by the river my love and I did stand,
And on my leaning shoulder she laid her snow-white
She bid me take life easy, as the grass grows on the weirs;
But I was young and foolish, and now am full of tears.
Well I will sign off now, there are more book titles I could suggest but I will save them for another time.
What are you reading?
Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,