Alexander Averin

Sunday, 22 November 2009

A Good Read

Dear Diary,

A great book should leave you with many experiences, and slightly exhausted. You should live several lives while reading it.

William Styron

After a night broken by thunder and lightning the monsoon season continues and we spend a lot of time watching the river to check if the water level has reached the bridge yet. The garden is one big Sog and I only venture out to empty the compost bin. We lit the woodburner this morning to cheer the cottage and even the dogs are happy to stay in by the fireside.

Today I did something I haven’t done in a long while - I read a book in one sitting. It was Love and Summer by William Trevor and I can highly recommend it. It takes a very special book to keep me in my armchair for four hours but this one is THE book. I had forgotten that it has been Booker short listed but I think it deserves to win and I am not biased just because it is an Irish novel. This man writes like a dream, the setting is an old Ireland and the pace is slow but it draws you in. It is unashamedly old-fashioned and very moving; I would say it is his best book yet. It did put me in mind of Colm Toibin's Brooklyn, if you haven't read that one it is another must-read,

I am starting John Banville’s The Infinities next, I will report back on that one.

Are there any blessings? Apart from books?

Well there are poems, here is one by one of my favourite poets, Czeslaw Milosz.

And Yet The Books

And yet the books will be there on the shelves, separate beings,
That appeared once, still wet
As shining chestnuts under a tree in autumn,
And, touched, coddled, began to live
In spite of fires on the horizon, castles blown up,
Tribes on the march, planets in motion.
“We are, ” they said, even as their pages
Were being torn out, or a buzzing flame
Licked away their letters. So much more durable
Than we are, whose frail warmth
Cools down with memory, disperses, perishes.
I imagine the earth when I am no more:
Nothing happens, no loss, it’s still a strange pageant,
Women’s dresses, dewy lilacs, a song in the valley.
Yet the books will be there on the shelves, well born,
Derived from people, but also from radiance, heights.

Czeslaw Milosz

Bye for now,
Happy Reading,

PS Here is another must-read.
Talking of books I have been meaning to recommend this blog for all teenagers who love reading.
It is called Wondrous Reads


The bike shed said...

'Derived from people but also from radiance, heights.'

Marvellous line.

And just look at that river

Lane Mathias said...

Hope the water level doesn't get any higher.

How lovely to read for four hours straight. Bad weather has some plus points:-)

Marcheline said...

Oh, Cait - another quintessentially perfect post. We may have to take you out back for a flogging. No one should post so beautifully without the occasional flogging, perhaps with some river reeds, or overcooked lasagna noodles. This will take some thought.

- M

Pamela Terry and Edward said...

The poem made me shiver. Magic.

I'm glad to hear about the William Trevor. I do like his work. And I loved Banville's, The Sea.

So sorry about your bad weather!

laurie said...

oh yes i loved "love and summer" and also "brooklyn" and do see a similarity in pacing and tone between the two books.

i'm reading "let the great world spin," which just won the national book award here in america. colum mccann.

ds said...

How wonderful to be "lost" in a book that way! Love the poem too; it is perfect. Thank you!

Nan said...

Such a wonderful poem. Thank you for posting it.