Monday, 1 October 2012

A summer of books: chronicled

So the summer is definitely over. In fact the dull grey (light?) that it leaking in through my window suggests that it has been over for a while. But before we let it go completely and before we greet the autumn with it's pumpkin soups and Halloween masks I would like to say a brief farewell to this, most fantastic of summers.

Living in the capital has never felt quite so urgent and exciting as it did over the last few months. I've loved every second of both the Olympic and Paralympic games. I've been to the stadium, I've seen the athletes, I've eaten the customary sponsorship McDonald's. On top of all that I have been to Rome, I've started a new job, I've trekked for four days across the coast of Southern England and I've read a lot.

Reading is essential for me. I think it's essential for everyone. Last year I spent a lot of my free time writing stories and working on my novel, and whilst I'm still keeping a hand in with that, I've really decided to take a break from the output and enjoy the fine art of absorption. Yes, I've been sponging up novels and stories all summer.

“If you don't have time to read, you don't have the time (or the tools) to write. Simple as that.” 
― Stephen King

Good old Stephen. He knows what he is talking about. And so do a lot of other people. Its universally accepted that good writing stems from good reading. I'm not sure about the latter having to be 'good' exactly. I'll read anything. 

Here's a chronicle of my summer reading:

The Museum of love - Steve Weiner
Great House - Nicole Krauss
Of Love and Other Demons - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Bullet Park - John Cheever
The Long Walk - Stephen King
Under the Dome - Stephen King
Slaughterhouse 5 - Kurt Vonnegurt
The Call of Cthulu and other Weird Stories - H.P Lovecraft
The Murders at Rue Morgue - Edgar Allen Poe
Sound - T.M Wolf

All of them are wonderful but a special mention to Mr Weiner. I've never felt so utterly disorientated or physically ill whilst reading a novel. It makes Naked Lunch look like a absolute picnic.

So what will I be reading in the autumn? I don't know. I just stumble upon things. 
But how about you? Anything interesting on the literary horizon?  Any thoughts on the books above? Let me know and we will have a chat. There's nothing better than a good chat after a reading a book.


  1. Great! I've only read One Hundred Years of Solitude and Slaughterhouse 5 on that list. I loved both of them.
    I just finished S.King's Gunslinger Dark Tower 1, and I'm reading Chris Adrian's collection of shorts called A Better Angel (one of his stories is in the current Granta magazine). Adrian is a great writer. I'm also reading D.Eggars version of Sendak's Wild Things story.
    My favourite book that I read this year is probably Wells Tower's Everything Ravaged, Everything Burned short story collection. It's amazing. But I've read so many fantastic books this year; Brautigan, Andrew Kaufman, Carver, Keret, Robert Shearman, and loads of others. I've been reading lots of McSweeney's and then buying books by the best of the writers in there or the stuff those writers recommend. Seems to be a method that's worked well for me this year.

  2. Everything Ravaged... is a fantastic collection. I read it last year and enjoyed every word.
    I really like that you hand pick writers from a journal like McSweeney's, I'm sure they would be very glad to hear that as well. I think I discovered Keret in a similar way and now possess everything he has written. And Mr Shearman come to think of it. Love Tiny Deaths.
    Oh - and if you are thinking of embarking on the Dark Tower, good luck. It's a long trek.