Alexander Averin

Saturday 17 October 2009

Too many books, too little time

Dear Diary,

You can never have too much garlic, too much chocolate or too much sleep but can you have too many books? (No!).

I wrote very recently about the wonderful book that is Home by Marilynne Robinson and since then several kind people have recommended her other book Gilead which kind of goes with it as the subject matter is written alongside Home. I wouldn’t say you had to read Home first, it wouldn’t matter which you began with. I have almost finished Gilead and it is also a great a book in fact Robinson won the Pulitzer Prize for fiction with it.

I have also got her first novel Housekeeping which was very highly recommended by the book group member who suggested Home. This is a short novel written a good many years ago and l can’t wait to read it. But which book shall I read first?

It’s like buses, they all come at once. I have suddenly been inundated with new books to read - all requests from the excellent library service of course. What have I got?

John Banville’s The Infinities
William Trevor’s Love and Summer
Martin Sixsmith’s The Lost Child of Philomena Lee (the subject of which is too close to my heart).
Penelope Lively’s Family Album

In non-fiction I know I shall drool over Monty Don’s The Ivington Diaries. (M has an ancestor from Ivington which is a coincidence).
I also have Virginia Ironside’s The Virginia Monologues about the joys of ageing - I think I could write my own though!

And another joy to look forward to - I have treated myself and ordered a new book from Ireland - it has contributions from many well known poets - see below for details.

The Great Irish Book Week takes place from Saturday the 24th to Saturday the 31st October 2009. Poetry: Reading it, Writing it, Publishing it, edited and compiled by Salmon Poetry managing editor Jessie Lendennie and published by Salmon earlier this year, has been selected as one of the 30 Great Irish Books featured during Great Irish Book Week.

So let it rain, I won’t mind as I can curl up with a book.


We drink a lot of Yorkshire tea in this house.

A carpet of pink rose petals greeted me on the path this morning as I went out to feed the rose bushes with my old teabags - I read somewhere that as well as coffee grounds, roses like tea and they certainly seem to be doing well on it. I am still deadheading and they are rewarding me with lots of blooms.

Autumn and all it means. I have blogged about this many times and every year it is always the same so I won’t repeat myself but I have to say that these last few weeks have been perfect weather for me - I am not a summer sun worshipper - and I have appreciated the October frosts, the sunny days and of course the mists in the valleys. Sometimes I think I prefer autumn to summer, it seems that way after the miserable July and August we had this year here in Wales.

I had a message left on my answer phone yesterday by a dear friend that I have never met, it was a real surprise and so lovely to hear her voice. (We met up on Purplecoo).

Weekends. Don’t they come round quickly? I don’t mind though as they are special aren’t they and even if I have to work for half of every Saturday I always love Sundays. I hope you have a good one.

Before I leave you I would like to share a poem written by Dorothy Molloy, a great Irish poet who sadly died this year after a short illness.

The golden retriever grieves for her mate

The hooded crows roost early now,
November trees are black.
The sun goes down at 4 p.m.
and leaves a blood-stained track.

My antelope, my darling, my gazelle.

We calm her with valerian
and drops of chamomile,
infuse the roots of heliotrope
to soothe her for a while.

My antelope, my darling, my gazelle.

His last night was a rasping breath
that laboured up the stairs
and filled the house, and lodged behind
her sleepless eyes and ears.

My antelope, my darling, my gazelle.

She leans her head against our knees,
she follows us to bed
and lies stretched out upon the floor
as if she, too, were dead.

My antelope, my darling, my gazelle.

Copyright © The estate of Dorothy Molloy, 2009

Dorothy Molloy was born in Ballina, Co. Mayo in 1942. She studied languages at University College Dublin, after which she went to live in Madrid and Barcelona. During her time in Spain, she worked as a researcher, as a journalist and as an arts administrator. She also had considerable success as a painter, winning several prizes and exhibiting widely. After her return to Ireland in 1979, she continued painting but also began writing poetry.

Her first collection, Hare Soup, was accepted by Faber and Faber, but Dorothy contracted cancer and died ten days before its publication. The papers she left after her death contained enough unpublished poems for two further books, which have been assembled by her husband, Andrew Carpenter. The first of these posthumous collections, Gethsemane Day, was published by Faber and Faber in 2007. This volume, Long-distance Swimmer, is the final collection of her work.
Salmon Poetry, Knockeven,
Cliffs of Moher, County Clare, Ireland

Bye for now,
Go mbeannai Dia duit,


Pamela Terry and Edward said...

Wonderful post. It felt like cool water splashed on my face! Wonderful book suggestions...(I'm a huge fan of Penelope Lively and I adored John Banville's, The Sea. Also loved Gilead.) Have you read The Help? I don't know if it has been published there yet, but watch for it.

I have to remember the tea bag trick for my climbing roses.

Lovely weekend to you, Cait!

Norma Murray said...

Cait, remind me of some of these books when it comes to choose our next Purple Coo read. It is true. It's possible to have too many books. I've just taken a mammoth pile to our local charity shop. I wanted to keep them all but didn't have the space.

ds said...

Beautiful poem. Will have to search out Dorothy Molloy--if she's available over here. Enjoy your books, your weekend,and your roses!

Rob-bear said...

Too many books? Indeed. I am at the point of "editing" my library, and trying to decide where numerous volumes should go, Sigh! And there are still so many of them I want to read or re-read.


Cait, I think all book lovers have the same problem.I am running out of space, and really need to do a big cull. I have a stash still to read, which is nice with Winter coming up. I mainly read in bed before going to sleep.I just find it so hard to part with books, as I do like to re read, but I am going to try to be more selective, and realistic. Thank you for your recommendations.Enjoy your weekend.

Frances said...

Good evening Cait, from another reader who loves books. I now am so glad that most of my reading derived from my wonderful library.

(Also am a P. Lively fan. Still remember happening upon my first finding of her novels, years ago.)

Just yesterday I received e-mails from my library letting me know that they have got some marvelous requests of mine on hold at the check out desk. I so look forward to going across Central Park to the east side of town and ... to opening the first pages of those books.


pinkfairygran said...

As I was able to get the IVINGTON DIARY book for a tenner less than published price, and you can probably guess where so no need for free advertising, I treated myself to it and I have not been able to leave it alone, having read it yesterday evening and got up to April... it is wonderfully written, you can hear Monty saying the words. I know many people who have got it, and we are all enjoying it, hope you will too!

CAMILLA said...

Dear Cait,

As ever a truly wonderful post, thank you for the information on those books Cait, adore books but I have been behind with my reading of late, must catch up soon.

Anything by Monty Don would be a bonus for me, lovely man, I will put this on my list of ones to get.

Autumn is one of my favourite seasons of the year too Cait, it is more agreeable to me than hot summer, love all the changing colours of Autumn.

I will have to try out putting the tea-bags on my Roses, thank you for that tip.

Enjoy these Autumn days ahead, log fires, good books, Roses from the garden, and that special cup of Yorkshire tea, ah, what joy.!


CAMILLA said...

Forgot to mention Cait, thank you for sharing the Poem with us, so beautiful.


blackbird said...

I, too, love the poem...and fall and books. Like Frances, I get most of my fiction reading from my library but have discovered a new love. As I lust after new English books that take months or years to make it to the states- the Book Depository now brings them to my doorstep with little cost or pain. So, my bookshelves are groaning a little more these days.

I usually only read at night, in bed, but I've decided this week to take an hour or so each day to read during the day. A little time-out for myself. We'll see how long it lasts but I have titles stacking up to read.

The Children's Book by A.S. Byatt
Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
The Room of Lost Things by Stella Duffy
and Howard's End is on the Landing by Susan Hill

I'd better go...

Scriptor Senex said...

You can have too many books - that's why I've not been on your blog for a few weeks - I've been reading to catch up. Do you think we could have a moratorium year - say 2011 - when all authors would agree not to publish for twelve months so we can attempt to catch up?