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Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Summer Books?

Why is it that when newspapers like The Guardian ask famous writers to list their recommended summer books list, they tend to end up listing nada in the way of poetry, or barely any, anyway?  It tends to confirm my creeping dread, my suspicion, that poetry, like nothing, happens everywhere, to paraphrase.  Anyway, here are a few of the books, poetry or otherwise, battered and dogeared or brand spanking new, I hope to skim through this August, with suncream on (Factor 50):

Flicker, by Theodore Roszak (thriller about film);
Ludbrooke & Others (latest poetry collection) by Alan Brownjohn;
Twenty-one Locks (debut novel by Guardian music journalist Laura Barton);
The Idea of a Christian Society by TS Eliot;
The Demon's Covenant by Sarah Rees Brennan;
A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood;
New Light for the Old Dark (poetry) by Sam Willetts;
Expressway (GG finalist) by poet Sina Queyras;
Patient Frame by Canadian novelist and poet Steven Heighton;
Fifth Busines (novel) by Robertson Davies.

Truth be told, every year I set out to read a dozen summer books, and maybe only finish a few.  I prefer to flit in my reading - and besides, I am completing a PhD currently.  I recall my Dad, who used to bring Moby Dick with him to our summer cabin by the lake in Quebec every year, and I don't think ever completed it.  But at least he sought the great whale.  The unfinished and unread books in our lives form a vast counter-library of loss and desire and hope - a possible other life not taken - that should be respected - it says as much about us as what we have read, and has shaped us as completely.
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