Thursday, April 21, 2011


It's relentless...

...this book-loving thing. Just when I feel caught up, more or less, they keep being published! All the time! Since I don't read the major book reviews much anymore, I don't hear about things I should have found out about about months ago. Still, in that wonderful way books do, what I apparently need to read next somehow manages to pass into my sonar circle while giving off insistent blips. I say all this because there are two recent books I now know of and cannot wait to get my little paws on. First, published last October by the New York Review of Books:

Anything by Patrick Leigh Fermor, anything! Even as I tire of the upper crustiness of the Mitfords, whom, it seems, one can read about endlessly these days if one so chooses, for his side of this correspondence alone I will gladly read hers. Then, if that lovely new publication wasn't enough, how about this, which got fairly poor reviews (after I heard of its existence I sought them out), of which I inevitably think to myself Sour grapes, baby, he had it all and he knew it, he may have been insufferable and opportunistic, but he was also pure gold. Like Patrick Leigh Fermor, give me anything by Bruce Chatwin that I haven't already read and I will abandon all else and set sail immediately. Besides, I cannot wait to read what his wife had to say about him, and vice versa. How vulgar, but how true. Weighing in at a hefty 560 pages long, published in February by Viking:

For the most part I have abandoned the quest for modern first editions, but in the case of a handful of authors I have always kept whatever I have been able to find. These two writers are among that group, and whenever I cull my books, I find myself unable to remove a single book of theirs from my shelves. And now I see I'll have to make room for two more.

Sarah - I, too, no longer look for modern firsts and I read fewer new book reviews. My reserve list at the library had become so lengthy it had become less of a convenience than a responsibility. It does seem as if the ones I really do want to read will make themselves known to me. Please post about the Chatwin book when you do get a chance at it.
Thanks for your comment, Anon. I've finished reading both books - I really did abandon several others midway through to read these immediately - and will write a fully review soon (on the next rainy day?). The short version: I was surprised by them both, for entirely different reasons, and I loved them both, again for entirely different reasons. One similarity - I didn't want either book to end.
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