Thursday, 3 March 2016

Words on World Book Day

It’s World Book Day and this is what is in the TBR pile beside my bed. I have another one on Kindle!

There’s non-fiction - Alice Jolly’s Dead Babies and Seaside Towns; poetry - Jane Hirshfield’s The Beauty, Grevel Lindop’s Luna Park, as well as collections by Margaret Atwood and Robert Hass; fiction includes Elena Ferrante (I’m half way through), Anne Enright, Tove Jansson and the wonderfully named ‘Manual for Cleaning Ladies’ by Lucia Berlin.  My favourites so far are the Margaret Atwood poems; 'Morning in the Burned House',  Tove Jansson's 'Winter Book', and a series of memoirs and reflections by NZ writer Kirsty Gunn; 'My Katherine Mansfield Project', which is really about exile and belonging.  But as I read through the pile my preferences may change!
New text from the Epic of Gilgamesh discovered in Iraq - one of our earliest written stories.
Books are my life - I’m surrounded by them, and I earn my living from them. I can’t think of a world without poems or stories. Recently I was intrigued to find scholars admitting that the fairy tales they sometimes scoff at were many thousands of years old. It's taken them all that time to admit what was evident even to the Brothers Grimm? Archaeologists have long found evidence of major historical and geological events in our mythologies. Noah and the Flood is just one of them; the legend of Atlantis another. Telling stories is as old as human history, as old as language.


Tomorrow sees the launch of the Words by the Water festival of ‘Words and Ideas’ in Keswick.  I’ve been invited to the launch party and look forward to meeting up with friends and fellow wordsmiths. Ten days of indulgent bookishness at the beautiful Theatre by the Lake. A glorious wallow in words - and scenery! If you can, do come - the Lake District needs every extra tourist it can find.

Lake Derwentwater from the Theatre by the Lake




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