Alexander Averin

Thursday, 19 July 2012

All things bookish

Moonlit Flit 

I discovered this wonderful local artist recently.  Hares feature a lot in her work which pleased me no end.

Dear Diary,

Perhaps, when we’re half-asleep
the same hand that sows the stars
trails across the galactic lyre...
the dying wave reaching our lips
as two or three true words.

Don Paterson

All things books today. Perhaps I am in the mood for escapism from this vile weather. Never mind, a heat wave is coming soon or so they tell me.  I will believe it when I see it.

What is beside my bed?

Selected Poems by Don Paterson
Peaches for Monsieur Le Cure by Joanne Harris a kind of follow-on (a return) from Chocolat which I adored).
The News Where You Are by Catherine O’ Flynn
The Life of Rebecca Jones by Angharad Price.

What have I been reading lately?

The Lifeboat by Charlotte Rogan.  I took this with me to France recently and read some of it while I was on the ferry to St Malo. Probably not the book to read while you are at sea but I did survive. Like the sea, this book can be disturbing, dark and deep and it certainly got me thinking; it might be a good choice for my book group to read. Do try it.

I have been back from Brittany a few weeks now but I left a part of me there so I have read a few books with a French theme. I can heartily recommend The Price of Water in Finisterre, it’s not new and I did hear parts of it on Radio 4 a long while ago but the book is fantastic. More of a memoir, it is beautifully written by a poet, do try it if you haven’t already whether you love France as much as me or not.

I am starting to listen to Book at Bedtime this week which is Ancient Light by a favourite Irish writer of mine, John Banville. I am hoping that I will benefit from some early nights and listening to a story being read to me is lovely except that this one ends far too soon, fifteen minutes is just not long enough.

I have ordered from the library:

Sightlines by Kathleen Jamie (another poet) who has written a memoir.

Wild Geese and Swan by one of my most-favourite poets Mary Oliver (re-reads of course).

Witch Light by Susan Fletcher, she of Eve Green fame, that was such a good book and this newer one promises to be the same.

Now I have given up my job at the library I have all the time in the world; I just wish the sun would shine and the rain would stop. My plans for a lazy summer in the garden have gone out of the window – my roses are plentiful but they just rot on the bush they become so sodden. Plans to go off on jaunts with my camera have also gone awry.

 I have been given (by my borrowers) a big book token and would love suggestions as to how to spend it.  I am tempted to get all of Mary Oliver’s poems but am open to ideas so do tell me what book(s) you would choose to own if you were in my position. I know I will enjoy browsing in bookshops but need to get geared up for a journey as we have no decent bookshops close to where I live.

Before I go, if you haven’t yet read The Unlikely Pilgrimage of Harold Fry by Rachel Joyce or Mr Rosenblum’s List by Natasha Solomons do check them out  – they are both very ‘feel-good’ stories, slightly quirky and I recommend them highly for summer reads.

Time to restart the blessings again I think. How many a day?

The weather is set to improve.

For the first time in my life I have all the time  in the world....for  me. What is there to hate about early retirement? (apart from being broke).

I will be able to blog more and read comments.

The river has not flooded in spite of torrential rain yesterday.

My lovely friend and hairdresser who cut my hair, she lives close by, works from home and always cuts so well. I always used to hate going to the hairdressers but V is a treasure, now it’s just like visiting a friend for a chat and coming away feeling ‘lighter’.

I can smell the coffee.................

Before I go here are some words for a special someone whose birthday is today. Often on my mind, always in my heart, I wish we had been able to meet.



Starry starry night, paint your palette blue and grey
Look out on a summer's day with eyes that know the darkness in my soul
Shadows on the hills, sketch the trees and the daffodils
Catch the breeze and the winter chills, in colors on the snowy linen land

Now I understand what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity. How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they did not know how, perhaps they'll listen now

Starry starry night, flaming flowers that brightly blaze
Swirling clouds in violet haze reflect in Vincent's eyes of china blue
Colors changing hue, morning fields of amber grain
Weathered faces lined in pain are soothed beneath the artist's loving hand 

For they could not love you, but still your love was true
And when no hope was left in sight, on that starry starry night
You took your life as lovers often do,
But I could have told you, Vincent,
This world was never meant for one as beautiful as you

Starry, starry night, portraits hung in empty halls
Frameless heads on nameless walls with eyes that watch the world and can't forget.
Like the stranger that you've met, the ragged man in ragged clothes
The silver thorn of bloody rose, lie crushed and broken on the virgin snow 

Now I think I know what you tried to say to me
How you suffered for you sanity How you tried to set them free
They would not listen they're not listening still
Perhaps they never will.

Don McLean

And guess what?

The sun is out.

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Vee said...

I learned so much here've had a vacation in France, you're reading the most intriguing sounding books, early retirement? ohhh...broke never sounds good. Having been early retired for a few years now, I can say that that part always remains a challenge, but one learns to cope. Hope that the sun arrives to warm things up a lot. You poor folks have suffered enough with all the rain and chill.

Minerva Black the shoppe keeping cat said...

Lovely post with lots of inspiration, I'm off to look up those books. The art is very nice too, a bit like Joanna May, the Wiltshire artist who also paints hares.

Elizabeth said...

Retirement is bliss.I wish you great joy in it.
I am never bored --on the contrary there is so much to read and write and see.
I think you should write. I always remember the story you wrote about the eerie hospital when you were a young nurse. Haunting and beautifully written.
Much too hot in New York!

Pam said...

Enjoyed reading what you've been up to. Congratulations on your retirement. Just popping by to wish you a great weekend - and more sunshine!

Becca said...

Having all the time in the world to enjoy sounds delightful! Here in the US we’ve had an unusually hot and dry summer, so my poor flowers have withered right up.

I love Mary Oliver’s poems too, and don’t think you could possible go wrong with owning every single volume :)

ds said...

We seem to have gotten a little of your rain today, a refreshing change from a month of impossible heat (you may have that, if you're sure you want it). Ah, to go to Brittany sounds delightful; I've never been. Ms. Oliver is a fine choice. So is Mr. Banville (he's a favorite of mine, too). Have fun poking through bookshops to make your choices (perhaps the new biography of van Gogh?)!

Fennie said...

Cait, you probably know 'The Crock of Gold' by James Stephens - but if you don't you will enjoy it with its philosophers and leprechauns and fine language.

One Woman's Journey - a journal being written from Woodhaven - her cottage in the woods. said...

Oh my
the morning is getting away from me.
I must read many of your post soon.
Mary Oliver books are stacked by my old leather chair. They are filled with little slips of paper marking favorites.
Thank you again for introducing yourself to One Woman who lives at the edge of the woods....

The bike shed said...

Oh, I saw her work recently too - it reminded me of that book 'Masquerade' which was a sort of riddle to find a golden hare - can you remember it?

Sorry to not be around the blogs much - book now finally finished and out this October! Make sure your library order some please.