29 May, 2007

Quick catch-up

I'm in the middle of exams and frantically busy so here's a quick catch-up list of what I've read recently and I'll try to do a better post a bit later:

The devil wears Prada [28]
Martin Walker's The cold war [29]
Les liaisons dangereuses [30]
Dreams and dilemmas, collected essays and early writings by Sheila Rowbotham [31]
The selected poems of Yehuda Amichai [32]
The certificate, by Isaac Bashevis Singer [33]
Inventing God, by Nicholas Mosley [34]

15 May, 2007

Very old book

I've just been holding a very old book: printed in 1613, a reprint of the legal cases that came in front of Edward the third! The print is a beautiful Gothic script, and the paper is still perfect - apparently a lot of pre-Industrial Revolution books are in a lot better nick than Victorian ones as the hand-made paper doesn't decay and crumble. Just an amazing, beautiful thing to hold and look at. I can't read it because it's all written in legal Latin, apart from some of the details of printing which are in French.

10 May, 2007

Yet another way to spend too much money in my lunch breaks

Visited Skoob bookshop yesterday, just behind the recently revamped Brunswick Centre, and it's lovely: light and nicely organised and with loads of books I fancied. I could have spent a lot more there than the ten quid I modestly confined myself to. That's the fourth decent bookshop near my work, along with the Amnesty bookshop which is a ten minute cycle ride away, the Oxfam bookshop on Bloomsbury St and the excellent Gower St Waterstones. And that's without counting Gay's the Word and the art and architecture bookshop on Marchmont St, and the remainder bookshop on Southampton Row.

09 May, 2007

Two interviews and some pictures

Interview with Will Self about children's literature, reading and writing.

An old interview with Anthony Gormley, who has an amazing installation of iron men around Waterloo Bridge.

Photos on flickr of Anthony Gormley's iron men around the South Bank Centre. Cycling over Waterloo Bridge at twilight you suddenly notice how many there are - they're distinctly eerie.

08 May, 2007

Bedside table books

I've done this before, a couple of months ago, but Sarah Crown listed her bedside table books in the Guardian the other day so I thought I'd list mine again and see what's changed. This includes the ones currently piled on the floor next to the table...

Catalogue for the Renoir Landscapes exhibition currently on at the National Gallery
Catalogue for In the face of history, the excellent photography exhibition that was on a while ago at the Barbican
Tender Comrades: a backstory of the Hollywood blacklist, by Patrick McGilligan
The certificate, by Isaac Bashevis Singer, my new favourite author
Enemies, a love story, by Isaac Bashevis Singer
The coming of the French Revolution, by Henri Lefebvre
The selected poetry of Yehuda Amichai
The eighteenth Brumaire of Louis Bonaparte
On not being able to sleep, essays by Jacqueline Rose
Le feu, by Henri Barbusse
Slaughterhouse 5
Life and fate
An omnibus edition of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea stories
Les liaisons dangereuses
Inventing God, by Nicholas Mosley
Dreams and dilemmas, essays by Sheila Rowbotham
Is the future female? critique of radical feminism by Lynne Segal
A century of women, by Sheila Rowbotham
Suite française, by Irène Nemirovsky
Moses Ascending, by Sam Selvon

04 May, 2007


Found a copy of the Doonesbury book One step at a time in the Oxfam bookshop this lunchtime. It's the story of BD losing his leg in Iraq. Amazing, and the only newspaper comic strip ever to make me cry.

Also picked up two books by my new favourite feminist Sheila Rowbotham: Woman, Resistance and Revolution and Woman's Consciousness, Man's World, and selected poems by the Czech poet Miroslav Holub. I haven't looked yet to see if it contains one of my favourite poems by him, Zito the Magician:

To amuse His Royal Majesty he will change water into wine.
Frogs into footmen. Beetles into bailiffs. And make a Minister
out of a rat. He bows, and daisies grow from his finger-tips.
And a talking bird sits on his shoulder.


Think up something else, demands His Royal Majesty.
Think up a black star. So he thinks up a black star.
Think up dry water. So he thinks up dry water.
Think up a river bound with straw-bands. So he does.


Then along comes a student and asks: Think up sine alpha greater than one.
And Zito grows pale and sad. Terribly sorry. Sine is
Between plus one and minus one. Nothing you can do about that.
And he leaves the great royal empire, quietly weaves his way
Through the throng of courtiers, to his home in a nutshell.

Miroslav Holub