For my part, I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake. The great affair is to move. ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON

Thursday, 1 December 2011

The Books In My Life (4)

Just to prove not all of our books are rigorously classified, here are a couple of shelves of disparate titles from the living room. At the top, running left to right, are various illustrated books on Venice, Spain, Scotland and Ireland; a meditation on islands by John Fowles containing evocatively melancholy black and white photographs by the late Fay Godwin; Tolstoy's War And Peace (still haven't finished it!); an excellent biography of Tolstoy by Rosamund Bartlett; Sartre's Existentialism And Humanism; Chi Running by Danny Dreyer (I took up some gentle, early morning running in the spring of this year, neglected it over the summer, but have now started again - what a buzz it gives you); Paulo Coelho's The Pilgrimage (bought this just yesterday in an Oxfam shop. I'm not a big fan of Coelho, but felt I should read it as it describes his own Camino to Santiago); biographies of Maria Callas and Thomas Hardy (this by Claire Tomalin, whose book Charles Dickens: A Life is being serialised on Radio 4 this week to mark the bicentenary of Dickens's birth); The Oxford Dictionary Of Phrase, Saying And Quotation; and a book about photographing landscape by Charlie Waite.

On the bottom shelf are various gardening books, pride of place going to Geoffrey Grigson's The Englishman's Flora. There's also a title by Dave Hamilton we bought the other day called Grow Your Own Food For Free (Well, Almost) and one called Organic Gardening by Lawrence D Hills which Dominic from the blog ...made out of words was kind enough to send me. In between these gardening books and some practical photography manuals there's an illustrated version of Treasure Island, a book called The Ancient World Of The Celts and Anton Gill's Il Gigante, a detailed analysis of Michelangelo's supreme work of figurative sculpture, David. Mmm... I wonder how they got in there? You could say these shelves are an eclectic mix.        

8 comments:

Suman said...

A delightful motley, I say! I agree, it takes more than one reading and a couple of years at least to get around 'War and Peace'. Something like Rushdie's 'Midnight's Children'! ;-)

Rachel Fox said...

Oh heck - gardening! My Mum did our gardening and now it just looks at me, disappointed.
x

Susan Scheid said...

Your bookshelves are a treasure trove--so glad you chose to do this! As for War and Peace, oh, do finish it, it's so good. Or, for an alternative approach, there is the hugely entertaining BBC4 radio play version. Leo McKern (of Rumpole fame) plays General Kutuzov.

Ruth said...

You have no idea the solace you've given me that you, too, are not finished with War and Peace. In fact I've taken a hiatus from it, though I want to finish.

I didn't realize it's the bicentenary of Dickens' birth. I am so enjoying the Christmas tales.

These shelves may be eclectic but they reflect some lovely interests and characteristics of the owner/s.

George said...

What a relief to learn, first, that not all of your books are rigorously classified, and second, that you have yet to finish "War and Peace." Needless to say, you are in good company on both of these accounts. Interesting to see the reference to John Fowles, whose work I once greatly admired, but whom I have read little of in the past fifteen or twenty years. I don't know whatever happened to Fowles, but his work seems to have faded from the literary scene hear in the U.S.

The Weaver of Grass said...

I rather like to see books all mixed up like this - that is until I wish to find a particular one in a hurry - then I curse my lack of system.

The Solitary Walker said...

Suman & Susan: I began 'War and Peace' early this year, was quickly immersed, then faltered two-thirds through ... doesn't matter, will come back to it soon, in the winter ... I tend to have half a dozen books on the go at any one time, some loom, some recede ... depends on mood and whim and season ...

The garden will forgive you, Rachel, if you plant some winter pansies quick! Cheap, colourful, and absolutely gorgeous.

Ruth & George: I don't think it matters one joy how quickly/slowly one read a book! The book I'be been reading the longest is Lawrence Durrell's 'Alexandria Quartet' - after 20 years and there's still a bookmark tucked between pp 150 -151. Re. John Fowles, he died in 2005. I devoured him in my 20s - but rather fear I would be disappointed if I revisited, as I suspect he's very much a young person's crush. Saw him once in Lyme Regis museum, Dorset, where he was curator for a spell - he was examining some fossils (ref. 'The French Lieutenant's Woman'!)

Pat - some of our books are mixed-up, others are more ordered...

Dominic Rivron said...

Thanks for the plug. "Organic Gardening" by LDH renders gardening unnecessary. All you need do is sit and read it.

He did inspire me to soak a load of sheep droppings in a bucket of water. I forgot about it and found it three years later. It had grown the most fantastical collection of pink fungus I've ever seen.